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Similarly heterodox notions are percolating in other cities where ethnic minorities are fast becoming demographic majorities. In New York City, Eliot Feld choreographs his edgily urban dances for a colorful troupe drawn from the classrooms of Ballet Tech, a public school devoted to dance; the equally diverse Miami City Ballet recently premiered Mambo No. 2 A.M., a collaboration between Balanchine acolyte Edward Villella and '50s mambo king Pedro ("Cuban Pete") Aguilar.
Much younger than Feld or Villella, Webre is more directly in touch with the sensibilities of the Gen-X audiences he longs to attract, yet his newly galvanized dancers look as good in Tudor's piercingly nostalgic The Leaves Are Fading as in his own up-to-the-second pieces. This is no coincidence. "I cherish the ballet vocabulary," he says. "Its formalism is a vehicle to achieve the divine within us. But I'm also an American pop-culture person--I grew up watching Charlie's Angels reruns and going to rave nightclubs five nights a week --and I think it can be put in a big martini shaker and married with classicism." That could be his motto: Classicism Rocks.