to you by
New York manufacturer of fine dance apparel for women
and girls. Click here to see a sample of our products and a
list of web sites for purchasing.
With Body Wrappers it's always performance at its best.
Response, 6-27: Critics Cornered, 6
Artist to Audience to Critic to Reader
Copyright 2006 Andrew Simonet
Here's my response to
Maura Nguyen Donohue's
final missive in her recent Flash
Dialogue with Paul
Ben-Itzak, in which she writes "We are not objective observers.
It is simply opinion we are presenting."
I was struck in the
Tere O'Connor brouhaha
that the critics felt he was trying to control what they write.
Not at all. Artist to audience to critic to reader is a series of
conversations. Tere wants to shift the conversation. He wants new
language, new goals, new base assumptions, new rhythms. But most
off us critics have a conversation (or two) that we are firmly planted
in. We can be scared or even incapable of learning new points of
reference. And the critics who claim they want neutrality are disingenuous.
No one enters a dance performance neutrally, least of all a paid
professional critic. The best critics (in any form) are flexible
and can sense shifts in the artistic conversation when they come
along. Still, it's telling that most of the critics we still read
we read for one period, one conversation. It's hard even to begin
discussing Tere's work when your syntax is Bill T. Jones (let alone
There are many dances
that are simply inarticulate (including dances that I make). It's
a fact of artistic existence. They add nothing to the conversation.
They fail to speak. So then the critic is trying to have a conversation
with a dance that refuses to say anything. It's awkward, uncomfortable,
and when it happens over and over, infuriating. It's a great insight
to write, as Maura does eloquently, about that moment. And we should
certainly indict dance that is trite, reassuring, imitative. That
is, you don't need to be a fan of the choreographer's aesthetic
to write usefully about her. Just join the conversation. And if
the dance isn't speaking, say that plainly. It doesn't sound to
me (though I haven't seen the piece) that Maura is missing the aesthetic,
lost in the conversation. She sounds pissed about landing in a conversation
she thinks is shallow and repetitive. She's sick of it. And that's
a great voice to have in the conversation.