Dance: February 2002

Wednesday February 27

RAGGED LEGACY: The Kirov Ballet is one of the world’s most-stories dance companies. But “on the evidence of its recent season at the Kennedy Center, though, the company is in a state of confusion, rushing pell-mell in two different and opposite directions at once.” New York Observer 02/26/02 

Tuesday February 26

HERE THEY GO AGAIN IN BOSTON: “Mikko Nissinen won’t arrive in town for good until April, but the Boston Ballet’s incoming artistic director has let go of six of the company’s 43 dancers and decided not to renew contracts for three of its four instructors. This is less turmoil than there was last year, when 15 dancers were laid off. Only a week later, Maina Gielgud, hired to take over as artistic director, resigned abruptly, complaining that cuts had been made without her involvement.” Boston Globe 02/26/02

Friday February 22

NORTHERN BALLET CROSSROADS: Northern Ballet’s new director David Nixon is taking the company in new directions. “It’s a crucial time for both Nixon and NBT – arguably the most popular ballet company in Britain. The pioneering outfit has done much to popularise the artform with its unique ‘dance drama’ approach to storytelling. But last year the company was treading water after the critical drubbing of its ‘exotic’ – read whips, chains and leather – production of Jekyll and Hyde.” The Scotsman 02/22/02

Tuesday February 19DANCING ON ICE: Art or sport? Figure skating likes to have it both ways. And while there’s no question that there’s an art component to ice dancing, “it’s hard to get past the frozen smiles and smug cuteness. So why are critics so eager to review these works?”

Irish Times 02/18/02

Sunday February 17

DANCING FOR THE GOLD: As part of the Olympic Arts Festival (see companion story in Visual Arts,) the Salt Lake organizers have commissioned several dance pieces to be performed during the games. The performances highlight the fine line between dance and sport – after all, what is figure skating but dancing on ice, and what is dancing but an Olympic event sans crooked judges and endless press coverage? Los Angeles Times 02/16/02

Tuesday February 12

WHAT’S WRONG WITH DANCE… The recent ballet season in New York was as excellent as you’ll find anywhere. “But all of this effort only made the truth more glaring: we were wowed, but rarely moved; impressed, but almost never inspired. Where was the edge, the exhilaration, the sense of having been a part of something larger than a masterful pirouette? Has ballet been reduced to a series of sensational athletic moves, a gymnastics of turns, jumps, and splits–and are audiences content to be cheerleaders? Are we so seduced by pyrotechnics that we have forgotten that ballet might also offer something more complex and daring?” The New Republic 02/12/02

Sunday February 10

PIRATE DANCE: “Most of the great dance performances telecast in our lifetimes can’t be bought or borrowed, and probably never will be until their copyrights lapse. If you taped them off the air, great, and if you can afford to visit archives in New York, Paris, Copenhagen and other dance capitals to view company collections, even better. Otherwise, your choice is to do without or to join the unholy ranks of dance video outlaws.” It’s a thriving subculture. Los Angeles Times 02/10/02

REINVENTING LES GRANDS: Montreal’s Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal is one of Canada’s premiere dance companies. But two years ago it was awash in debt and on the downside of a decade of shrinking audiences. But the company’s new director decided to reinvent – transforming a repertory stuffed with modern abstract classics, to one featuring new works with strong narratives. Cheering audiences suggest the strategy is working. The New York Times 02/10/02

Friday February 8

THE ONCE AND FUTURE KIROV: “The Kirov Ballet is to get modern new premises that will alter the pre-Revolutionary architectural landscape of the former Imperial capital of St Petersburg… Yesterday a design by Eric Owen Moss, a Los Angeles-based architect, was presented in the Kremlin. Ultimately, President Putin will decide whether his home town will make the jump from the architecture of the 18th century to that of the 21st. If he favours the project, he will face tough opposition from St Petersburg’s snobbish cultural elite, its hardened Soviet architects and city planners.” The Times (UK) 02/07/02

Thursday February 7

DANCE DOESN’T STUNT GROWTH: A new study finds that, contrary to popular perception, “there is no evidence to show that rigorous exercise affects a young ballerina’s growth or delays sexual maturity.” The Scotsman 02/07/02

MEANING TO DANCE: Is expressing the same as communicating? “Dance is not a universal language. Movement is human, yes, but dance is more specific and has numerous dialects that are like foreign languages to many people. We can’t assume that through our dancing we will communicate with others.” Dance Current 02/02

Wednesday February 6

KOREAN WINS TOP INTERNATIONAL DANCE PRIZE: Three Korean dancers won top prizes, including first prize in the Prix de Lausanne international dance competition. Choe Yu-hui, 17, beat 115 dance students from 21 countries to win the competition, which is staged to identify the world’s top young dancers. Korea Times 02/06/02

Sunday February 3

THE MAN BEHIND MARK MORRIS: Behind every great artist there’s a manager. Barry Alterman plts Mark Morris’s course. “Barry meets people that I don’t meet, he knows producers that I’ve met and maybe can’t even remember the names of, and he’s on the phone with them all the time, encouraging, cajoling.” The New York Times 02/03/02

THE TYRANNY OF MUSIC: “American dance is obsessed with, or even tyrannized by, music. Of course, dance and music have been partners for ages and deserve to continue their pas de deux. Yet fundamentally dance does not need music. Dance needs rhythm.” The New York Times 02/03/02

Friday February 1

GETTING FIT FOR DANCE: Who’s in better shape than dancers? But it isn’t just dance that keeps them fit – members of the Alvin Ailey Company add swimming, tae-boe, weight lifting, step-aerobics, and jogging. “Your body is never going to be perfect. You want it to be better, sure. And you always want what someone else has.” Atlanta Journal-Constitution 01/31/02

REINVENTING A CLASSIC: Just how popular is Riverdance? There are some 15 touring companies doing Irish dance worldwide right now. Before Riverdance came along there was no way to make a living as a step dancer… Glasgow Herald 01/31/02