So. What exactly can we call "dance criticism"?
I know, this must possibly sound like a terribly stupid question, since scholars have drawn distinctions between "reviewers" and "critics". Wesley Monroe Shrum Jr. (1996)describes the reviewer
as someone who produces
... a brief composition, reacting to a specific work... summarises and evaluates to a readership that may not be familiar with or have made judgements about a work... the review that appears in the contemporary mass media must be timely.
I take this to mean that the work of reviewers are published in general magazines, newspapers. As for critics, Shrum says that a critic
produces work that
... tends to be longer and more reflective… even departing from artworks themselves... criticism in specialised monthly or quarterly publications, besides addressing the specialised audience, ranges far into the past for its subject matter, and afield to philosophy, literature, and social thought for its themes.
It's also believed that a reviewer is as good as an ordinary audience member, while a critic possesses special knowledge as an academic or arts practitioner. So these are some of the neat little divisions that separate "reviewers" from "critics".
(These distinctions aren't exhaustive; anyone who has more to add, or find any of these problematic, please feel free to point them out.)
But of course, there is considerable overlap between these distinctions. Some of the best dance critics in the US - e.g. Deborah Jowitt, Marcia B. Siegel, and more - have written and continue to write for newspapers, as well as contribute to specialised journals, and are dance scholars in their own right. Someone once told me that Clive Barnes's interesting pieces for a certain newspaper doesn't exactly qualify as "criticism" - and yet, he was invited to last year's Dance Critics' Association Conference. Utterly confusing, all this.
So I guess my problem is - if it is possible to set nice, neat guidelines at all, what exactly can we call "dance criticism"? Does dance criticism, which usually refers to essays in specialised publications (like Dance Research Journal), also include newspaper reviews? Or do we draw the line at certain publications etc.?
<small>[ 25 April 2004, 04:06 PM: Message edited by: Azlan ]</small>