OUTSIDE INFLUENCE

Before Washington Ballet’s recent visit, It had been 40 years since an American dance company had performed in Cuba. “I knew the kind of development we’ve seen in the United States, melding contemporary ideas and modern dance and ballet techniques, hasn’t existed in Cuba. I think the repertoire we brought expressed a lot of elements of our own lives and maybe will contribute to how they’ll view or make dance in the future.” – New York Times

ROBBINS REVEALED

“At Jerome Robbins’ death in 1998 at 79, he had all the awards that movies, theater and dance could offer, with an unequaled record of ballets and Broadway shows. Yet he carried with him a shame that would not go away. In 1953, he named names before the House Un-American Activities Committee, earning the enmity of many of his fellow artists who were blacklisted for their membership, however brief or desultory, in the Communist Party.” – Chicago Tribune

OUR BODIES AT EIGHT

A parent has filed a complaint against the San Francisco Ballet School for discrimination because the school rejected her daughter on the basis of her looks. The eight-year-old girl was told not to try out because of her figure. The fourth-grader is 3-foot-9 and weighs 64 pounds. The mother claims the school’s criteria used to weed budding ballerinas from also-rans violates San Francisco’s nondiscrimination provisions. – New Jersey Online (AP)

PILOBOLUS AT 30

When Pilobolus debuted 30 years ago, few knew what to do with them. They stripped down movement and “spent more time clinging to one another, and disguising their bodies than doing what passed for dance – doing steps across the floor. The men had taken virtually no dance technique classes. [Moses] Pendleton didn’t even know how to point his feet, for goodness sake. But audiences loved it. And so – though more cautiously – did the critics.” – Orange County Register

REPORT FROM CUBA

Washington Ballet recently completed a trip to Cuba where it appeared at Havana’s 17th International Ballet Festival. The visit marked the first Cuban performance by a major American ballet company in 40 years. “I hope to see the day in the U.S. that audiences feel so comfortable to react – with a cheer, or a gasp.” – NPR [Real Audio file]