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Flash Response, 8-6: Tobias Tossed
More Calls to Action, and Responses

(Editor's note: Following New York Magazine's decision to cease publishing dance criticism and terminate its contract with veteran critic Tobi Tobias, you have been busy writing the magazine's editor, Caroline Miller; sending your responses directly to us; and sending more calls to action to the dance world. Following are, in order, a statement from Francis Mason, editor of Ballet Review and dance commentator on WQXR; letters from leading dance publicist Ellen Jacobs and dance educator and company director Maida Withers; and a call to action from Robert Yesselman of Dance/NYC.)


New York City has been the dance capital of the world since the 1960s. NEW YORK magazine soon after it started realized this and appointed in 1980 Tobi Tobias to be its dance critic. She has done a superb job all these years, is at the peak of her powers and helps to keep the dance flame alight. If NEW YORK magazine wishes to turn its back on dance it is is turning its back on New York.

Francis Mason


1 August 2002

Dear Caroline:

It came as a shock that New York Magazine has decided to abolish its dance column, particularly a magazine that purports to cover the city culturally as well as politically. For such a sophisticated publication not to have regular coverage of an art form whose vibrant creativity so characterizes this city makes no sense. New York City is renowned as the dance capital of the world; it is the Mecca where all major ballet and modern dance companies aspire to perform, They come here from all over the world to test their mettle, knowing that we have the most discerning and sophisticated audiences and critics, among whom Tobi Tobias is a standout. She is widely read and fervently discussed by the city's culturally aware, as well by the field itself.

I know that you love dance, and that it was probably a difficult decision on your part. However, I ask that you reconsider the consequences of a blackout on dance coverage by one of our most culturally defining publications.

Thank you for your consideration.

Warm wishes,

Ellen


Dear Ms. Miller:

Please reconsider your decision to eliminate dance criticism as an on-going part of your magazine.

Although I do not live in New York, I read your publication and use the dance articles there as required reading by university students. In Washington, DC...We continue, at this time, to look to New York City for sound leadership/authorship in dance criticism.

Tobi is an excellent writer. Please reconsider your decision.

Maida Withers
Director, Maida Withers Dance Construction Company
Professor, The George Washington University


ACTION ALERT

Further to our alert of Wednesday concerning New York Magazine ending its dance coverage, I have consulted with several people in the media as to what steps we, as a community, can take to let New York Magazine know how we feel about their decision. Dance/NYC is, therefore, urging all members of the dance community to email Caroline Miller, Editor-in-Chief of New York Magazine at Caroline_Miller@newyorkmag.com.

The point of your letter should not be the effect that this move will have on your own company or career, but rather that for a magazine called "New York," known world-wide for its coverage of the cultural scene in NYC, to ignore dance in the dance capital of the world makes no sense....

It is also important that you ask members of your boards, friends and colleagues outside the dance community to write. I will be in touch with other organizations, outside the dance community, to start their memberships writing as well. What they have done to dance, they can also do to music, or theater, or whatever.

Whether you have liked Tobi's criticism or not is not the issue -- the issue is dance coverage in the dance capital of the world. The more voices the magazine hears, the more possibility for a reinstatement. Please cc me on your letters -- it will be very useful to us for gauging response and sentiment.

Robert Yesselman, Director
Dance/NYC

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