From the beginning only knowing repertory companies (companies performing work by various choreographers dead or alive) I was surprised to see companies existing with only 1 choreographer. I remember the Merce Cunningham Company, Louis Falce Company and Martha Graham Company all with their own distinctive way of being. Merce Cunningham dancers were independent, busy with their own things and dedicated to the company at the same time, Louis Falco’s Company seemed to be more of a hang out place for really cool people; hard workers, having fun together also outside of the studio; Martha Graham Company dancers were in a way more like ‘workers’. Believing in the product but still most of them were doing another training then the Graham technique to stay alive and more or less healthy. They were on the one hand buying into the thing most wholeheartedly but at the same time staying separate from the company in a way. Later in the time of ad hoc productions and a more or less liberal unemployment policy I thought it was important for dancers to stay with 1 choreographer even if that choreographer could not provide full time employment and in such a way create a body or a way of moving that was unique to that work. I think it still a bit boring to see the same dancer doing a variety of work; it becomes a performance of the adaptability of the dancer rather then a performance of the work.
It raises the question if people can ever be ‘the material’ of or for someone else. Or is it simply the question: Could you do this for me? But that implies an equal relationship whis it usually isn’t as the money goes to one person or group and is not spread out over a group/dance company. One wonders what would happen if grants and financial support would be divided between dancers proportionally and who then could decide to team up and collaborate or ask a choreographer to work with them.