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Beleagured, the NEA perseveres.

WASHINGTON, D.C.--Despite the efforts of the opponents of arts funding in the U.S. Congress, who recently proposed cutting the National Endowment for the Arts's $170,229,000 budget by another five percent, the NEA is continuing to make grants that set an example for the nation. By providing American artists with matching funds, the NEA encourages private funders to support the arts, rewards American artists for their precious contributions to the intellectual and spiritual life of their country, and acknowledges the importance of the arts industry to the U.S. economy.

The NEA has lent a helping hand to numerous dance companies in 1994, and the list of grantees reads like a Who's Who of dance in America. Some of the most notable grants through the dance program this year have been: $300,000 to Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation, $300,000 to New York City Ballet, $280,000 to Dance Theater Foundation (Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater), $275,000 to Paul Taylor Dance Foundation, $255,000 to San Francisco Ballet Association, $250,000 to American Ballet Theatre Foundation, $260,000 to Dance Theatre of Harlem, $215,000 to the Foundation for the Joffrey Ballet, $205,000 to Pacific Northwest Ballet Association, $200,000 to Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance, $195,000 to Trisha Brown Dance Company, $170,000 to Boston Ballet, and $105,000 to Houston Ballet Foundation.

Altogether, the NEA's dance program awarded $5,562,000 to 113 dance companies this year (197 applied). The dance program also made forty-eight grants to choreographers, totaling $828,000. In addition, a special project grant of $90,000 went to Dance Theater Workshop of New York City to support the dance component of DTW's National Performance Network. And, as another special project, the NEA recently awarded $20,000 to each of three master teachers: Erick Hawkins, Pearl Primus, and Anna Sokolow.

Applications for NEA funding through the dance program are divided into four categories, each of which has its own deadline: December 5, 1994, for choreographers' fellowships; February 6, 1995, for dance company grants; and May 15, 1995, for services to the field.

The NEA does not fund large organizations exclusively, nor does it fund only artists in big cities. Though its budget is tiny in comparison with other U.S. government agencies, and certainly in comparison with the cultural ministries of other civilized nations, the NEA has a long reach. In its third quarter of funding, the endowment made contributions to such geographically diverse groups as Montana Ballet Company in Bozeman, Montana, and Caribbean Dance Company of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.

The endowment supports dance not only through its dance program, but also through an expansion arts program, a presenting and commissioning program, and an international program. The expansion arts program funds professional arts organizations that serve specific communities, while the presenting and commissioning program supports the creation of new work, and the international program helps American artists with projects overseas.

A large number of minority dance companies have received awards through the expansion arts program, including Dance Theatre of Harlem ($50,000, in addition to the grant mentioned above), Philadelphia Dance Company ($49,000), Ballet Hispanico ($46,000), Andrew Cacho African Drummers and Dancers of Washington, D.C. ($18,500 plus another grant of $5,000), and African American Dance Ensemble of Durham, North Carolina ($20,000).

Presenting and commissioning funds have gone to such groups as Dance Theater Workshop ($25,000 for a new piece by Ann Carlson), Dance Umbrella of Austin, Texas ($20,000 for a new work by Donald Byrd), Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in Lee, Massachusetts ($20,000 to commission Liz Lerman), Trisha Brown Dance Company ($15,000), and ODC/San Francisco ($10,000).

During the first two quarters of 1994, the NEA gave $472,850 to dance presenters, and awarded six grants totaling $1.02 million through the dance-on-tour component of its presenting and commissioning program.

Meanwhile, applying to the NEA's international program paid off for Axis Dance Troupe of Oakland, California, which received $20,000 to work with a company in Siberia. Liz Lerman Dance Exchange applied directly for a grant to help with a project in Poland, and received $20,000.

Given the significance of even a $5,000 grant to a struggling dance company (most of the grants are in that range), the NEA provides an enormous service to the art of dance in America. The agency's continuing battle with its opponents on Capitol Hill thus is not a matter to be taken lightly. The dance community cannot afford to show indifference to a political battle that affects it so directly.

For further information, contact the NEA's dance program at (202) 682-5435; the expansion arts program at (202) 682-5443; the presenting and commissioning program at (202) 682-5444; and the international program at (202) 682-5422. Or write to: National Endowment for the Arts, Nancy Hanks Center, 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C., 20506-0001.

WUPPERTAL, Germany--Pina Bausch's Two Cigarettes in the Dark, which she brings to the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival, November 17-23, started as an anonymous Tanzabend, when it had its premiere in Wuppertal on March 31, 1985.

Yet Two Cigarettes is hardly anonymous. We know exactly how the piece developed through its two months of production. Bausch's rehearsal diary was published in the original program (and later also appeared in the book Pina Bausch: Tanztheaterge-schichten, by Raimund Hoghe --a must for anyone interested in her work).

As her point of departure in creating Two Cigarettes, Bausch asked her dancers to improvise "something with a waltz step," to formulate sentences including the word "God," to wonder when one uses the word "shit" and what one means when one says "mother," to proceed from there to meditate about "the world of small happiness," "to perform something with the belly," and to try and move like a harlequin. It was from such cues and suggestions that the individual scenes of the three-hour-long piece developed, most of them solos and small groups with only two or three bigger ensembles; one of these ensembles is performed by four couples who hold hands while sliding on the floor.

Two Cigarettes employs a collage of music by Claudio Monteverdi, Johannes Brahms, Ludwig van Beethoven, Johann Sebas-tian Bach, Hugo Wolf, Henry Purcell, Ben Webster, Alberta Hunter, and medieval songs. The piece is designed by Peter Pabst (set) and Marion Cito (costumes).

Cigarettes is a very typical Bausch work, open to many interpretations. Most critics agree, however, that it adds up to an endgame, a fin de partie, emphasized by the forlorn and clinically whitewashed walls of its setting, a room with five doors and huge windows, and by this final melancholy quotation from a Wolf song: "All things created come to dust; all things perish."
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Title Annotation:National Endowment for the Arts support of dance
Author:Johnson, Robert (English judge)
Publication:Dance Magazine
Date:Nov 1, 1994
Previous Article:Houston Ballet cancels New York City tour.
Next Article:RAD rebounds.

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