Is High Fashion Saving Ballet?

The Daily Beast asserts: ‘The classic arts are having a tough time—labor disputes, slashed budgets, and a struggle to fill seats. But the New York City Ballet seems to have found the answer: Valentino.’ And the Beast’s Raquel Laneri gushes: ‘One storied arts institution is riding a wave of popularity, good will, and even critical acclaim that’s rare even during the best of times: the New York City Ballet is currently enjoying its status as the most glamorous hot spot in the Big Apple.’ It’s true that NYCB has some superb dancers (Sara Mearns first among them) right now. But the idea that the company’s attempt to marry fashion to dance is meeting with ecstatic critic acclaim is nonsense. Reviewing the fall gala last month, New York’s most influential dance critic, Alastair Macaulay, stated: ‘New York City Ballet’s gala on Thursday night managed to do disservices to both ballet and fashion. Three dances were presented with new costumes by the fashion designer Valentino, as was a world premiere; a Balanchine ballet was performed with its three lead roles redistributed among eight dancers; and Valentino was honored in film and, finally, onstage. This should have amounted to something substantial. The proceedings, however, kept suggesting that couture and ballet have less in common than we might hope.’

Leave a Comment