As we’ve reported before, musical theater is not the only art form threatened by the use of recorded music: dance is also a frequent target of those willing to sacrifice artistic integrity for a few extra dollars. We were saddened to hear that the Paul Taylor Dance Company has just become the first major dance company in history to perform at Lincoln Center to canned music instead of being accompanied by professional musicians. It is unfortunate that some people don’t seem to think that audiences care enough to notice that they are paying top dollar for a musical experience one could approximate with iTunes. Not only that, this use of canned music sets a dangerous precedent for a treasured cultural institution.
According to James Fayette, former principal dancer with the New York City Ballet and current New York Area Dance Executive at the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA), “The ballet’s founder George Balanchine was often quoted as saying ‘See the music, hear the dance.’” Fayette added, “Music is essential to the experience at the David H. Koch Theater—where I danced to live music at every performance. It was the beauty of the orchestra’s art that created a complete expression of the ballets and a full artistic experience for the audience.”
We here at the Save Live Music on Broadway campaign hope that Lincoln Center’s leadership will recognize that allowing dance residencies to foist recorded music on an unsuspecting audience is not good for the venerable arts complex—which is home to the Juilliard School, educator of the world’s top musicians!—and it is poison for New York’s reputation as a global artistic capital.
Much like the Paul Taylor Dance Company at Lincoln Center, some Broadway theater owners and producers have attempted to sell prerecorded shows to unsuspecting audiences. Audiences must be able to make informed decisions before spending their money on a diminished experience. That is why we ask that you share this story and sign our petition against use of recorded music on Broadway. Let producers know you love live music!