Apollinaire responds to Eva’s “The Night Juliette Mapp Broke My Heart” (the post just below)

Part of the freelance life is to get knocked around from publication to publication. The budgets wax and wane, new editors arrive with their own ideas of what and who they want, and off we go on our next scavenge.
I’ve had this happen a few times–as a matter of fact, I’m having it happen right now at Newsday, where the freelance fine arts budget has recently drastically shrunk. But there’s an extra problem for dance writers, as Eva notes: there just aren’t that many places to go. And less every day. As Eva points out, blogging isn’t a viable alternative because it doesn’t pay.
I think the temptation in such dire circumstances is to look around for support from someone, please, and be struck hard by how little there is: from the newspapers, the editors, the silent readers, the choreographers, who too often want to know what you can do for them and don’t notice that whatever you can do depends on loving dance more than you love the people who make it (at least in your capacity as reviewer, anyway).
So, yeah, this is a lonely vocation.
But I think you’ve begun to suggest the solution, Eva, in the way you’ve laid out the problem. There’s something wrong with the ecology of dance when a review so wounds a choreographer that she makes a piece about it, and when in turn that dance breaks a critic’s heart. The choreographer has forgotten the audience members who are not part of the scene; the reviewer isn’t thinking of all the people whom her colleague’s ambivalent review entertained and informed.
If the review didn’t engage anyone outside of the dance “community”– the mutually contemptuous cliques that make it up–we’re in trouble.
The only power we writers have to change the impoverished situation of dance is in our writing. In the next post–to appear in a couple days–I will suggest some problems with the standard approach to dance reviewing in the daily and weekly press, and propose some solutions. These new and improved reviews may not compel dancemakers to clamor for more, but they might get readers curious enough to venture to the theater. And that’s what matters.
[ed. note: For those of you wishing we’d hurry up and get back to fairy tales–for which great questions from reader and dance videographer Amy Reusch and a brilliant prĂ©cis from Paul Parish warmed us up–it will happen. I probably shouldn’t have promised the topic in advance–a liability, I’ve discovered, in blogland. But I haven’t forgotten.]

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