Given the scramble for funding these days, a dance company with a private sponsor—prepared to spend everything necessary to present and maintain it—lucks out. Lincoln Kirstein and his friends once did this for George Bal anchine's enterprise, Bethsabée de Rothschild for Martha Graham's, and Rebekah Harkness (for a while, anyway) for Robert Joffrey's. Those patrons were supporting established artistry. Nancy Laurie built her contemporary ballet company, Cedar Lake, from scratch. After a rocky start, the group is ensconced in its own handsomely appointed establishment (built as a garage in 1914) in cutting-edge Chelsea. Money flows freely. The 15 excellent dancers are well taken care of. In short supply, however, are choreographic expertise and good taste. Benoit-Swan Pouffer is better-known in the dance world than Cedar Lake's first artistic director, L. Jen Ballard, but he built his reputation as a performer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. As a choreographer, he's... More >>>