public forum
home forum magazine gallery links about faq courtesy
It is currently Fri Oct 24, 2014 6:10 am

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 74 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: What does it take to be a "well-informed"critic?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2000 8:32 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
OY - do I dare enter here? I think it is not only important to avoid a conflict of interest - but also the appearance of a conflict of interest.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: What does it take to be a "well-informed"critic?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2000 8:49 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 17498
Location: SF Bay Area
Basheva, I agree. The perceived conflict of interest can be quite damaging. As most of you know, I have removed my name from the media list for a few organizations because of my ties with them. Even though I have been asked to mediate on numerous occasions because of my reputation for fairness, I have taken myself out of this process several times because the persisting doubt about my integrity will undermine any fair intentions I have. This would be unfair even to those I am trying to help.<P>Yes, I believe the rules are different here in the US as well. Most newspapers, to avoid a perceived conflict of interest, will not hire individuals (writers, photographers, editors etc.) who are paid by dance companies.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: What does it take to be a "well-informed"critic?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2000 8:50 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 4725
Location: Australia
ah: "appearance"! now that's a different matter entirely - that's about what people 'think'....basheva has a point, generally speaking.<P>my life has always been structured on the basis that it's important to DO the right thing, rather than to 'appear' to do the right thing.<P>therefore i would take the view, were i in such a position, that i could do what we've talked of above ethically, i would not care one dot what anyone else 'thought'.<P>not for myself - because i know my standards.<P>but if there appeared to be a situation where paranoid people were going to misjudge either the company or the magazine, for allowing that situation, then, again, i would relinquish one or the other.<P>i think it's more important to DO the right thing than to allow appearances to rule one's behaviour.

_________________
<BR>


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: What does it take to be a "well-informed"critic?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2000 9:10 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Deep breaths everyone! This debate looks as if it could get out of hand.<P>As an indication, I would like to take part in the discussion, but consider it better not to.<P>A significant cooling of the temperature is <B>VERY</B> desirable.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: What does it take to be a "well-informed"critic?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2000 9:20 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 4725
Location: Australia
michael m - sorry - didn't see this post before, but, re this quote, it goes without saying, obviously. no-one here has suggested otherwise.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>...the point of my comment was that it is entirely<BR> irresponsible for a dance critic to have a review of a performance they have not<BR> witnessed published<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>azlan, a personal involvement is a different thing altogether, isn't it. i mean, if one was to review one's best friend's company or choreography, that would both appear to be suspect, and it might be. i guess one point i was trying to explain to michael g, is that there need be no emotional involvement in a piece of factual writing, and as such, there need be no perceived 'involvement' which could skew a review...it's the possibility of one's judgement being affected, that raises the issue of a conflict of interest. <P>- which is more likely to happen (affected judgement, that is) with a personal involvement (which includes emotions) than with a paid-task (which is a straightforward function by someone with a craft or skill with, in this case, words).<P>stuart - <BR> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>As an indication, I would like to take part in the discussion, but consider it better not to.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>~ pleased to see it happens to you, too! Image <p>[This message has been edited by grace (edited November 19, 2000).]

_________________
<BR>


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: What does it take to be a "well-informed"critic?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2000 9:42 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
For the record, I have seen a London critic leave at the second interval and review the final work, which he/she had seen earlier in the year.<p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited November 19, 2000).]


