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Created for stage, nominated for film

August 24, 2003|Lewis Segal

Should works choreographed for the stage and then filmed years later be judged in the same category as new choreography created especially for the camera? That question arose recently when the board of directors for the ninth annual American Choreography Awards learned that one of its nominating committees had placed German dance-theater icon Pina Bausch alongside four other dance-makers in the feature film category.

Two Bausch pieces excerpted in Pedro Almodovar's Oscar-winning drama from last year, "Talk to Her," earned the committee's nomination, but the longer of them, "Cafe Muller," dates from 1978. (Local audiences saw it at the Olympic Arts Festival in 1984.) And neither it nor the passages from Bausch's more recent "Masurca Fogo" really qualify as dance-for-camera, the focus of the American Choreography Awards.

So is it fair to the choreographers for "Austin Powers in Goldmember," "The Matrix Reloaded" and the other feature film nominees to invite Bausch to the party?

We'll find out Nov. 9, when the ACA winners are announced at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown L.A. But the board is reportedly mulling the idea of adding an eighth category -- "Adaptations" -- to its slate of awards, in part because a number of coming film and television dance projects started out on stage. So one of these days, even Marius Petipa or August Bournonville just might win a shiny new tchotchke for millennial film-dance.

-- Lewis Segal

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