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Reviewers are not always qualified.
http://www.ballet-dance.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=23514
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Author:  Matthew [ Mon Jun 06, 2005 4:11 pm ]
Post subject: 

Perhaps some of the conflict here stems from understanding what the role of an art critic should entail. For me, an art critic acts as a translator - someone who hopefully has more experience than me in interpreting the vocabulary of dance and points me in the right direction. They might have a better grasp of the technical aspects of a performance , they likely have more experience seeing different performances and dancers than I do, and may indeed have a much solider foundation to make a judgement of a quality of a performance than I do. Whether or not they need a sensitivity of soul to do this - well I doubt that, but at least they need to have a love of dance.

Author:  touche [ Fri Jun 10, 2005 12:59 am ]
Post subject:  You have it right. Thanks!

[size=18]You have it exactly right. Thanks![/size]
Quote:
For me, an art critic acts as a translator - someone who hopefully has more experience than me in interpreting the vocabulary of dance and points me in the right direction
.

The better the translation...the more enjoyable the entire theatrical evening becomes! This running commentary is not about being a critic of the critic's. It is simply asking anyone who claims to be a qualified critic to bring us back inside a performance, then we might relive it again with greater understanding. A shallow critique without any insight into the content of a piece or a choreographers intentions may cause an otherwise decent company to struggle. A more competent reviewer may help small dance companies to thrive. I can't imagine how difficult it must to to bear up under writing that is intentionally unkind. It certainly may deflat the box office, and deflat it without merit. We all lose when a company goes under due to bad writing.

Thanks again.

Author:  hubris [ Wed Jun 15, 2005 6:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Dear Shallot

shallot wrote:
"Dance is best understood by the most sensitive, and scholarly of humanity. " Such arrogance is appalling...honestly.



why?! I am a professional ballet dancer and I don't get half the BS that choreographers put out there to "say" something. And then you have the likes of Balanshine and Morris whose use of line and pattern could of course be seen by anyone who takes the time and thought to appreciate the beauty but largely that is the class who appreciate art in the first place, and are they not by a large the more sensitive and intellectual of the population. Hubris? maybe, but wrong? not really

:)

The population as a whole can't differentiate between the line of a turned out standing leg and a turned in one as is seen by the accolades NYCB gets. They do get that a break dancer can turn 5 times on his head and that is hard and mad cool. WHo the hell cares about the difficulty of such a subtle thing as correct techinique?

forgive me for not clearing up my thoughts here. I am tired and just did a little stream of conscious writing brought on by the quote above.

Author:  what is dance? [ Tue Jun 21, 2005 6:51 am ]
Post subject: 

a lot of these points have been covered but i feel so strongly i have to reiterate. Please excuse my lack of proper quoting-not much time!

'Their shallow pessimist reviews do nothing to improve the understanding or give a new perspective to an audience about a performance. A viewer must have acute intellectual acumen to witness a dance performance'

Let me understand this...the writer personally knows all who have read the review(s) in question and can therefore make this statement based on fact? Furthermore, apologies to those poor people who's work and motivation is geared towards opening access to dance and viewing dance...according to the writer here those old boundaries that you have been trying to break are still in play.

'Many dances need to be seen twice to truly understand what is taking place on stage.'

Oh dear, well bang goes the repute of thosands of reviews. You are forgetting that many critics do not have the time to view pieces more than once and that obviously some performances do not occur more than once. It would be prudent to suggest that this is the case and degrading to a majority of the populations intellect and understanding of dance.

'To a thinking mind Petrushka was one of the most imaginative, creative and intelligent productions done on a ballet stage'

As someone has stated not everyone agreed and that is true, furthermore you hit the point on the head by writing in the past tense....'Petrushka was...' it may have been in its day but we are in the age of post-modernism and new dance, maybe to a younger generation this holds lesser bearing now. Im not saying that this is neccessarily correct or the way it should be; they cant help it its the way life goes. I am a strong believer in keeping the ballet tradition alive however also realise that not everyone has the same opinion...not everyone will have the same opinion as the statement above however this doesn't mean they are a lesser thinker.

and finally...

'To read the recent Chronicle review it sound as if the reviewer has only attended 2 or 3 ballets ever.' 'This particular review mentioned nothing about the dance itself. Almost as if they had not been there...Art, ticket sales, and peoples personal careers should not be affected by the words of one reviewer.'

