The Buzz, 11-18: Fetes
Joyce Festival on 'Hiatus'; Paris Quarter Celebrates its Ballerina
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2004 The Dance Insider
Altogether Gone (for
Mecca for many, resentfully
maligned by others, for the first time in 20 years New York's new
year's harbinger of dance, the Joyce Theater's Altogether Different
festival, has been suspended, an official at the theater told the
Dance Insider yesterday. "We are taking a hiatus from Altogether
Different to re-evaluate its format and place in New York," Elizabeth
Fort, the Joyce's marketing director, announced.
The theater's stated
reasons for the hiatus are somewhat opaque. "Since (the festival)
began in January 1985," Fort said, "theaters and service organizations
dedicated to dance have changed the marketplace. Theaters like Dance
Theater Workshop and the Duke present similar companies and similar
festivals." In fact, DTW and its Fresh Tracks festival of new artists
have been around since before Altogether Different's inception,
as the Sampler Festival, in 1985. The Duke, operated by the New
42nd Street, is largely a rental facility and does little presenting.
If any theaters have
usurped Altogether Different's sometimes questionable claim as a
foundry for emerging artists in recent years, they've been Danspace
Project at St. Mark's Church, which the past two seasons has programmed
a slew of younger artists who in other times would have had to wait
much longer for entry into New York's major dance theater circuit;
and the Joyce's own Joyce SoHo facility. Young companies are more
likely to surface there -- either presenting themselves or as part
of the annual Joyce SoHo Presents festival -- than in Altogether
Different, which in recent years has featured predominantly mid-level
companies which have yet to find a larger audience, rather than
meeting the festival's stated artistic mission of focusing on young
fundraising, and other infrastructure guidance for young companies
is also part of the festival's mission, but whatever infrastructure
assistance the Joyce has provided its Altogether Different companies
has not been enough to push many of them to the next level.
The festival's very
name has also made it an easy target for the resentment of some
authentically emerging choreographers, who in recent years took
to referring to it as "Altogether the Same."
"We're taking the hiatus,"
Fort said, "to strategically assess how the Joyce can best serve
(the) dance community."
As you might imagine,
the Buzz has a couple of suggestions for executive director Linda
Shelton, program director Martin Wechsler, and the rest of the Joyce
**Cultivate young and
truly emerging companies by concentrating your efforts on Joyce
SoHo, 'growing' successful programs like the residency and mentor
ones. You deserve the community's accolades for what you've achieved
in this pristine space, and its encouragement to continue to expand.
**At the larger Chelsea
space, concentrate your efforts on presenting -- in their own seasons
proper -- mid-level or even veteran companies that have been stuck
in the Altogether Different ghetto, returning two or three times.
It may be too late for these particular companies now, but past
examples would have included Doug Elkins, Mark Dendy, and Sean Curran.
Only Curran among these has really had consistently sound and aggressive
management -- notwithstanding his US touring since he turned its
booking over to IMG. Elkins -- the most musical choreographer of
his generation -- seems to have imploded, or at least his company
has, appearing only sporadically. Dendy is simply the most brilliant
spectacle-maker of his generation, a quadruple threat able to create
barefoot and on pointe, stinging theater as well as original dance.
If they were working in France, all three of these men would have
long ago been granted their own choreogrpahic centers and the resources
and centrality that come with them. In the US, they struggle.
Where was I...? Oh yes:
How does this relate to Altogether Different? To truly help companies
emerge, and not just tread water, I think the Joyce would be better
advised to devote resources currently diffused among many middling
companies of varying merit to supporting the work of a handful of
artistically talented but administratively challenged choreographers.
But what do you think,
dance insider? Has Altogether Different met its stated mission,
expressed by Fort as "to further the Joyce Theater Foundation's
mission to serve and support the art of dance and choreography and
to enhance the public interest in dance by helping young companies
with audience development, fundraising and development, administrative
structuring, etc."? And, going forward, as the foundation takes
this pause to "strategically assess how the Joyce can best serve
that dance community," as Fort put it, do you have any ideas? Write
me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or drop a line to Linda Shelton at email@example.com or Martin Wechsler at
Taglioni Feted in Her Quarter
If Marie Taglioni was
the 19th century's first star, the Paris neighborhood that benefited
the most from her luminosity was the 9th quarter, home to the old
Theatre de l'Academie Royale de Musique on rue Peletier which saw
her greatest glories, including the March 12, 1832 premiere of her
father Filippo Taglioni's "La Sylphide," in which she became the
first dancer to use pointe artistically. (Also not far from where
I write you now on the rue de Paradis.)
So it's fitting that
the quarter should celebrate the bicentennial of the birth of the
world's first grand ballerina who was also its own, which it does
tonight at its city hall, 6 rue Drouot, beginning at 7 p.m. Free
to the public, the event includes a round table featuring Taglioni
expert Pierre Lacotte, who's staging of Filippo Taglioni's "Sylphide"
is considered the authoritative one; ballet historian Sylvie Jacq-Mioche;
and music professor Francoise Meginant. The discussion is moderated
by Martine Kahane of the Paris Opera Ballet.