Deborah Jowitt

A brief word about her. As dance lovers already know, she was fired from her staff position as senior dance critic of the Village Voice, which seems to take a special glee in leading the feral pack of magazines and newspapers trying to save a pittance by decimating their arts staffs. Bob Christgau was the first big name critic to go (he may now see himself as having been liberated), and now Jowitt. Both were the leaders of their particular packs, Bob of rock criticism, Deborah of dance criticism.

But dance criticism of a certain type, and here's where it gets more fraught. We live in a time in which the century-long tension between ballet and modern dance is being redefined in terms of ballet, with modern dance ("contemporary dance") relegated to ignored irrelevance or to a source for ballet choreography, usually dismissed when it happens. Jowitt knows ballet; she knows all of dance. But partly perhaps because that was her mandate at the Voice, she was the champion of the downtown New York modern-dance world, its spokesman and its conscience. Some people complained that she was too kind, falling back on description when she feared her judgments might seem too harsh. Yet her descriptions were so tactile, so apt, that they constituted a form of judgment all by themselves.

Apparently the Voice has offered her her old spot, but on a freelance basis. I haven't talked with her, but it will be interesting to see what she does. Will she turn elsewhere, her pride preventing her from doing the same job for less, and thus maybe shift her attention a little more uptown? Or will she feel an obligation to the community she has served so long and so well? There is no "right" choice here, and her voice will be heard wherever she writes, in print or on line. The pity is that the Voice put her -- and dance itself -- in this position in the first place.  

April 3, 2008 5:02 PM | | Comments (0)

Leave a comment

Blogroll

For an ongoing conversation and news reports about arts journalism, go to the blog of the National Arts Journalism Program, here.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by John Rockwell published on April 3, 2008 5:02 PM.

The Disappearing Divide was the previous entry in this blog.

Link to Levine is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

AJ Ads


AJ Blogs

AJBlogCentral | rss

culture
About Last Night
Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
Artful Manager
Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
blog riley
rock culture approximately
critical difference
Laura Collins-Hughes on arts, culture and coverage
Dewey21C
Richard Kessler on arts education
diacritical
Douglas McLennan's blog
Dog Days
Dalouge Smith advocates for the Arts
Flyover
Art from the American Outback
Life's a Pitch
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
Mind the Gap
No genre is the new genre
Performance Monkey
David Jays on theatre and dance
Plain English
Paul Levy measures the Angles
Real Clear Arts
Judith H. Dobrzynski on Culture
Rockwell Matters
John Rockwell on the arts
Straight Up |
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude

dance
Foot in Mouth
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
Seeing Things
Tobi Tobias on dance et al...

jazz
Jazz Beyond Jazz
Howard Mandel's freelance Urban Improvisation
ListenGood
Focus on New Orleans. Jazz and Other Sounds
Rifftides
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...

media
Out There
Jeff Weinstein's Cultural Mixology
Serious Popcorn
Martha Bayles on Film...

classical music
Creative Destruction
Fresh ideas on building arts communities
The Future of Classical Music?
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
On the Record
Exploring Orchestras w/ Henry Fogel
Overflow
Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
PianoMorphosis
Bruce Brubaker on all things Piano
PostClassic
Kyle Gann on music after the fact
Sandow
Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Slipped Disc
Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds

publishing
book/daddy
Jerome Weeks on Books
Quick Study
Scott McLemee on books, ideas & trash-culture ephemera

theatre
Drama Queen
Wendy Rosenfield: covering drama, onstage and off
lies like truth
Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world

visual
Aesthetic Grounds
Public Art, Public Space
Another Bouncing Ball
Regina Hackett takes her Art To Go
Artopia
John Perreault's art diary
CultureGrrl
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary
Modern Art Notes
Tyler Green's modern & contemporary art blog
Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.