Choreographer Clare Byrne: Taking pleasure in the dire situation of professional dance

Dear Apollinaire and Eva, I'm jumping in late on an old trail here, so please forgive, but I'm just reading your postings "Does anyone give a damn about what we do?" and "The dire situation of professional dance writing," and they happily provoked this response in me, which I might title "taking pleasure in the dire situation of professional dance." I do not claim to be saying anything new, but … [Read more...]

Free link to dance-dies-in-America article, with more commentary

There is now a free link to Terry Teachout's article, "Ballet? Never Heard of It." Great Dance blogger Doug Fox has a response, where he analyzes the article and questions its data. And a reader, Clare Maxwell, has this comment: I wish, since he IS writing for the Wall Street Journal, Terry Teachout's excellent article had the space to take on the financial aspects of the decline of dance in … [Read more...]

Apollinaire: Holiday lists of dances you almost loved

As I have no time over the next couple of weeks to post anything substantive, I thought maybe YOU could. It used to be that people would revise their ballets. Over and over again. In his "Complete Stories of the Great Ballets," Balanchine admits to tweaking "The Nutcracker" every year. I don't know how much that's happening now, but I sure wish it would. It's so much effort to create a work in the … [Read more...]

Another cheery take on the state of dance in America

Terry Teachout, fellow Arts Journal blogger (among many other, illustrious things), has an interesting and comprehensive column in today's Wall Street Journal on the "decline and near-disappearance of dance in America." ("Today" is Saturday November 25.) . Teachout's conclusion: And therein lies the challenge of reviving dance in America: Anyone who seeks to launch a new company, or revitalize an … [Read more...]

The dirt on “underground”

Choreographer David Dorfman's self-congratulatory paean to the Weather Underground finished its run at BAM's Harvey Theater yesterday. "Underground" makes a person exclaim, "What this? I have to check my brain at the door?" Or at least a person who's not a dance critic. When choreographers present wrongheaded reductions of vexing, long-lived political questions, we critics too often give them a … [Read more...]

Odd and ends: comments from readers and a question to readers

Comment from reader Christopher Pelham of dharma road productions on Apollinaire's "How NOT to write, so Dance Will Matter": Your column really hit the nail on the head for me. I find former New York Times dance critic Jack Anderson among the most guilty, always describing literally what he thinks he saw with nary a word of context, much less analysis of what the work might or might not have … [Read more...]

A choreographer comes forward: “I have made a dance to Dylan.”

[ed. note: I received this email last night, from choreographer Janis Brenner] Someone referred me to your excellent site because of your dialogue on Tharp and Dylan. I love the whole conversation. I do want to let you know that in 1995-96 I made a work to several Dylan songs, entitled "What About Bob" (before there was a movie...), which first uses really outrageous renditions of Dylan classics … [Read more...]

Apollinaire: Sweet Dylan Suite

They say, "Dylan never talks." What the hell is there to say? That's not the reason an artist is in front of people. An artist has come for a different purpose. Maybe a self-help group -- maybe a Dr. Phil -- would say, "How you doin'?" I don't want to get harsh and say I don't care. You do care, you care in a big way, otherwise you wouldn't be there. But it's a different kind of connection. It's … [Read more...]

Eva Yaa Asantewaa: Tales of the Crypt

Apollinaire, I'm enjoying your Tales from (in and out of) the Crypt. Just a couple of thoughts to toss off before I head out of town: Prior to your discussion of blackface in "The Pharoah's Daughter," you wrote: People won't discover dance until critics express more curiosity and insight about the culture it's wedded to. Since dance isn't sealing itself off from the world, why are we? When a … [Read more...]

Rachel Howard, regular contributor to the San Francisco Chronicle, responds to “How NOT to write, So Dance Will Matter”

Re: How NOT to Write, you nail the problem--and the solution--precisely. Before a GENERAL audience wants to know what a dance looks like or even whether it was sublime or silly, they want to know why they should care. Why they should care = context, and it's what I've been aiming for and achieving only fleetingly in my own reviews lately. It's harder, of course. It takes research; it takes … [Read more...]