Dance: November 2002

Bolshoi Controversy The inauguration of a new auditorium in the Bolshoi theatre complex “marks the end of the first phase of a £300 million restoration of one of the best-known buildings in Russia. But the rest of the project is in jeopardy as traditionalists and theatre administrators fight over the fate of the Beauvais Portico – the 10 marble columns around which the theatre was built. “Theatre managers want to see it moved from its current position – inside the stageworks of the old auditorium – to make room for improved stage machinery.” The Guardian (UK) 11/28/02

A Dance Between Friends Balanchine and Stravinsky had a long and brilliant career together – the two collaborated in a partnership that inspired both. “For each, music was the ‘floor’ without which there could be no dance: ‘The composer creates time,’ said Balanchine, ‘and we have to dance to it.’ As such, Balanchine revered Stravinsky and deferred to him willingly. Balanchine transformed classical ballet from a lyrical, romantic, fairy-tale art into a gripping, sharp-edged, plotless drama of pure movement, and Stravinsky’s music led him to some of his most innovative choreography.” New York Review of Books 11/29/02

Pina Bausch – Old Is In When Pina Bausch decided to restage one of her classic works with dancers over the age of 60, she had 120 volunteers. “They all had some kind of shimmer in their eyes. They saw this as the chance of a fabulous new life experience, a new adventure.” The Guardian (UK) 11/27/02

No Permission To Move Why are police raiding clubs in New York? To stop people from dancing? Village Voice 11/26/02

A Life In Dance New York City Ballet dancer Robert La Fosse is retiring after 16 years. He “has performed here with, and for, most of the great ballet names for a quarter century, and he was one of the last of a handful of dancers still onstage who were central figures in the dance boom of the 70’s and early 80’s.” The New York Times 11/24/02

Slimming Down To Greatness Matthew Bourne is famous for his subversive rewrites of familiar ballets. But as his success got bigger and bigger through the 90s, he got more caught up in keeping his company viable. “It was all getting a bit grand. I felt that I was running an office rather than a company.” So he pulled back. Now he’s back to choreographing low-budget shows… The Guardian (UK) 11/20/02

Former National Ballet Dancer Dies In Motorcycle Accident William Marri, 33, a former principal dancer with the National Ballet of Canada, died Saturday after being in a motorcycle accident in New York. Marri had left the National last March to join the cast of the Billy Joel/Twyla Tharp show Movin Out, which recently landed on Broadway. “Marri was riding his motorcycle before an evening performance when he crashed.” Calgary Herald (CP) 11/19/02

Australian Dance Theatre on Top: Adelaide’s Australian Dance Theatre has won three of eight top awards in the sixth annual Australian Dance Awards. The Age (Melbourne) 11/17/02

Who Owns Dance? Who owns a dance once it’s been done? “In the 18th and 19th centuries, choreographers were rated so low that it was the composer’s name which usually headed the posters. The ownership of a ballet, if contested, would generally have been considered the right of the theatre. This meant, if you were a choreographer, that your ballet was fair game for the subsequent improving hands of producers acquiring it for other companies or staging it after your death.” Prospect 11/02

Is the Large-Scale Ballet Passe? In Boston, where the Boston Ballet recently underwent a very public overhaul, everything has changed, and nothing has changed. The big ballet company is still struggling to sell tickets, despite an undeniable uptick in artistic quality. Meanwhile, the city’s smaller, more daring dance companies are thriving, mirroring a trend in countless cities around the U.S. But does the success of the little guys necessarily mean failure for large-scale classical ballet? Boston Globe 11/17/02