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 Post subject: Arlene Croce. She writes in the Dark!
PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2000 7:58 am 
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Rick Whitaker of the Washington Post reviews the book of collections of Arlene Croce's dance writings. The book, titled "Writing in the Dark, Dancing in the New Yorker" is a collection of her writings published as reviews for the New Yorker.<P>It includes the infamous Bill T. Jones article, where she was accused of "reviewing" a dance she didn't see. The piece was not a review, but an article. You can read the background on this piece, and other's in this article.<P>For those who like to collect dance books about particular dances, this may be a good one to acquire. Her other three collections are out of print.<BR> <A HREF="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A64771-2000Nov11.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A64771-2000Nov11.html</A> <p>[This message has been edited by Maggie (edited November 13, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: Arlene Croce. She writes in the Dark!
PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2000 12:44 pm 
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Thanks Maggie. For those who might be interested, we discussed the Croce Bill T Jones piece earlier in the year. It started with a thread about another critic and then moved on.<BR> <A HREF="http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum3/HTML/000098.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum3/HTML/000098.html</A> <P><BR>Then the wonderful grace found a copy of the Croce article on the web:<BR> <A HREF="http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum3/HTML/000099.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum3/HTML/000099.html</A> <p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited November 14, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: Arlene Croce. She writes in the Dark!
PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2000 1:54 pm 
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Yes, I remember. Just so you know it's included in the book.<p>[This message has been edited by Maggie (edited November 13, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: Arlene Croce. She writes in the Dark!
PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2000 2:31 pm 
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Here is an article by Lynn Garafola about the book by Arlene Croce in the Los Angeles Times, November 19th 2000:<P><A HREF="http://www.calendarlive.com/top/1,1419,L-LATimes-Search-X!ArticleDetail-11037,00.html?search_area=Articles&channel=Search" TARGET=_blank>Looking at the Dance, Writing in the Dark</A><P>


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 Post subject: Re: Arlene Croce. She writes in the Dark!
PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2000 4:34 pm 
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thanks for this, basheva. an article very much worth reading.....not just about croce, but also about dance history in modern times, dance in america (especially new york) and about criticism in general.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>"Writing in the Dark, Dancing in The New Yorker" is<BR> Croce's fourth collection of criticism. Unlike its<BR> predecessors, it spans the whole of her time at the<BR> magazine, registering the shifts and tides of a quarter of a<BR> century {up to 1996}. What is lost in depth is gained in breadth, in being<BR> able to trace the full arc of the period, its premieres,<BR> discoveries, trends and failures.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

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 Post subject: Re: Arlene Croce. She writes in the Dark!
PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2000 6:18 am 
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That overview of dance history interests me. I enjoy the idea of being able feel the times through reading about them. What gives the book this type of flavor is that the reviews, of course, were written when the dance occurred. Compiled together it gives the sense of passing through time as each event happens in a condensed manner, instead of simply looking back, as dance history books do.


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 Post subject: Re: Arlene Croce. She writes in the Dark!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2000 4:44 pm 
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just bumping this to the top, in the hope that more people will actually look at the linked article - which deserves more atention. it's really quite interesting. give it a go! Image

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 Post subject: Re: Arlene Croce. She writes in the Dark!
PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2000 4:59 am 
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well - THAT bump didn't get any response, did it?!? Image<P>here's another: a review of the book from miami herald -<BR> <A HREF="http://www.herald.com:80/content/tue/entertainment/books/digdocs/070404.htm" TARGET=_blank>http://www.herald.com:80/content/tue/entertainment/books/digdocs/070404.htm</A> <P>here's a tidbit to interest you....<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>And she is surely correct, about the horrible transformation of ballet companies<BR> into ``business companies'' and the ``disconcerting trend'' of dancers such as<BR> Stiefel to drift from company to company in order to make satisfying careers:<BR> ``When the tradition is being actively undermined by the institutions themselves,<BR> it's every man for himself.'' <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>

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 Post subject: Re: Arlene Croce. She writes in the Dark!
PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2000 5:38 am 
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It happens to all of us grace, but this Miami review is actualy a reprint of the Washington Post one at the top of the page. <P>I've only read a couple of Croce's pieces and maybe I've been unlucky that I disliked both of them. The Washington/Miami reviewer is clearly a huge fan of Croce's work, so we shouldn't expect any attempt at objectivity. <P>however, some of the article that you quote is bizarre. Actually, I'm rather pleased that companies are taking care of business - those that don't, go out of business, as we have seen recently. <P>Similarly, I am more than a little surprised about the dancers who, '..drift from company to company in order to make a satisfying career...'. Are they supposed to be bonded slaves with dissatisfyong careers?<P>


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 Post subject: Re: Arlene Croce. She writes in the Dark!
PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2000 6:15 am 
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I certainly do believe that dancers should be able to go to and fro as they desire pursuant to the contracts which they have signed.<P>However, it brings to mind a question that Natalia Makarova once asked. She wanted very much to have choreographers choreograph works for her, and wondered why they didn't do so - for the most part. One answer that I heard offered was the transient nature of her career. The same is true of Nureyev and many others who "drifted" about. <P>It seems that perhaps a choreographer that is part of a company structure creates more for the "flowers" that are in-house plants rather than those flowers that are blown about by the winds.<P>What do you think?


