Clive Barnes (1927-2008), RIP
What a bright soul.
I didn't know Clive Barnes, but we smiled--he with his lovely wife, Valerie--whenever we encountered each other on the aisle, and I always read his reviews in the New York Post and his columns in Dance Magazine with delight.
He was old without ever being an old fart. Curious, never immune to enthusiasm, but no pollyanna either, he gave me faith that even a review of a couple of paragraphs could be worth the effort. Here's one of those paragraphs, about Christopher Wheeldon's "Within the Golden Hour" for the San Francisco Ballet:
The whole impression is of beautiful creatures at artless play. The choreography is brilliant but unforced, with the dancing so spontaneous that they seem like co-conspirators rather than simple performers. It's a delightful work, revealing Wheeldon at his best.
Written just weeks ago, when Barnes must have been in terrible pain.
And about Damian Woetzel at his farewell performance for New York City Ballet this spring:
Woetzel was simply magnificent, both as the cheeky World War II sailor on shore leave, then as the penitent prodigal seeking his father's forgiving embrace. He takes his leave at the peak of his form -- that perfect crossover mark between physical possibilities and artistic maturity.
Clive Barnes seemed always at the peak of his form.
He'll be much missed.
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