This is a very interesting point...one which i have great interest in. It would be worth noting your opinions on Arlene Croce's review of Bill T. Jones 'Still-here'. An acclaimed critic with a high reputation those who do not know, Croce wrote the review without seeing the piece outwardly acknowledging that fact...was this to the detriment of Bill T. Jones or her integrity as a critic? Ill leave you to assess that one...

Author:  osiris661 [ Fri Jun 24, 2005 5:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Dear Shallot

shallot wrote:
"Dance is best understood by the most sensitive, and scholarly of humanity. " Such arrogance is appalling...honestly.


:shock: :?
Uuummmm, first of all your statement is a matter of opinion and we all have different opinions, that is what is so great about the arts, we can express them through whatever artistic medium we like.
Second of all, what do you mean by the most scholarly of humanity? People who are above average in intelligence? People who have studied different topics more than others? People who have more natural talent than others. If so, this is an extremely dangerous way of thinking, and one that will greatly limit your own interpretations of what you choose to experience in dance. I know of many people that feel the same way as you, like dance is something that only the aristocracy can understand and enjoy, or unless you have a certain set of moral values and background/education you just won't get it. VERY SAD INDEED.
For what it is worth, here is my opinion :wink: .
Dance is best understood by all human beings who want to experience artistic expression through body movement. It is one of the most primal instincts that we all posses, old, young, rich, poor, whatever, and it does not mater what your education, background, understanding of technique, use of vocabulary or any other elitest point of view you want to list. Artistic interpretations and critiques are different from person to person because we all have different influences in our lives.

shallot wrote:
Such arrogance is appalling...honestly.


Such Arrogance is Appalling you say, rrrrrright, I have never experienced any arrogant words or phrases from artists I have worked with over the years < / sarcasm >

OK, so this is off topic, WHEN IS CD GETTING SPELL CHECK???? I don't feel very scholarly without spell check :wink:

Author:  djb [ Fri Jun 24, 2005 11:51 pm ]
Post subject: 

Croce didn't actually review the dance; rather, she wrote a piece of dance criticism about why she wasn't going to review the dance. Read for yourselves:

Discussing the Undiscussable by Arlene Croce

Author:  touche [ Sat Jun 25, 2005 4:16 pm ]
Post subject: 

Quote:
This is a very interesting point...one which i have great interest in. It would be worth noting your opinions on Arlene Croce's review of Bill T. Jones 'Still-here'. An acclaimed critic with a high reputation those who do not know, Croce wrote the review without seeing the piece outwardly acknowledging that fact...was this to the detriment of Bill T. Jones or her integrity as a critic? Ill leave you to assess that one


Arlene Croce's reviews are tough. I do think if she intends to say something horrible she should have at least been there. Don't you?
Dancers work hard. It is a very expensive art to pull off. I love reading reviews however sometimes when they cross the line...I think it only fair that the critic be subject to criticism themselves. Don't cha think???

Author:  touche [ Sat Jun 25, 2005 4:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Azlan

Quote:
[For the record, I liked both works by the Kabaniaev twins. One was direct and honest. The other was creative and promoted the qualities of the dancers.


They both have incredible dance histories with previous careers at the untouchable Kirov and the extra-ordinary contemporary Eifman Ballet. They studied with the finest Russian classical dance teachers in then "COMMUNIST RUSSIA"> They are different and unique. They are working in suburbia...not the heart of Paris. The bay area is lucky to claim their talents; both of them. It would be sad if they left for a more cosmopolitian setting due to shallow reviewers and therefore low turnout and ticket sales. I expect their works will go on, however, I doubt that the 2 current reviewers at the Chronicle will be remembered at all. The Kabanaiev twins will leave their mark but I expect many people will say "Who?" a couple of years from now when you mention the names of the current crop of Chronicle reviewers.
With the advent of video tape and film luckily dance art may now outlive the audience and the fallow critic. Thank goodness for history.

Author:  touche [ Sat Jun 25, 2005 4:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Twice

Quote:
'Many dances need to be seen twice to truly understand what is taking place on stage.'

