“The Death of the American Dance Critic”

Miss Kirsten over on Setting the Barre recently published this post full of fascinating reads and views for dance aficionados here online. While I have yet to explore all of the links in between company rehearsals and tasks of ‘adulting’, (Ballet Palm Beach just began its third week and I am so happy but with so little time!), I would like to direct your attention to one link in particular: The Death of the American Dance Critic.

This article covers all to do with its title, as well as a few well-stated opinions of the author. A wonderful read that you should all partake in, lovely readers. And of course, let me know what you have to think about it as well!

I think the article makes a lot of valid points about the state of dance in media, and the lack thereof. Ballet especially is regarded as too otherworldly for most people in our society, and too untouchable? But why? Is dance really too hard to understand? Too old? People who want to feel cultured go to art museums, concerts, musicals, operas, so why not ballets?

I distinctly remember a time when I only a few years into ballet. My teacher, the artistic director of the school, was giving one of her many speeches (she really loved to give those, still does, but I always loved them). She told us that even if we stopped dancing it didn’t mean we had to leave dance. She told us to write about dance, because not enough people were writing about it. People writing about dance gets others interested, excited, and keeps dance prominent in the world. I remember thinking that it was a good idea. I’ll be a professional ballerina, and then I’ll become a dance critic, a dance journalist, and write about it!

Actually, I still think this is a good idea. After dancing, I want to stay connected to the dance world. Sure I could teach, but just because I can dance doesn’t mean I would be a good teacher. Coaching, I think would suit me better. Choreographing? Right now I couldn’t see myself doing that. But after reading that article (and writing this blog for awhile!) I remember this other option. How wonderful would it be to spend my time after the stage watching other performances for a living? Writing and sharing ideas to cultivate more interest among the general population?

In other countries, which have an older history with dance, this death of critics might not be so much of an issue, but it is here in good ol’ ‘Merica. I, for one, do not want to let the American Dance Critic die. I want newspapers and magazines to once again talk about the art form as much as they talk about a celebrity’s butt. I want to bring the discussion back. I can do my part blogging, but maybe someday when I give my last bow, I’ll write, and write, and write even more. And hopefully, if the media catches on, I will get published too.

Go ahead, give the article a read. What do you think? Add to the discussion!

Your Friendly Neighborhood Ballerina-to-Be


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