CriticalDance Forum

Geography & the Dance Connoisseur
Page 1 of 2

Author:  grace [ Tue Nov 14, 2000 4:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Geography & the Dance Connoisseur

17 November Note: posts from this thread, which discuss dance scheduling by promoters, have been moved to a new thread at:

in MODERN DANCE forum,'in 'Top Five Modern/Contemporary Works' thread, Belinda wrote about the difficulty of getting to see all the dance one wants to:

I found it very difficult to think of five top dances because I am not able to travel the world to see the best in dance. ...
Which begs the question: does one have to live in New York or London or Paris to be a true--and well-informed--dance lover?
what do you think?

[This message has been edited by grace (edited November 16, 2000).]

<font size = -2><center>(Edited by salzberg to fix link)</center></font>

<small>[ 08-11-2002, 13:33: Message edited by: salzberg ]</small>

Author:  Priscilla [ Tue Nov 14, 2000 6:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Geography & the Dance Connoisseur

My answer is no. I can love dance even if I've never seen the most currently happening names perform or their choreography performed. <P>I see what shows I can and hear about other things through various media including Criticaldance, and through personal communication. When I do travel I try to see performances that aren't coming to my town, but I also try to see what's available here at home. The Concert Association and University have done a lovely job bringing in some of these happening things, which has been very exciting. But in the last year I've also attended high school performances, a local company's show, and Alaska Native dance events which fully contribute to my enjoyment and understanding of dance. <P>Now, if being a "dance lover" really means being an "only this kind of dance lover", the equation changes. In other words, if the "best in dance" only means some particular type of dance - options change. Though I seem to think I could be a happy ballet or modern dance lover living here. Especially now with various technologies - videotapes, streaming video on the Internet, etc. <P>Being well-informed can happen in many ways. No one's actually been to Mars, but we know a lot about it.

Author:  trina [ Wed Nov 15, 2000 11:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Geography & the Dance Connoisseur

Agree with all the above..but if you live in an isolated area, though (I've lived in Kansas and alaska-- "been there, done that"!)it IS difficult!! Living in or near a university town might help...because there's usually cultural programming coming through.<BR> There's lots of opportunities now, with and catalogues such as Princeton Publishers, to order videotapes. Also network with friends......maybe you can start a "videotape" club, either locally or with pen pals. That way you can exchange, like a lending library, videotapes with each other....and maybe even visiting back and forth to attend performances....<BR>Is there a dance organization in your state...maybe a dance teachers or dance performance group (when I lived in the midwest there was the "Mid America Dance Network" (known as MADN)for example, which sponsored yearly conferences and workshops for folks to get together and learn from each was great...if you tell me where you live, I can let you know of any such groups in your area. <BR>These comments are directed to Belinda, but obviously apply to anyone living in an isolated area.<p>[This message has been edited by trina (edited November 15, 2000).]

Author:  Marie [ Wed Nov 15, 2000 12:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Geography & the Dance Connoisseur

Voice of Dance <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A> has a lot of videos streamed online now, so you can at least get a glimpse of what's out there, ie. Arnie Zane/Bill T. Jones, Ralph Lemon, etc. Most of the video content on VOD appears to be American.<P>I can totally relate to the frustration of not being able to see everything out there. As bandwidth increases and video streaming software improves I'm hoping that in the next couple of years we'll see a huge difference in what we can view on the web.<BR><p>[This message has been edited by Marie (edited November 15, 2000).]

Author:  Basheva [ Wed Nov 15, 2000 3:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Geography & the Dance Connoisseur

In San Diego there should be, but there is not, a great deal of touring dance companies who come here. We used to have more. We are after all 6th largest city in the country - so you would think we would have more.<P>I travel to Costa Mesa (about 100 miles) for the ballet season. This comprises about 5 performances for the year. I find that while I can look at the dance and dancers with a fairly knowing eye - I do not have the opportunity to follow the progress of individual dancers. Or, even follow the progress of individual companies or lack there of. My eye is not exposed enough, so to speak.<P>As for other ballet lovers in this area travelling to Costa Mesa can represent an almost insurrmountable obstacle - as an expense or because of young children. So, as I see it, there are generations of youngsters in this area who don't even have the opportunity to see really first rate dance, even if they should want to. <P>I do have a very large video library which I have learned through experience to guard - I share by inviting interested people over - but the videos do not leave my hands. Many are completely irreplaceable. <P>A very good resource that should not be overlooked is the library - both city and county libraries and college libraries. Most libraries now have extensive video selections and are free. <P>I am originally from Philadelphia which is ideally placed on the northeast "corridor" for touring companies. We thought nothing at all of having two complete opera seasons, a first rate symphony - and just as I was moving away the Pennsylvania Ballet was forming. But we did have the all the touring companies. Though this is a very beautiful city to live in with many, many pleasures , I do miss the wonderful theater of Philadelphia. <p>[This message has been edited by Basheva (edited November 15, 2000).]