Oh dear, well bang goes the repute of thosands of reviews. You are forgetting that many critics do not have the time to view pieces more than once and that obviously some performances do not occur more than once. It would be prudent to suggest that this is the case and degrading to a majority of the populations intellect and understanding of dance


You are correct that it should only take one time to see a performance and gain some insight and respect for a piece. I do have to say that when I like something I go to see it as many as 3 or 4 times. You can't see anything at all with just one look. Not a painting, not a person....
Life is deep, Art is deep, People are deep.... Everything goes further than one glance...dance is for people who look deeper, at least if they want to truly understand it. N. Kabanaievs contemporary vision of Petruska said much much more than the reviewer touched on. The reviewer didn't get it; of that I am certain.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sat Jun 25, 2005 4:53 pm ]
Post subject: 

Re-reading the Croce piece, I had the same impression as the first time: she opines why "Still/Here" doesn't work as an art artifact and that is reviewing it without having seen it. She actually reviewed an imaginary work - ""Still/Here, as Arlene Croce thinks it is."

Croce certainly had the knowledge and the eloquence to be "qualified" to review. In this article it appears to be the arrogance that you can know what a work will be like without seeing it that undermined her and made her unqualified to write a viable article on this theme. Worse still, she uses her review of an imaginary work as a foundation for a critique of a an entire genre. Thus, I believe she had disqualified herself from discussing "Still/Here" and its ramifications. Whether she deserved losing her job on the strength of this error is another matter.

One point in the article's favour - it is probably the most discussed in the history of dance criticism. Or as one anonymous wrier put it: "If a critic's job is to fan the flames of debate, the firestorm that followed Croce's essay proves she did hers right."

Author:  touche [ Sat Jun 25, 2005 4:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Dear Shallot

Quote:
The population as a whole can't differentiate between the line of a turned out standing leg and a turned in one as is seen by the accolades NYCB gets. They do get that a break dancer can turn 5 times on his head and that is hard and mad cool. WHo the hell cares about the difficulty of such a subtle thing as correct techinique?

forgive me for not clearing up my thoughts here. I am tired and just did a little stream of conscious writing brought on by the quote above.
[/quote]

Some people do care about the subtle differences in a pointed toe or an attempt at it; a perfectly positioned plie, or an off balance mistake. That is what critic can bring up if they have the expertise. Break dancers are way cool, but I don't think an audience, as of yet would pay $30-$75 a ticket to watch break dance antics for a full hour with an intermission..maybe in the future. Ballet, and its sister, modern dance are fine art. It is possible that those who appreciate break dancing may not appreciate ballet, and vise versa...then there are those who would love both. I am in that audience and apparently so are you. So who cares about the critics anyway. Might as well make up our own minds.

Author:  Azlan [ Tue Jun 28, 2005 7:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Dear Shallot

touche wrote:
Some people do care about the subtle differences in a pointed toe or an attempt at it; a perfectly positioned plie, or an off balance mistake.


I am of the opinion that educating the audience is a responsibility of all critics but one which many, especially MWS in the SF Bay Area, has shirked.

Author:  Andre Yew [ Tue Jun 28, 2005 11:23 pm ]
Post subject: 

touche wrote:
Break dancers are way cool, but I don't think an audience, as of yet would pay $30-$75 a ticket to watch break dance antics for a full hour with an intermission..maybe in the future.


I paid about $45 to see Australian Dance Theatre's Birdbrain, which uses hip-hop and breakdancing extensively, and would gladly pay more to see it again, especially considering the really bad ballet and modern dance I paid from $50 to nearly $100 to see in the past few months.

--Andre

Author:  djb [ Wed Jun 29, 2005 2:45 am ]
Post subject: 

touche wrote:
Break dancers are way cool, but I don't think an audience, as of yet would pay $30-$75 a ticket to watch break dance antics for a full hour with an intermission..maybe in the future. Ballet, and its sister, modern dance are fine art.


"Antics" means "amusing, silly or strange behavior." I don't see how break dancing qualifies as amusing, silly or strange behavior any more than ballet does.

Author:  shallot [ Wed Jun 29, 2005 12:39 pm ]
Post subject: 

I agree with djb...where do you get the idea that "antics" describe the movements of Break Dancers, touche? Have you attended a street session and watched the incredible athleticism and personal expression involved in this particular art form?

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