Roslyn Sulcas has written a preview piece in The New York Times for the upcoming stint of Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company at City Center. It's kind of a doom-and-gloom piece that depicts Christopher Wheeldon's reality check about trying to start a new company as a cry-out for saving all of ballet on the planet.
"The stakes are enormous for Mr. Wheeldon personally, but the survival of Morphoses is also a bellwether for the health of the dance scene and the cultural world in New York. Mr. Wheeldon, along with the Russian choreographer Alexei Ratmansky, is considered the most important creative figure working in ballet today."
Baloney. Perhaps The New York Times considers Wheeldon and Ratmansky as the most important creative figures working in ballet today, but The Times does not speak for everyone or even most people or even any population outside its own walls. Ballet choreography is flourishing thanks to John Neumeier, Nacho Duato, Ohad Naharin, Ratmansky, Wheeldon, Kudelka and others. It's not particularly classical ballet, for which we sorely need a new choreographic champion, but it is ballet.
"If he can’t attract the financing and support for his work, it suggests that New York may no longer be a place where smaller, less institutional performing arts groups — even one with the built-in marquis value of Mr. Wheeldon — can be created and flourish."
"[S]maller, less institutional performing arts groups" as Sulcas terms them have never flourished in New York City. Eliot Feld struggled for decades and decades with his concept; New York Theater Ballet lives, but on bread and water alone; Dance Theater of Harlem's story of struggle is well known; and the new Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet will continue doing whatever the heck it is doing so long as the family fortune funding it is healthy.
Lourdes Lopez, executive director of Morphoses, is quoted in the article as saying "We are producing art at the level of [New York] City Ballet [and] American Ballet Theatre" which besides being untrue is just downright silly. But it makes for a good plea.
Haglund hopes that everyone comes out to support Morphoses during its season that begins next week at City Center. But let's keep it real.