"Lame duck of Dance" seems harsh, as many people, including me, get a lot of enjoyment from ENB. I believe I see the hand of a Sub-Editor keen to work in a play on words, rather than Debra Craine.
You certainly get the impression of a Eaging as a forceful personality keen to get on with the job. ENB clearly has problems: touring ballet is expensive, that's one of the reasons whay the Royal Ballet doesn't tour - it would need more money, and the finances of a permanently touring company like ENB are horrendous. Forty years ago, a 30-strong touring company like Ballet Rambert became impossible to manage, with endless performances of the same classics to make ends meet, and transformed itself into a smaller, contemporary company. The next five years will see whether ENB has a future in its present incarnation.
Looking at some of Eagling's comments:
We need more performances, and in bigger theatres outside London. I don’t want to do lots of small tours with 20 dancers. A big company should act like a big company.
Actually I rather liked the "Tour de force" events, especially as it took top quality performers to venues and towns that would normally never see this art form. More large scale touring sounds like more of the same going to the same theatres as BRB.
I expect the board and the managing director to make it possible for me to carry out the artistic goals that I set. If I’m told that there is no money I will accept that, but it’s not about coming to the end of the year and finding that you’ve done nothing but the books look good. I’m not interested in that.
I'd rather see him talking about an iterative process of co-operation with the Managing Director. An AD these days needs to work closely with the MD to formaulate a programme, rather than: "This is what I want - yes or no?"
David Dawson, resident choreographer at Dutch National Ballet (and a former ENB dancer), is on his wish list; so too are Johan Inger and Paul Lightfoot, from Netherlands Dance Theatre. Eagling has no plans to choreograph himself, at least not yet.
That is an exciting prospect for me as these are three choreogrphers that I would love to see in the rep of UK companies. Lightfoot and Dawson are Englishmen who have made virtually all their choreography in The Netherlands and, as two of the leading UK dance makers of their generation, that is an anomoly. However Lightfoot and Inger are from the NDT school which many UK critics hate with burning intensity and Dawson, whose work I have never seen, is I understand a cousin of this form. Whether ENB audiences away from London are ready for this style is another point. But I hope Eagling gets at least one or two of these three over here.
In any event, very best wishes for the years ahead to Wayne Eagling and ENB from all at CriticalDance.
Further thoughts anyone?