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: What does it take to be a "well-informed"critic?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2000 9:47 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Sep 17, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 26
Location: Sacramento, CA
Okay Folks, easy does it. This is just a conversation.<P>But I think that it may point out why critiques and critics are the focal point of such emotional tempests. As dancers, as artists, as human beings, we emotionally invest ourselves in our endeavors. Even if we are not entirely happy with the outcome, it is at least a small prick of a thorn to hear that others were unsatisfied. A published critic amplifies that a great deal because a) they are not always the most tactful and b) their opinions and views are broadcast to a much larger audience. The brain can rationalize all it wants that not everyone is going to be happy with a particular performance, but the heart/soul wonder what idiot couldn't find beauty in that mentioned piece of choreography (we worked so hard on it and it was PERFECT!).<P>So now my opinion…<BR>…which is that you are missing more than half the equation here. The readers/audience. Granted I focused on business applications, but EVERY writing class I have ever taken spouted the axiom, write to the audience. Which I think goes back to the question at hand, "What does it take to be a 'well-informed' critic?" My answer is it depends on the audience, and it may not even matter.<P>A dance company gives comps to a critic because they would like a published review. It is entirely a public-relations/marketing concern. Certainly a good review is to be hoped for, but the point is to draw a larger audience to the performance. This critic is writing to the public at large. Now, it can be argued that the portion of the "public at large" that is inclined to read this critic's article will be more learned than us average schmucks, but, still, we are not talking doctoral candidates in 16th Century Baltic Dance. In fact, the critic does a greater service to the dance company by writing to the level of the uninitiated, as it may turn that person into a new repeat attendee. As a dyed-in-the-wool member of the aforementioned schmucks (a Wolf in sheep’s metaphor…eeesh), a newspaper critic that can wax eloquent about Balanchine all he wants and it will not do much to draw me to the show. If I need to pull out my coffee-table version of the History of Dance (assuming I even had such a tome), to interpret a newspaper review, I’ll flip over to the movie guide. The big question is, “Will I have a good time?” This falls firmly into Azlan’s Class 2 and 3.<P>Okay, so back to “five years of experience” and being a dance veteran and whatever else. Am I saying this is all immaterial? Absolutely not. Critiques serve a purpose, but you are writing to dancers and learned appreciators of the art form. Having the book knowledge to back up an opinion is admirable, but only to those who themselves feel confident to challenge your opinion.<P>That’s enough from me.<BR>Bob/”Red”<BR><P>------------------<BR>"Learn from the Past.<BR> Prepare for the Future.<BR> Act in the Present."<BR> -the Rogue Wolf<BR>

_________________
"Learn from the Past.<BR> Prepare for the Future.<BR> Act in the Present."<BR> -the Rogue Wolf<BR>


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: What does it take to be a "well-informed"critic?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2000 10:49 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat May 27, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 1863
Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
What does everybody think of assigning hard numbers to review a ballet? For example:<P>Performance of Dancers: /20. Story: /20. Choreography: /20. Ballet Magic: /20. Sets and Costumes: /20. Rating: /100. <BR><P>------------------<BR>Michael Goldbarth

_________________
The world revolves around the beauty of the ballerina.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: What does it take to be a "well-informed"critic?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2000 10:56 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
I'm not keen Michael. I can live with a 1-5 * system as an indication what a particular critic thinks about the work overall. Anything more detailed would begin to take the art into the realms of competitive activities like ice-skating in my view.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: What does it take to be a "well-informed"critic?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2000 12:15 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 17498
Location: SF Bay Area
Stuart and Michael M, I too have witnessed at least once, maybe twice, a review by a critic not present for the performance. Also, I realized once that a critic wrote a review about a performance that did not exist; I suspect he must have written the review before the evening, as the program was changed and s/he must have come in late and missed the substitute work... Like you, I won't name names here.<p>[This message has been edited by Azlan (edited November 21, 2000).]


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: What does it take to be a "well-informed"critic?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2000 12:30 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 17498
Location: SF Bay Area
Basheva and Michael G,<P>Yes, integrity is important. Bias is poisonous and can actually lead to a disintegration of not only the media but also of the artform. There are a couple of dance critics in SF who are so blatantly biased that most of us already know what their reviews will read like beforehand. One of them even carries his running feud with a local company into reviews of other companies! This is the same critic who has been known to make up non-existent ballet terminology. I hope these two critics are reading this because they need to know that dance fans are onto them. The Bay Area dance-going community, including the rest of the media, is laughing behind their backs, a situation that is definitely <I>not</I> good for both the media and for dance. These writers need to shape up.<P>Critics can be passionate (in fact, preferably so) but they must be fair to both the performers and their readers. Anything less is a breach of trust.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: What does it take to be a "well-informed"critic?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2000 3:00 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 1999 12:01 am
Posts: 2708
Location: Seattle, WA USA
Gosh, I'm flabbergasted. We really seem to have hit a nerve with this whole critic thing! Wow! Dare I to opine?<P>Any dancer or choreographer is bound to have strong opinions, one way or another, about critics...!As far as the qualifications/behavior of critics..I have seen the whole gamut: critics falling asleep during a show,then writing a review of said show, university history professors becoming dance critics (quite good I might add!), people seemingly unqualified becoming critics, and thereby weilding a tremendous (often unknowinlgy)amount of power. Who was it that said..."There's no such thing as bad publicity"? HMMMM---agree, don't agree? I don't know? Or as Martha Graham said (presumeably after she got a bad review)"They never built a monument to a critic". <P>I'm not saying I agree or disagree with any above quotes.,,merely raise them to stimulate discussion! (AS if this topic needs stimulation--smile!)


