And I think that's what is happening at the Royal Danish Ballet, though not everyone seems to think it's good idea.
For the 2005-06 season, there are, I believe, 12 new ballets scheduled, most by Nordic choroegraphers, including a member of the Royal Danish Ballet corps. I don't know a whole lot about choreography in Scandinavia, but these don't strike me as well known choreographers.
I think some companies are nurturing the next generation - look at NYCB's Choreographic Institute. Though those performances are not open to the public, many of those pieces have been further developed or have inspired ballets for major companies. The participants come largely from a ballet background, but I think that's fair.
While including choreographers with a contemporary background is important to keeping alive the diversity and depth of ballet, it is also very important to keep the flow of choreographers comiing from classical ballet backgrounds. Ballet needs both, and I think there's more good contemporary work in ballet companies today than good new 'classical work. And no matter how well trained, choreographers with contemporary based training just won't hage the same perspective and skills as someone who has spent their life training in the classical tradition. So, while it's interesting to see what choreographers along the lines of Tharp & Rushton & Morris etc. can do for ballet companies, it's almost more important to develop the future Wheeldons and Ratmanskys and Neumeiers and Possohkovs.
Ballet is ballet, and one can't forget that - contemporary pieces are important, but not the be all and end all.
You state that
The only way to get new audiences is to revamp ballet. People find it boring and "the same old thing". Well these are the thoughts expressed by people that i talk too who are no into dance so to speak.
Well, if these people are not into dance, on what experience do they speak. If they've not experienced ballet, or for that matter, a decent variety of good ballet performances, how do they know that it's boring or "the same old thing"? Ballet is hugely diverse and relying on the opinions of people who have barely ventured into a performance is not a good way to gauage the strength or weaknesses of ballet.
What we need to do is get people into the theater - and let them see for themselves. And that's the challenge. And for that reason, programming a variety of types of ballets for each performance helps, as do INEXPENSIVE, properly advertised, accessably timed and interesting programs that introduce people to the ballet. To see dancers up close - the sweat, the strain, the muscle - and learn about the grit and pain of dancer's daily life can help get rid of many of the myths around ballet.
Several of the companies that are in or tour to Scotland provide opportunities to see company clas or ask questions of dancers or the director. This a great step in the right direction. But we lack in good classical ballet up here. The Scottish Ballet does what they can,and have improved greatly in the last few years, but finances make it more feasible to do repertory programs and focus on more modern works. And I don't think their repertory is always the best for drawing in new audiences. Northern Ballet Theatre puts on full-length performances, but they are heavily theatrical, with not nearly as much dancing as in typical ballets.
So, the only companies that bring the 'Swan Lakes' or 'Sleeping Beautys' are the touring Russian companies, who are often uneven in quality. It would be lovely to once in a while get a company up here with an excellent 'Coppelia' or 'Don Quixote' or a program full of Wheeldons or Balanchine or Robbins or MacMillan and not just during the Edinburgh Festival. We have the second largest stage in the UK up here in Edinburgh - lack of facilities in not an excuse.
And then maybe we can create a broader ballet audience up here. It won't happen on our current diet of excellent contemporary companies, uneven Russian touring ballet companies, the odd foreign ballet company on tour and the Scottish Ballet.