The New Year can be a disorienting time. For a week you?re told to reflect on the past. Then the ball drops and all eyes are trained on the future. But isn?t the distinction a bit arbitrary? It must have seemed so to Allan Ulrich, for he dispensed with the customary top ten list and peered both backwards and ahead in his year-end column for Voice of Dance. Among his provocations:

?With the exception of the Mondavi Center in Davis, I note a wave of caution verging on timidity sweeping over the presenting agencies in the Bay Area. They all seem far too concerned about booking sure things or companies canonized by the New York Times. Interesting to note that the rise in world dance troupes has proved a hit at the box office and we are seeing a lot more of it. But the list of companies who this year are playing nearby venues, while skipping the Bay Area, is large and substantial; I have been reading through the schedule of Portland?s White Bird and UCLA?s Arts Alive with considerable envy, but then, it is the nature of critics to want everything. The departure of Marty Wolleson from the Lively Arts at Stanford has brought a measure of blandness to that organization?s dance policies. And, after the Bolshoi?s faintly ludicrous modern dance version of Romeo and Juliet, one can only pray that presenters will exercise more control over what companies bring here (did anybody at Cal Performances actually see this production live before booking it?).?

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