Author:  grace [ Thu Nov 16, 2000 5:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Geography & the Dance Connoisseur

belinda, i feel one can be a "true dance-lover" anywhere. without ever seeing professional dance, even, one can love dance.....<P>'s the big 'BUT'! be "well-informed", that's another matter....<P>there are many ways to become 'informed', but dance IS a visual art.<P>your question made me think of a situation a few years back, here, when a young new-graduate from a dance degree program, was given a helping hand into dance reviewing because her dance criticism/dance history lecturer was the local dance critic.<P>let's say the graduate was 19 or 20. i don't think she had ever been out of australia. i doubt she had ever been out of the state we live in - a very isolated state. she had only performed herself, in a very few pieces of semi-amateur modern choreography with fellow students. she wrote quite well - nothing spectacular, but basically competent.<P>i was initially not sure what to think of her lucky break, writing for the ONLY daily newspaper in this city, the state's capital city - in other words, HER review would be the ONLY review printed in this state. (mine is printed in the sydney-based national dance magazine, ages after the fact!)<P>should i think: "good for her!"? - after all, we badly need new reviewers, and where are they going to come from, if not encouraged and given chances...? OR should i think: "oh dear, is this appropriate?" - after all, what could she possibly know about international dance standards of the highest order, in a range of genres and cultures?.....<P>hmm! well - initially i was pleased she had the chance to do one review. but after that, i felt it highly innappropriate.<P>i guess that what this comes back to, is: <B>what do we expect or require critics to know and do?</B><P>if they are just to describe a performance, then her background was sufficient, but still rudimentary.<P>but if we expect any more than that from a critic: that they need to be able to compare and contrast, to back up their opinions with references to other dancers, choreographers, works, companies - even other countries, other times, perhaps? then, to be 'well-informed' for this purpose requires a considerable background in dance....<P>no answers here...just posing questions...but i am inclined to think, based on my real-life experience of people, that even an avid appetite for dance and dance information, in an isolated place, isn't enough to qualify one as 'well-informed' in this artform, which, i think, requires to be experienced....<P>

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Thu Nov 16, 2000 5:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Geography & the Dance Connoisseur

As you can imagine we London dance fans are spoilt rotten. However, we still don't see everything, as NYCB and a number of other international companies prefer to go to the Edinburgh International Festival than come to London. Thus our origianl question was very much the best of what you have seen rather than worldwide.

How do you find living in Perth after London grace? Two weeks ago here we had in 1 week - two different productions from the RB, two from Universal Ballet, Stephen Petronio company, Trisha Brown and Ballets Jazz de Montreal.

Video and the higher quality DVD make it possible to see a great range of high quality ballet at home. However, modern dance seems less well served because the critical market size is often not there to justify production.

A fan can always read about what is happening, but it's not the same. One American critic has strong views about companies that she has not seen for 10 years and claims that her network of advisers keep her abreast of what is happening. That's fine, but is clearly second hand knowledge, not involving her own judgement and should be flagged as such.

{ the rest of stuart's message has moved to this thread: }

[This message has been edited by grace (edited November 16, 2000).]

<font size = -2><center>(Edited by salzberg to fix link)</center></font>

<small>[ 08-11-2002, 13:34: Message edited by: salzberg ]</small>

Author:  Belinda [ Thu Nov 16, 2000 3:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Geography & the Dance Connoisseur

Hi all,<P>I was particularly interested in Grace's comments on "well informed" critics. Even seeing 3 to 4 performances per year, it would take at least a decade to cover enough bases to really be able to compare and contrast companies, choreographers, and dancers. Should dance critics writing for major publications be at least 30 years of age then? And if so, how are we to nurture a new generation of "well informed" critics? Would it be admirable for them to voluntarily bypass big breaks in order to continue cutting their teeth?<P>A comparison with University professors comes to mind. An English prof, for example, is highly prized for his deep, specialized knowledge--the kind of background that can only be acquired thorugh dedication and years of reading. And so his or her specialized knowledge becomes ever more treasured over time. And yet Universities have to keep hiring young professors. Should young professors then only be hired or accept positions with less prestigious institutions, in order to buy more time to build up their knowledge? Or is there something to be gained by letting young, relatively unknowledgable scholars enter the critical fray with established ones?<P>Perhaps this analogy really isn't helpful.<P>I'm especially interested to hear individual opinions on this.

