bart, on Oct 6 2007, 06:51 PM, said:
Today's Times has a review of a Fall for Dance performance at Lincoln Center (NYC). In it, Alastair Macaulay reviews a section from Christopher Wheeldon's After the Rain
Most dispiriting is Christopher Wheeldon's pas de deux for Wendy Whelan and Craig Hall, "After the Rain," to Arvo Pärt music. The way Mr. Wheeldon connects a range of choreographic images in a single legato flow is a clue to why so much has been made of him. But this dance also exposes how dismayingly passive his presentation of women often is. Perhaps only with a strong-looking dancer like Ms. Whelan can it be tolerable to watch a woman repeatedly swoon, drape herself on her partnerââ‚¬â„¢s neck or back, ecstatically abase herself at his feet, and let him lift her like the sail to his mast or the prow to his ship.
Is Mr. Wheeldon (a genuine talent) taking ballet forward or backward? Here, the latter.
This seems quite extreme. Any truth in it?
I'm sorry but I don't see this as particularly extreme, although I agree with Haglund's that the Times
, like most newspapers, likes the provocative hook. Macaulay is careful to praise Wheeldon's talent and limit his negative criticism to a single work--indeed, a single PDD ("Here..."). It is also true, I acknowledge, that he says this only after he's already implied a larger pattern--"how dismayingly passive [Wheeldon's] presentation of women often
is" (my italics). Yet I'm not sure why his writing is any lazier than any other dance critic tracking a choreographer's work over the years--in fact, I think he's doing a pretty good job in trying to raise what for him is clearly a painful thing to have to say. (And I can't say that I disagree with his reading of CW's handling of women.) I think this is a hard thing to accept sometimes: we can be critical of choreographers we like--and even love--and it's not tantamount to dismissing their talent. It's not a zero-sum game, it's art.
If you guys want extreme, check out some theater reviews!