The Buzz, 2-14: Non-revelations
Ailey in Berkeley light on Alvin
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak
Following on current Martha Graham Dance Company artistic director Janet Eilber's decision to present a New York season at the Joyce Theater in which only half of the works are actually by Martha Graham, major West Coast presenter Cal Performances is promising a season by the Alvin American Dance Theater in which...only two of the eight works are actually by Alvin Ailey, thanks to rookie company director Robert Battle, who presumes audiences want to see as many works by... him (2) as by one of the giants of American choreography, Alvin Ailey, and thanks to Cal Performances, which shamelessly enables him. I hate to trot out this analogy again, but these short-sighted directors and irresponsible presenters leave me no choice: Imagine if the Picasso Museum in Paris suddenly relegated 75 percent if its collection of Picassos to the closet, and replaced them with the work of lesser artists. There would be a massive outcry by the public and cultural leaders. So where is the outrage here? Once again, we see an example of how little worth American dance companies and the American dance 'community' as a whole attach to their heritage. It's no wonder dance is so little valued by the general public. If we have so little regard for our own heritage, how can we expect anyone take the art form seriously?