THE POINT OF BALLET

Scottish Ballet’s decision to move away from traditional ballet meant there were no Nutcrackers this year. But “one might ask what is the point of having a Scottish ballet company if it doesn’t plan to do the great ballets. It is like the English Shakespeare Company saying it is sick of doing Shakespeare. It would be much cheaper to do something with a lot fewer actors that didn’t require such a big theatre.” Glasgow Herald 12/29/01

CLEMENT TIME

Financial Times dance critic Clement Crisp is one of the most respected critics in the UK. Crisp “commands English like a maestro controlling a vast orchestra of thousands upon thousands of instruments, some splendidly abstruse. Readers scurry to their dictionaries. Ballet, which of all the performing arts offers the highest challenge to any attempt to express it in words, has produced a tiny handful of star writers able to match the brilliance of the achievements they saw on stage with their own verbal artistry.” Ballet.co.uk 12/01

WHO OWNS DANCE?

“The Martha Graham Dance Company sits in an unfortunate limbo, having already discontinued performances for more than a year and a half. The oracular high priestess of modern dance could scarcely have foreseen that a bitter battle over the rights to her legacy would end up in federal court.” The New York Times 12/22/01 (one-time registration required for access)

ROYAL REFORMER

London’s Royal Ballet has been on a down cycle for a number of years. And lots of turmoil. Into the mix walks the company’s new artistic director Ross Stretton. He’s been given a mandate for big change. “Working in Mr. Stretton’s favor is that he was not around in the late 1990’s, when the Royal Ballet went through prolonged misery during the closure and reconstruction of the Royal Opera House.” Still, it’s likely to be a bumpy ride. The New York Times 12/22/01 (one-time registration required for access)

ABT CUTS PROGRAM TO CUT COSTS

American Ballet Theatre has canceled a planned Stravinsky program for the end of the season. “We’re looking at the potential of a 5 to 10 percent problem on a $30 million budget. It’s primarily a result of the recession that already existed before Sept. 11, but it’s certainly been heightened since that time. The postponement of the program will save Ballet Theater about $400,000.” The New York Times 12/20/01 (one-time registration required for access)

CHILL IN THE AIR

Seems there’s an English dancers’ union rule that says dancers don’t have to perform if the temperature in a theatre is below 19 degrees centigrade. Saturday the theatre in Liverpool was packed with kids for an afternoon performance by the English National Ballet, when, just a few minutes before the curtain was due to go up, dancers canceled the performance. Why? The temperature backstage was 18 degrees. Liverpool Daily Post 12/18/01

THE OFF-STAGE DANCE

“Where once every male classical dancer was assumed to be somewhat limp in the wrist, today such prejudice is untenable. Ballet’s men have become progressively more rugged, more overtly masculine on stage. Off-stage, there are girlfriends, wives and children, viz Channel 4’s Ballet Boyz – two series of video diaries (a third coming soon) made by a pair of ex-Royal Ballet dancers, the matey, unpretentious and decidedly straight William Trevitt and Michael Nunn.” The Independent (UK) 12/19/01