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 Post subject: Re: Arlene Croce. She writes in the Dark!
PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2000 6:43 am 
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ah well - i don't find that quote bizarre at all, which is obviously why i selected it ....<P>your point that unless the financial realities are taken care of, a company will not exist, is an obvious one. however, i too deplore the turning of artistic entities into little factories - businesses, more so than artistic endeavours. OK, artistic endeavours have always meant poverty.....but until a few years ago, we seemed to have a better compromise. i guess this is economic rationalism, and we are all paying....<BR> <BR>anyway, to get back to the point.....i agree with the sentiment that companies which lose tradition, their own culture, and their own style, end up homogenising everything, and all over the globe they have less to offer the world, less variety, less spirit, less personal quality. instead there is a 'product', just like any other business, or factory, which may or may not make money.<P>in this environment, the 'every man for himself' thing means audiences all over the world, may get to see individual dancers they might not have seen, or might only have seen intermittently when their 'home' company visited (for want of a better expression, though that sounds awfully sporty). but we see less the cultural product that, say, americans could experience before, when the royal ballet visited new york...<P>now they get to see wheeldon's choreography, and philip broomhead in houston (still?), etc, - and no-one can say what any individual 'ought' to do with their lives - but there is a loss of the rich impression of A culture within A company. there is, of course, no need to take an extreme stand at either end of the spectrum, suggesting personal liberties be completely sacrificed for one's country!<P>some companies APPEAR to me, from this distance, to have still managed to retain that cultural stamp - POB, NYCB? (i know there is a lot of bad feeling about recent NYCB directions, but i still get the impression that the way the dancers 'look' and their nationality - mostly american? - HAS remained identifiable and distinct?)<P>it's great to see mukhamedov, and fun to see what he did, once with the royal ballet, but mukhamedov WITH the bolshoi was an artistic whole. personally, of course he has a right to go anywhere, and we enjoy seeing both the clash and the contrasts that arise. as an artistic realisation/as an embodiment of his training and his heritage, though, seeing him with his 'home' company was often a more comfortable appropriate fit.<P>these are just examples, and may not be the best ones. just seeking to explain my choice of that quote, as it rings true for me.<p>[This message has been edited by grace (edited December 01, 2000).]

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 Post subject: Re: Arlene Croce. She writes in the Dark!
PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2000 6:19 am 
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I think that's very good, Grace. Throughout history, most ballet companies have been known by their dancers, as well as their choreographers. I can understand the "moving about" of dancers in this more globalized culture, and see good reasons and aspects of that, but it does change the traditional "feel" and atmosphere of companies now.


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 Post subject: Re: Arlene Croce. She writes in the Dark!
PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2000 7:23 am 
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I think we discussed in another thread (which I can't find) the dichotomy of globalization versus the loss of individuality of cultures. We pay a price for each - and yet, no matter the price, it has a momentum of its own. <P>When dancers from the Bolshoi dance with the Royal Ballet they enhance the Royal Ballet while at the same time diluting its intrinsic individuality. <P>We see the event, but are powerless to forestall it - even if that is what we wanted to do - and I am not sure we would agree that we wanted to do that. Hence the ambivalence toward the phenomenon.


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 Post subject: Re: Arlene Croce. She writes in the Dark!
PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2000 3:17 pm 
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good observation, well-said, basheva:<BR> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>...no matter the price, it has a momentum of its own. - - -<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>maybe it's just the example you've chosen, but when you write 'When dancers from the Bolshoi dance with the Royal Ballet they enhance the Royal Ballet while at the same time diluting its intrinsic individuality.' i recognise this as a well-expressed summation of the situation, in principle, BUT.....<P>with, for example, mukhamedov at RB: i don't think he 'enhanced the RB' - i loved watching him; there is no question he was a popular choice, he probably enhanced box office, he provided new partnership opportunities, people came in part to see the clash of ballet cultures (at least the connoisseurs do),etc etc - in other words there are many good things one can say and did say, and that the critics and audiences said - BUT<P>was that 'good for' the RB? - the RB as a historical traditional cultural entity, with its own loved, admired and respected style.<P>i can already anticipate people leaping on these words, as if by writing them i am implying that what WAS, in a 'historical' 'traditional' sense, must remain. i am not saying that. change is inevitable, but WHICH change we choose is the issue....<P>and with globalisation, this process DOES now seem unstoppable. i find this very regrettable, in that we are losing cultural values and fine expressions of them, which added interest to life and to dance.<P>we DID have a thread on this basheva, but to me, this is such a major issue, it will never be dealt with, or finished in discussion. i know i tried to stay out of that discussion because i have strong feelings on this, but also because i recognise the complexity of it, and complex issues are sometimes trivialised by board discussions, due to the nature of the medium.<P>getting back to the above scenario, if i choose what might arguably be the most unassailable model - for example, let's say darcey bussell or sylvie guillem (both universally admired in their different ways). if either of these come to the australian ballet as a guest (as they have done), that's marvellous, providing a role model and inspiration to dancers, and a thrill for audiences - BUT<P>if either came to STAY, with their phenomenally unusual abilities and their power as role models and as standard setters, i believe that within a couple of years, the australian-ness of the australian ballet would have suffered mightily.....and both australians and others appreciate the 'australian' quality of australian dancers, as indefinable as it may be.<P>the same can be said for many other countries - some much more so, of course, like the danes (an area i have no expertise to comment in).<BR>

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 Post subject: Re: Arlene Croce. She writes in the Dark!
PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2000 3:19 pm 
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please don't misinterpret! bussell's father was australian, her husband i believe is australian? you never know - maybe one day?!?????.....stranger things have happened! she would be so very welcome, and, as the scenario played out.....the above, i think, would occur...(actually, she could easily be said to have an australian quality to her dancing already, - it has also been called american by the press - but i probably risk international warfare daring to make such an odd statement! Image )

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