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
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.)