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 Post subject: Online Live Discussion on Dance Criticism
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2000 11:04 am 
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From our friends at Voice of Dance:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><BR>Happy National Dance Week!<BR>Join us tonight on <A HREF="http://www.voiceofdance.com" TARGET=_blank>http://www.voiceofdance.com</A> for a chat discussion on dance criticism at 7:00 p.m. pacific and 10:00 p.m. eastern. Read Sheryl Flatow's controversial article <A HREF="http://voiceofdance.com/Insights/insights.trans.sheryl.flatow.html" TARGET=_blank>http://voiceofdance.com/Insights/insights.trans.sheryl.flatow.html</A> and join us to discuss!<P>Enter chat: <A HREF="http://www.voiceofdance.org:90/eshare/server?action=4" TARGET=_blank>http://www.voiceofdance.org:90/eshare/server?action=4</A> <P><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><p>[This message has been edited by Azlan (edited April 24, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: Online Live Discussion on Dance Criticism
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2000 3:49 pm 
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this article is LONG - and *VERY* WORTHWHILE reading. <P>i certainly don't agree with all of it - and i'd love to join in the discussion, but i have some kind of access problem with that site...which i'll try to work out today...<P>but, please read that article if you are at all interested in dance criticism: it's VERY VERY GOOD! Image

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 Post subject: Re: Online Live Discussion on Dance Criticism
PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2000 8:25 pm 
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Well, the chat was not quite up to par with the article by Sheryl Flatow. Interesting issues were raised however and should be reviewed by anyone concerned about dance. I will make available the link to the transcript once it is up.


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 Post subject: Re: Online Live Discussion on Dance Criticism
PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2000 5:22 am 
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thanks azlan, that would be good.<P>obviously, i missed it! Image

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 Post subject: Re: Online Live Discussion on Dance Criticism
PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2000 7:41 am 
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Managed to get through some of it, will finish and have a few words to say, with time. I think the subject is well worth debating, with excellent points raised.


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 Post subject: Re: Online Live Discussion on Dance Criticism
PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2000 1:28 am 
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Finished. <BR>Oh, god I could say so much about this.<BR>I think the fundamental thing here is that we must never forget, readers and writers, that it is just one persons opinion.<BR>We need a reality check on both sides.<BR>Dance critics must walk a fine line between giving reponsible and interesting criticism and avoiding perpetuating industry propaganda.<BR>Also, we are dealing with human nature here and Ego's on both sides.<BR>It would be good for creators to understand certain realities of journalism and not to confuse the publication with the press office. <BR>At the same time, more thought on the part of some critics concerning their real reponsibility and consequence of their words, could go a long way. Also, never negate without explanation (justification?).<BR>The comparison with other forms of journalism like sport is right on and I think we have something to learn from this.<BR>I believe without doubt that the majority of critics are writing because of a genuine love of the metier (in most cases it's certainly not for the money), but very often humans can be completely unconscious of the bigger picture.<BR>This syndrome is certainly not unique to dance, but it can become prevalent.<BR>Forums like this help.


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 Post subject: Re: Online Live Discussion on Dance Criticism
PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2000 4:20 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
You're right Michael, where to start? Without writing at a similar length to the article itself I shall pick up on merely a few aspects. Fundamentally, I have a lot of sympathy for Flatow's views. For one thing the article provides an opportunity for a range of dance creators to respond to the comments and the manner of the comments of US critics. I have the impression that the situation is different here in the UK, where extremely negative views on a majority of ballet and dance are uncommon.<P>One exception to this is the London newspaper, 'The Evening Standard'. This mood seems to have been started by their Fine Art critic Brian Sewell, who prompted me to define the 'Sewell Syndrome', where a critic hates 80% of what they see, has severe reservations about a further 15% and actually enjoys 5%. Such writing is often eminently readable and Sewell's column inches are probably greater than any other critic in the country and he has now also moved into other areas of journalism. I hope that this can be a permanent move. <P>The 'Evening Standard' dance critic, Anne Sacks, has unfortunately taken a similar stance and went through a period where she was vitriolic about virtually every performance by the Royal Ballet. However, the nature of her attacks and their frequent inaccuracies have meant that it is her reputation rather than that of the Royal that has suffered. <P>The style of criticism that Flatow espouses is best illustrated in the UK by critics such as Judith Mackrell and Donald Hutera. They clearly derive a lot of pleasure from dance and when they do not enjoy a work they feel honour bound to explain the reasons and perhaps draw attention to the aspects of the works that do deserve praise - the dancing or certain segments, whatever. <P>I am pleased that the style of criticism in this country is fundamentally dance and dancer friendly, while criticising constructively when appropriate. I do think that we have an advantage in not having such a dominant figure as Balanchine, whose death has sent shock waves through the system that sometimes seem to be impeeding the development of ballet in the US. <BR>Interestingly, a number of US critics have elevated Ashton to a similar position and denigrate MacMillan, whereas my impression is that the majority of the UK critics and public see Ashton and MacMillan in the same category and a number of us prefer to see MacMillan.<P>I do agree with your point Michael about the subjectivity of dance reviewing. Apart from Fine Art I am not aware of another art form where there is such wide disagreement by professionals about individual works or performances. One critic can say that they '..wished it had gone on all night.' And another left at the interval. A case in point is Judith Mackrell, who enjoyed a performance of 4 solos from Ricochet that I and my friends, who work in dance, thought distinctly unappealing. <P>In the light of this, I do believe that critics should avoid easy, sharp, sarcastic comments against choreographers and, even more, dancers. Especially given the often-appalling working conditions and risk of injury that performers expose themselves to on our behalf. <P>It was a desire to move away from an agenda driven, vitriolic style of comment and criticism that was one of the main drivers for the creation of criticaldance. <BR> <P>


