Dance bits

Another choreographer called yesterday wanting to know my reaction to the recent news that Shen Wei had been awarded a 2007 MacArthur Fellowship. Apologies for the delay—sometimes it's just easier to block out bad news. But the reality is that Shen Wei is in possession of a "genius" grant and $500,000, no strings attached, which he will likely use to make more mediocre dances. The news is discouraging on many levels—take into consideration how few MacArthur Fellows in dance there are; but what's really being validated is modern dance packaged with a safe, Asian sensibility for American consumption. It's not surprising that he was nominated—he's a darling of Lincoln Center Festival—but it is alarming that he won. The selection criteria focuses on "exceptional creativity, as demonstrated through a track record of significant achievement, and manifest promise for important future advances. Emphasis is placed on nominees for whom our support would relieve limitations that inhibit them from pursuing their most innovative ideas." Shen Wei? Future advances? What?


American Ballet Theatre just released casting details for its City Center season, and Ballo della Regina looks so promising (thank you, Merrill Ashley): Gillian Murphy with David Hallberg (Oct 23, 26 and Nov 3); Michele Wiles and Maxim Beloserkovsky (Oct 25, 27 and 28—obviously it's Wiles we care about); and Sarah Lane and Herman Cornejo on Nov 4. At 1:30pm (strange new time).

Finally, start pricing flights to Florida. Twyla Tharp's newest, still-unnamed ballet, set to music by Elvis Costello and performed by Miami City Ballet, will open March 28. Isaac Mizrahi, it's just been announced, is designing the costumes. No more Billy Joel! Hurrah!