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Dance as Ever performancesSept 18-21, 2003

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#16 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 24 September 2003 - 11:40 PM

believing he is capable of reaching a deeper level, is graciously inviting him there.

I'm breaking my own admonition to enter this thread again and I apologize, but since it's so infrequent that people are on both sides of the fence (writing/being written about) I thought Carbro's quote deserved discussion.

In another discussion on dance writing Nanatchka said emphatically that an essay is a dialogue between the author and the reader and audience. She's absolutely right. It isn't a dialogue with the artist, and there's barely any point in that. Aloff is telling you what she sees in my work, both good and bad and what she would like to see. I happened to read it, so I can take her comments or leave them (and I appreciate that they're quite supportive), but I know what I want to make and I know what I thought of my work. The comments are meant for you, the reader. I think Aloff is wise enough to understand this as well.

#17 Alexandra


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Posted 25 September 2003 - 05:41 AM

Leigh, thank you for that comment -- it's very beautifully put and (from a critic's point of view) right on.

I'm interested to read all comments, pro and con -- thanks to everyone who has contributed to the discussion. People read reviews differently and want different things from them -- just as we all see what's on stage differently. Some people want a review to be reportage -- no theory, nothing except what's on the stage. I think there's a place for those kinds of reviews -- that's what newspapers generally do. Some writers want to write about themselves -- "I had a nervous breakdown this morning, my car had a flat on the way to the concert, my spouse left me and I'm just getting over a bout of food poisoning. But none of that prepared me for....." or "Leigh's concert reminded me of the lovely month I spent in the Hampshires" or something of that kind. That kind, I don't print :wink:

What I look for in a writer is someone who cares as much about choreography as about dancers, someone who can see a company for what it is -- not constantly compare it, in his/her mind's eye, to a favorite or home company and dismiss anything that's different as "bad" -- and someone with a broad world view who can put what they're watching in context and a strong background in dance and cultural history. In addition to being a good writer, of course. So if that's not the kind of review that interests you, you will not want to read any of the DanceViews -- the online or the print version. I know that contextual reviews drive some people crazy -- they find them pretentious, or irrelevant, or not useful, or lots of other things, and I have no problem with that. It's a perfectly valid point of view. That's why it's important to have as many voices as possible, to give readers as many choices as possible. (And to provide more coverage for artists. The more reviews there are, the better, simply because the odds are that there will be a range of views.)

#18 salzberg


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Posted 25 September 2003 - 06:29 AM

What I look for in a writer is someone who cares as much about choreography as about dancers

From my point of view, it's nice if the writer also acknowledges that the artistic vision of the company -- or even of a specific work -- extends beyond choreography and dancing, and gives credit (and blame*) where it's due. So far, two reviews of this year's incarnation of A Shropshire Lad have mentioned that, at the end, the dancer is confined to a coffin-like box of light; neither has given any indication that the light appeared by other than magical means.

But back to the nominal subject at hand....

I, too, would be very interested in comments from people who saw the concert.

* As annoying as the lack of recognition of good design is the lack of condemnation of inadequate work; there's a tendency to not mention technical elements except to praise them, which means that much bad lighting, costume, and set design goes unpunished.

#19 Alexandra


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Posted 25 September 2003 - 06:38 AM

It's not the same thing as saying "the lighting was wonderful/ghastly" but in that, and all future reviews, the production credits (names of musicians, dancers, lighting, designer, etc.) are at the bottom of the review. :wink:

Editing to add: I'd echo Jeff's comment about bringing the discussion back to the CONCERT -- were others there? What did you think?

#20 salzberg


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Posted 25 September 2003 - 08:02 AM

Because I (of course) have more to say, I've taken the liberty of copying the relevant parts of this discussion to The Pro Shop.

#21 Hal



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Posted 29 September 2003 - 01:01 AM

I saw the Saturday night performance. Sorry it took me so long to post. As far as the Aloff article is concerned - I loved it - and agreed with most of it. I am not nearly as cleaver or as knowledgable as she is - and thought a lot of her comments were on the money.

I thought the performance is one of the best that Leigh has put on. I have probably seen the last 4 or 5 - except 2001, and I enjoyed this peformance more than any of the others. Not that I didn't enjoy the previous concerts, just that I think Leigh has generally improved with age. I am already looking forward to next years program.....

The highlights of the evening were the piece he did for Ansanelli and the "New Rome". The fact that they were performed to live music only enhanced the mood they set. I found the first part of the program, "A Waltz Remembered" and "Rideau" less interesting and a bit bland.

Ansanelli was just terrific and I believe that the choreography was both cleaver and inventive and played to her strengths as a dancer. The choice of music was interesting as well. I am fond of baroque music in general although I know little about it (or any other music), and found the piece a wonderful choice. Very easy to see the exposition of the score in the dance movements. This was just a perfect performance - the costume, the music, the lighting, and of course the dancing and choreography.

The "New Rome" to commissioned music was dark, yet spirited and full of energy. I was expecting a let down after seeing Ansanelli - but had anything but. Wonderful music, wonderful dancing.

A very lovely evening of dance. We had brought along a friend who rarerly goes to any dance and he enjoyed the performance as well.

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