Sunday, December 31, 2000

The Year In Review: Dance

By Carol Norris
Enquirer contributor

• Dance • Visual Art
        Women continue to dominate the professional direction dance takes in Greater Cincinnati.

        Well into her third year, it's clear Cincinnati Ballet artistic director Victoria Morgan has an agenda and intends to stick by it, combining ballet classics with Balanchine while focusing primarily on new choreographers.

        Into her 28th year leading Contemporary Dance Theater (CDT), Jefferson James makes it clear once again she will continue to deliver hot, new (and sometimes not so new, but usually hot) contemporary companies from across the country.

        Here are 10 dance events I was grateful for.

[photo] Garth Fagan
| ZOOM |
        1. People who care about the arts and have the money to make big differences were very kind to Cincinnati Ballet this year. Otto M. Budig funded the company's first satellite school in Blue Ash, and the Maier family of Frisch's endowed new Nutcrackers for years to come, starting in 2001.

        2. The chance to see four terrific African-American companies perform here in one year: Alvin Ailey, Garth Fagan and two groups from Dayton, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company I and II. Mr. Fagan and the Dayton companies performed here for the first time; all groups should return.

        3. It was the year of the woman, with professional groups featuring all-female evenings: local contemporary choreographers Diane Germaine, Judith Mikita, Susan Moser, Carrie Rohman, Tara Stepenberg and Cheryl Wallace showed their works in a joint concert for CDT; Kathryn Posin, Lila York and Victoria Morgan did the same for Cincinnati Ballet. Most welcome in an art form often dominated by men.

        4. Cincinnati Ballet's Frederic Franklin (artistic director emeritus) came out of performance retirement at age 85 to grace the stage for American Ballet Theatre. Lucky them.

        5. Children's dance is flourishing. In addition to the many studios in the Tristate, there are pre-professional troupes at School for Creative and Performing Arts, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music Prep Department, Cincinnati Ballet and Next Generation Dance Company. The last three are new and all have staged big productions this year.

        6. We're used to reading about CCM musical-theater grads going on to pro careers, but the dance division can boast its own rising star with Aoi Funakoshi's hiring by Dayton Contemporary Dance Company.

        7. Victoria Morgan continues to surround herself with strong, talented people. Last year it was Daniel Simmons to run the children's school; this year it's Raymond Lukens as ballet master.

        8. Ms. Morgan, deciding to feature what's new in choreography, also decided to go with the best, in particular Nils Christe's SYNC and Val Caniparoli's Aquilarco.

        9. Best of all was the ballet's introduction of the first big name “new” choreographer, Stanton Welch, who lived up to all the hype with Finger Prints.

        10. Children of Nutcrackers past lost the person who came to mean the most to them at Cincinnati Ballet when rehearsal director Tami Alesson moved to Pennsylvania Ballet. Happy for her; sad for the kids.


The Year In Review: TV & Radio
The Year In Review: Theater
The Year In Review: Popular Music
The Year In Review: Film
- The Year In Review: Dance
The Year In Review: Classical Music
The Year In Review: Visual Art
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