Choreographers form dance companies to ensure their creative freedom--but, as Twyla Tharp and Bella Lewitzky have detailed in these pages, sustaining those companies immediately becomes their prime task. What happens to creativity when you're constantly touring, teaching, doing interviews and fund-raising?
Lar Lubovitch is the latest to rebel against these conditions. After three years of maximizing his company's earned income through constant touring, plus setting his dances on other companies, the New Yorker is going back in the studio for a year and a half to concentrate on new work.
A form letter from the Lubovitch board of directors to potential sponsors spelled out the issue with unusual frankness: "The creation of new dances does not generate any income. Since we are forced to rely \o7 entirely \f7 on contributions at this time, your support is greatly needed. . . ."
Company executive director Richard J. Caples says that this appeal to people who had not been Lubovitch contributors in the past has generated "around $20,000 so far, about what we expected" and that personalized versions of the letter, plus direct solicitations by board members, are helping keep the fund-raising campaign on track.
Salaries, overhead and other costs for the first year of the period are budgeted at half a million dollars, he says, with individual, foundation, government and corporate support (in that order) expected to make it happen.
"There's no guarantee we'll succeed," Caples says, but he emphasizes that Lubovitch needs the time not merely to choreograph new pieces, but to consider "new creative options."
"Lar doesn't want to be confined to creating dances for the concert stage," he explains, referring to the standard program of three short pieces that most modern dance companies perform. As an alternative, he says, Lubovitch is thinking about a full-evening work to run only in New York for two or three weeks. Why only New York? Because Lubovitch doesn't want to choreograph with touring conditions and limitations in mind, Caples says.
Though Caples doesn't rule out special showcases for new works, "at the moment, no company performances have been scheduled" for the 18-month creative retreat.