Sword fight

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Bard College's Fisher Center has chosen the composer Prokofiev as the focus of its 2008 SummerScape Festival and, in honor, the world will have another new Romeo and Juliet. Choreographed by Mark Morris and performed by the Mark Morris Dance Group, the new production will mark the first time the ballet will be performed according to the composer's original wishes (based on documents found by musicologist Simon Morrison in Moscow). Leon Botstein will lead the American Symphony Orchestra, and Morris's dance will include design by Allen Moyer, costumes by Martin Pakledinaz and lighting by James F. Ingalls.

The amusement comes in imagining the way Morris's announcement is torturing Peter Martins, the ballet-master-in-chief of New York City Ballet, who is choreographing a new production of the ballet to premiere during the spring season. They're not exactly the best of friends. And while Morris is an acclaimed choreographer (rightly so), Martins clearly has some problems in that area. But the real difference has to do with the subject matter; for all his brashness, Morris is the most romantic choreographer out there (his Sylvia for San Francisco Ballet? to die for). Martins's ballets fall more into the shards-of-glass category. It may not be a fair competition, but what fun it'll be, watching it unfold.

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