Protecting Endangered Species: The National Endowment for the Arts

Modern dance is one of the enduring creations of the American twentieth century. And yet many of the greatest dances by an entire generation of choreographers are threatened with oblivion. The National Endowment for the Arts is beginning to respond to this need with new funds for bringing important works of dance back into the active touring repertories of dance companies.
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Unlike the master works of painters, poets, playwrights, and composers, a choreographer’s creation gains permanence only by entering the permanent repertory of a dance company committed to presenting it to audiences. Yes, there are video documentations of great dances, sometimes reclaimed from the dusty archives of a studio or an administrative vault. But these often grainy images, flattened in the medium of the screen, are a pale semblance of the flesh-and-blood physicality of movement and form that originally made the dance great.

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Ellis Finger
About the Author
Ellis Finger is the Director of the Williams Arts Center at Lafayette College in Easton, PA. He writes regularly about dance, classical music, and jazz for a variety of publications.