Author:  Azlan [ Thu Nov 16, 2000 6:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Geography & the Dance Connoisseur

Oy, Belinda, that's a loaded question. I think I'll let the professional dance writers among us respond first before I give it a go.

Author:  Azlan [ Fri Nov 17, 2000 9:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Geography & the Dance Connoisseur

Belinda's question really deserves its own topic, so I started a new thread:

What does it take to be a "well-informed" critic?

<font size = -2><center>(Edited by salzberg to fix link)</center></font>

<small>[ 08-11-2002, 13:35: Message edited by: salzberg ]</small>

Author:  Priscilla [ Fri Nov 17, 2000 12:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Geography & the Dance Connoisseur

That's great because there's a difference between being a well-informed critic and being a well-informed civilian. Good topics and questions!

Author:  trina [ Sat Nov 18, 2000 3:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Geography & the Dance Connoisseur

Grace --good question...more later on this!!

Author:  grace [ Sat Nov 18, 2000 7:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Geography & the Dance Connoisseur

it seems to me that belinda has asked a number of questions, none of which is actually the one azlan poses up above.<P>sorry belinda, that my story relating to criticism seems to have 'done in' this thread (which i did start to do justice to your first question. i tried! Image ) belinda describes herself as a writer, so i thought she would find this story illustrative toward her own point about the 'dance-lover' (not necessarily the critic). <P>some specific responses to your further questions:<P><I>Should dance critics writing for major publications be at least 30 years of age then?</I><P>well, i COULD fiddle with your arithmetic! Image (i'm not sure if you made a typo, or if i misunderstand what you are saying, about seeing '3 or 4 performances a year' - i imagine you meant rather more than that? - 3 or 4 performances a week? 3 or 4 a year by each company? i'm not at all sure what you meant...) BUT, to get back to your 10 year figure (which is YOUR figure, not mine) that could easily make a candidate, say, 20 - if they start watching dance with serious interest from when they are 10....?<P>however, i don't buy into the 'number of years' equation. there are too many factors that need to be considered in concert.<P>so no, i don't think there's any age limit.<BR> <BR><I>And if so, how are we to nurture a new generation of "well informed" critics?</I><P>well, i guess i just made this one kinda irrelevant vis a vis the age thing - but it's still an excellent question. critics need to be nurtured - that is, IF anyone wants to have any - because they don't arise very naturally, due to a number of reasons, in the environment i live in (where YOU live may be different).<P><I>Would it be admirable for them to voluntarily bypass big breaks in order to continue cutting their teeth?</I><P>- in reference to the case i spoke of, and without knowing all the reasons why it occurred, i would have to say it was irresponsible of the mentor to offer this opportunity. it's hard to fault someone for taking on an offered opportunity which they may desire (although i have certainly passed up such opportunities, out of feeling in some way unworthy or inadequate to the task, in both dance and dance writing.)<P>so i guess my answer to that would be: yes, people need to know their limitations and not overstep them, even if they see personal advantage to be gained. that's part of the responsibility of taking on any public role.<P><p>[This message has been edited by grace (edited November 19, 2000).]

Author:  Azlan [ Sat Nov 18, 2000 11:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Geography & the Dance Connoisseur

I was talking to a former dancer who says that she missed a lot growing up in a small town. She knew about the classics of course but did not have a proper context of them, of how they related to each other. Also, even though special guests would appear for performances in her hometown, she didn't quite get to see the best dancers on a regular basis. However, her training in ballet eventually helped her catch up.<P>A non-dancer in the same small town unfortunately would not have fared as well.<p>[This message has been edited by Azlan (edited November 19, 2000).]

Author:  Belinda [ Tue Nov 21, 2000 1:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Geography & the Dance Connoisseur

Hi everyone,<P>Just wanted to clear up the "3 to 4 performances a year" comment. I meant "3 to 4 performances a week." Oops!

Page 1 of 2 All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group