Portrait of Artist as Impresario, and Other Premieres
By JOHN ROCKWELL
Published: March 16, 2006
Not that Benjamin Millepied, 27, a principal with New York City Ballet, is necessarily near retirement. But he seems to be a restlessly curious artist, and Tuesday night he put himself before the public as dancer, choreographer and impresario in a generous program consisting of four world premieres. The run of his Benjamin Millepied & Company continues at the Joyce Theater through Sunday.
As proof that even the NY Times can make painful editorial glitches:
"In perhaps a bow to the hybrid nature of the night, Ms. Murphy wore ballet slippers, not point shoes."
Point shoes? Don't you mean pointe shoes?
Unfortunately, this review seems like a considerable regression for Mr. Rockwell, who seemed to have been settling better into has role as dance critic. But his comments seem overly simplistic (couldn't he have found a better adjective or description than cheesy?). And he makes a lot of generalizations, such as "Europeans seem to like their music loud and their lighting stark and dark..." which just isn't true. Has he seen much dance over here recently? It's too bad (or make a really good thing) that none of NY press came over for Millepied's "Casse-Noisette" in Geneva. No loud music or stark lighting there...
And then there's the comment "In perhaps a bow to the hybrid nature of the night, Ms. Murphy wore ballet slippers, not point shoes.". Errr, since when did the wearing of soft slippers become non-balletic? Balanchine, Bournonville, Robbins, Ashton and MacMillan have all choreographed pieces without pointe shoes, and one would be treading on very shaky ground to dimiss their work as non-ballet or hybrid.
Sometimes I think there's way too much emphasis on the idea of "hybrid" dance. Clearly there are some balletomanes and critics who cringe at the idea of anything that's not textbook classical ballet. But there are also many of us who enjoy and appreciate the various layers of classical and modern dance without picking every piece apart into it's ballet and modern bits. My own tastes range all over the board - I wasn't thrilled by Ashley Page's more modern choreography in his "Cinderella", but the one part of Millepied's "Casse-Noisette" that I found weak was the classical grand pas de deux. I adored Mark Morris' "Gong" , as "hybrid" as they come, but am less than thrilled with Balanchine's "Episodes", as classical as they come.
And honestly, I doubt most choreographers go into the studio with the intent of creating fusion or blend - they just choreograph in the style which is comfortable for them. So why is that so many critics seem to drag the distinction over the coals in every review...can we not just appreciate what we see as dance...