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: What does it take to be a "well-informed"critic?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2000 3:06 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
AMEN


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: What does it take to be a "well-informed"critic?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2000 3:14 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Oct 26, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 149
Location: New York NY USA
Rogue, you have supported most of what I said in my rather lengthy posting AND you managed to bring the discussion back on track, thanks. <P>Isn't it great, this is a discussion that: a) side-tracked me completely from my writing deadlines and b) reminds me of the years I spent in Germany where people generally enjoy round-table debates. <P>I too, find Azlan's "3 versions" helpful and I think writing a review means deciding which one is relevant to the task at hand (is it for a dance magazine or a daily newspaper?) and to the readers (dance community or general public. I do feel, however, that we, as critics should try and make everything we write accessible to the "average" reader. <P>As for "conflict of interest" how can one divide oneself in two and write as two individual people when one is exactly that "one whole being"? Here's an example: I watched the premiere of a close friend's choreography, a dancer/choreographer I have worked with for years. I was so disappointed to see that his work reflected so blatantly the work of a choreographer we both worked for, that I could no longer judge the piece objectively. That is, I could surely try, but to me, watching something that looked like it was "copied" distracted me from my task at hand. All I can say is, I'm glad I wasn't the reviewer. <P>On the other hand, the actual reviewer had obviously never seen anything like this person's work and found it unique and dramatic. So how could I write program notes, watch this person's piece and then write the review I would like to have written? There would be too many conflicts of interest. Just as a person reacts to something another person has written (see this debate) by bringing his/her own personal biases in to play, so too can it happen when critiquing.<P>Just food for thought...I'll continue enjoying the discussion.<P><BR>------------------<BR>[This message has been edited by Jennifer]<BR><p>[This message has been edited by Jennifer (edited November 19, 2000).]

_________________
[This message has been edited by Jennifer]<BR>


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: What does it take to be a "well-informed"critic?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2000 4:22 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 4725
Location: Australia
jen, this is what i was saying about emotional involvement - if one is emotionally involved, one may well not be able to separate the one factual task from the other 'opinion' task - as one has an opinion or strong friendly bias, in a sense, about the person and wanting to support their work, before seeing it (not necessarily 'you' - but talking hypothetically here.)<P>but an intelligent individual CAN differentiate between fact and opinion. (please...., someone..., whoever you may be: let's not complicate this by talking about how 'facts' are perceived....i'm talking here about 'this company was formed in 1955' or 'this ballet was first choreographed by kenneth macmillan', etc...) Image<P>stuart - a clarification please? - to be crystal clear here, because it concerns me that this thread has now become a part of the literature, on the issue of 'critics who review performances they didn't see'...a quick skim of this thread would now add to the perception of some people that 'this happens', when, as i have stated above, i have never actually seen it occur in 10 years of dance writing and learning/researching about same.<P>my question is: <I>did that critic YOU mention actually REVIEW the work - OR just describe it, or mention it?</I> ....what i am getting at here, is like the business with arlene croce and bill t jones. without buying into that whole issue (PLEASE!!!! Image) THAT is often referred to as someone (famous and an important critic) "who reviewed a show she didn't see" - when in fact she did not 'review' it at all. she wrote ABOUT it, and about why she would not go to see it, or why she didn't find it appropriate to critique - but she did not review it. however i have seen this, many many times, referred to as her having written a review of a work she did not see.<P>this is a distinction i am battling hard to make in this thread, in the cause of honesty - as with michael m, who talks about someone missing a show, but also about someone (else) leaving before the end...not at all the same kettle of fish....<P>i am making a plea for fairness and honesty, for facts, rather than malicious gossip.<P>wolf - i am completely 'with' you here, which i guess is what got me angry in the first place - because the question posed by azlan is unanswerable, subjective and relative. (nevertheless, it has certainly provoked a top-rate discussion, in which azlan's contribution is especially valuable, IMO.) what does 'well-informed' mean? HOW well-informed is 'well-informed'? does it matter? why the assumption that a critic must be 'well-informed'? 'well-informed' about what? i have heard it argued that it is more important that a critic is well-informed about the craft of writing, than about their subject matter....so thanks to you for this bit!:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>"What does it take to be a 'well-informed' critic?" My answer is it<BR>depends on the audience, and it may not even matter.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P> Image

_________________
<BR>


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 74 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
The messages in this forum are posted by members of the general public and do not reflect the opinions or beliefs of CriticalDance or its staff.
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group