BWW Dance: Looking Forward to 2013
And moreover, where are the new leaders in choreography. Yes I know people will be calling out the names of choreographers who have emerged in the past 20+ years or so. Some have produced excellent work; others have been here and forgotten. Others will continue to receive grants, scholarships, fellowships and whatever else is awarded these days. We will hopefully see a really excellent work every year or two. Perhaps the choreographer and his/her company might get a residency at a college for a month or two. Education will benefit, but not a wide audience.
But what resonance do these choreographers or their works have on the audience? What comes to our minds when we hear a choreographer's name? Many times a shake of the head. I have seen some wonderful pieces, yet when I tell my friends about them they give me a dumbfounded look. Who is this person, I never heard of these new works, where have they been presented: one night in New York or San Francisco? And here is the problem: the choreographer just does not have the resources that a Balanchine had. Never mind the choreographic skills. But the ability to create and have an audience come and reflect on what it has seen. It's called the right to fail. But it seems that we don't even have that entitlement anymore. Perhaps here is the time to honor one person who has been so overlooked in the annals of American dance: Morton Baum. Who? Baum was the chairman of New York City Center and it was he who invited George Balanchine to take up residency at City Center. Who else ever gets a chance like that? Sure many companies have residencies where a choreographer can create perhaps two new pieces a year, and hopefully good pieces. And if they are lucky they will be revived for extended periods. But if you think about it Balanchine created Square Dance, Agon, Stars and Stripes and Gounod Symphony in less than two months. That's quite a track record. And with the exception of Gounod Symphony they are still in the active repertoire 55 years after their premieres. Perhaps we will find another choreographer in 2013 that can surpass this record. That is, if we can find another Morton Baum and a venue that can afford to take risks. But given the economic state, what do you think?
So I want a great deal. Truth to be told, I'm not going to get most of it. Yes, I will see a new work, a new choreographer's name will cause a fuss, a dancer will advance in his/her career (I hope it's Tiler Peck) and there will be more galas, dinners, luncheons, fashion shows and honorable mentions. But in the end what does it add up to? Just a little, I'll admit, but given the state of affairs right now I'll take it. And if a work is created that all companies in the United States and Europe want mounted on their dancers, I say go for it. I want the best for our arts. We all cry for more money and education. And we do eventually get it, believe it or not, perhaps not in the large dosages we would like, but still a bit to try and inspire us to look forward to another year--hoping that the unattainable will be within our grasp.
And my final wish-which will never materialize. To utilize the choral version of Liebeslieder Walzer to give it a fuller, richer sound which would hopefully ignite many of the uninspired performances we have been watching over the years. It's never going to happen, but I can still hope.
More On: George Balanchine, Martha Graham, Paul Taylor, City Center, Tiler Peck.