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 Post subject: Re: Online Live Discussion on Dance Criticism
PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2000 4:53 am 
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"Oh, god I could say so much about this."<P>no, that's not an echo...it's just ME, who has been encouraging everyone to read flatow's article, not knowing where to begin!<P>i also couldn't agree MORE with michael's statements about "avoiding perpetuating industry propaganda." and "It would be good for creators ... not to confuse the publication with the press office."<P>i won't comment more, until i've re-read it...

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 Post subject: Re: Online Live Discussion on Dance Criticism
PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2000 8:27 pm 
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another deep and meaningful (i.e. LONG!) article on this subject:<BR> <A HREF="http://www.britannica.com/bcom/magazine/article/0,5744,82991,00.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.britannica.com/bcom/magazine/article/0,5744,82991,00.html</A> <P>thanks to voice of dance

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 Post subject: Re: Online Live Discussion on Dance Criticism
PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2000 8:30 pm 
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aargh! too much, too much! stop now!<P>another one: <A HREF="http://www.csulb.edu/~jvancamp/article5.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.csulb.edu/~jvancamp/article5.html</A> <P>by julie van camp, again: thanks to voiceofdance.

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 Post subject: Re: Online Live Discussion on Dance Criticism
PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2000 11:33 pm 
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Here is the link to the Voice of Dance transcript:<P> <A HREF="http://www.voiceofdance.com/Insights/vchat.global.trans.cfm?ChatSchedule_ID=4000000000000009" TARGET=_blank>http://www.voiceofdance.com/Insights/vchat.global.trans.cfm?<BR>ChatSchedule_ID=4000000000000009</A> <p>[This message has been edited by grace (edited May 28, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: Online Live Discussion on Dance Criticism
PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2000 1:17 am 
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OK i had a read - thanks azlan, as you know i couldn't get to the chat at the time it happened. the discussion is much more superficial than the written articles. i still haven't really digested the two articles!!! there's a lot in there - so much that its hard to say ANYTHING.

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 Post subject: Re: Online Live Discussion on Dance Criticism
PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2000 12:00 pm 
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I am sympathetic for the most part like Michael, to Ms. Flatow's article. There are critics, it seems, and critics. The days of Dorothy Parker's intelligent and acerbic wit balancing the writing are gone I suppose. Balanchine's analogy of the little dog regarding certain critics is on the mark and shows that there are no redeeming qualities in their vitriolic writings. As Michael said above, there needs to be qualifying, and redeeming comments included with less than glowing criticisms of dance. <BR>The type of critics that Ms Flatow is upset about (and I don't think she is being oversensitive here) are professional arts critics that are condemned to have an opinion about everything. As a result, they tire of the subject and create a barrier of professional prejudices.<BR>I would enjoy knowing what it is that keeps the other critics from succombing to this affliction. <p>[This message has been edited by Maggie (edited May 28, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: Online Live Discussion on Dance Criticism
PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2000 1:57 pm 
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An insatiable lust for the truth <BR>- an increasingly cheap commodity these days.<P>Do we have to spin everything?<P>Is there a place for integrity in the world we are creating?


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 Post subject: Re: Online Live Discussion on Dance Criticism
PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2000 4:37 pm 
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michael: great questions!<P>maggie: i LOVE this bit: "condemned to have an opinion about everything" - god, i KNOW that feeling!!! it IS a burden, to HAVE TO have an opinion, especially within 12 hours or less - mercifully i never have to do any reviews that fast, as i write mainly for a magazine that only comes out every 2 months, so usually i take at least 3 days to digest what i've seen (a luxury).<P>but i do get SO tired of my own opinion! and of going to performances, knowing that i HAVE to come up with one!<P>of course, there ARE ways round this... often, one finds it best to be as descriptive as possible, avoiding judgemental/assessment type statements. i do this especially if i really find something a waste of time...thus allowing the reader to make up their own minds, whether maybe THEY would have liked it, even if it's not MY scene.<P>glad to be able to engage in some discussion on this - i found it SO hard to know how to BEGIN, with these very valuable articles. Image

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