Sunday, 1 November 2015

Anita says - November 2015

Hello November from the crisp air of New York City.
An intense week spent watching so much dance and theatre in my former home town that I have a sensorial overload. Contemporary ballet (Ballet Memphis) exploring many themes including Gospel music; the magical Misty Copeland (America's first black Prima Ballerina); SANKAI JUKU in contemporary Butoh, modern dance (John Kinzel),  Egyptian tombs, Picasso, Philippine Gold treasures (Asia Society), dancers with robots (Wendy Whelan) and brilliant contemporary music ensembles (Macarthur genius grantee Claire Chase). This is what the fabulous NYC offers on a daily basis to its residents and visitors. And, and, and....THIS is the annually perfect personal RESET AND REBOOT button for yours truly.

However, the more interesting encounters have been with dance writers and dance passionistas. Robert Johnson and Elizabeth Zimmer shared their despair about the vanishing space for honest criticism (we have heard this before right?) and the impatience of today's American youth who don't care about dance. Newspaper surveys conducted in the NYC metropolitan area revealed that less than 2% of the readers care about dance. Meanwhile, there are more and more dance studios and rehearsal spaces opening up in the city. Dancers seem to be everywhere, stretching, flexing, moving… and yet… there is less and less money in the NYC area for independent artistes. New York dance audiences, however, are among the most sophisticated in the USA, guarded with their praise and watching with enthusiasm and not awe. Young dancers are eager to watch as much as they can (and can afford) and that is a welcome change from what I see in India. Major theatres have a policy $29 seats for those under 29 years of age. But what about those in their 30s? When tastes mature and bank accounts wither? Many Big Apple dance lovers are asking questions about how they can continue to support dance if the ticket prices soar each year. 

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