Wednesday, October 5, 2011

'Bolero' needs a white knight

In a city that's still developing, as Charlotte is, you have to get used to the idea of having to wait for some things you'd like the arts scene to have. But once in a while, a better setup comes so close that you can nearly see it dancing before your eyes.

If you've ever been disappointed when N.C. Dance Theatre performs to the sounds of a recorded orchestra, this is one of those occasions.

Last weekend, the Charlotte Symphony capped off a Spanish-style program with Maurice Ravel's "Bolero." When NCDT opens its season next week, Oct. 13-15, it will do Mark Diamond's choreographed "Bolero" -- accompanied by a CD. So close, yet so far.

As with so many aspects of the arts in Charlotte, money is the hitch -- especially since the recession. But solutions are out there.

NCDT isn't the only dance company crimped this way. The Miami City Ballet, a substantially bigger company than NCDT, originally used an orchestra, but had to give it up during the downturn.

So I was a little let-down when I headed to a performance by the company during a trip to Florida last spring. George Balanchine's "Scottish Symphony" was on the bill, and I wasn't looking forward to hearing Mendelssohn's music emanating from loudspeakers. Imagine my surprise, then, when I drove into the parking garage and saw people dressed in black taking instrument cases from their cars.

The printed program held the explanation. Miami City Ballet had brought back its orchestra thanks to a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which was started by the onetime owners of the Miami Herald. The Knights owned a newspaper in Charlotte, too, and their foundation has an office here. Shouldn't someone go by there with a proposal?

Photo of Mark Diamond's "Bolero" by Jeff Cravotta.


spinelabel said...

"Bolero" was interesting to hear and see when the Symphony did it last week. The different arrangements and the gradually building sound were revealed as different parts of the orchestra were engaged. I can only imagine the effect would be enhanced as dancers reacted to the piece's structure.

Anonymous said...

Most cities are developing. Do Charlotte boosters get out enough, should be the question.