Panda, on Apr 11 2008, 01:11 AM, said:
I have many things I want to say about his review since I really disagree with him at many points. But I'll stop it this time.
Please, Panda, don't
hesitate to post on this. The Kirov has many fans and advocates here. All will benefit from a variety of knowledgeable opinion on this issue.
Mashinka, on Apr 11 2008, 08:02 AM, said:
I would imagine commercial considerations play a big part in repertoire choices.
Indeed. This raises the question of a reviewer's responsibility to consider such issues. How sensitive should a reviewer be to a company's feeling that it must dance a certain repertoire, or in a certain manner, in order to pay the bills?
The review that sparked this recent discussion was of a specific Kirov program:
During most of the third program in the Kirov Balletâ€™s season at City Center â€â€ť a quadruple bill of excerpts from late-19th-century ballets by Marius Petipa â€â€ť an alarming question kept flashing into my mind: â€śMaybe I donâ€™t like ballet after all?â€ť Here were virtuoso episodes from â€śLe Corsaireâ€ť and â€śDon Quixoteâ€ť; here was the â€śDiana and Acteonâ€ť pas de deux; here came salvo after salvo of audience applause. And almost all of it left me cold.
This kind of gala program, indeed, make one wonder just a teeny bit about just how serious an art classical ballet remains. Macaulay is not alone in responding to such programs in that way.
His complete review -- and the larger body of his critical writing -- suggest to me that he is personally committed to the idea that classicism in dance is a living force and needs to be peformed as such. This may explain his pique when he feels that classical ballet is being danced in a manner which, to him, is less than it ought to be. Here's the heart of the criticism of this program, it seems to me:
I donâ€™t actually care if what weâ€™re shown isnâ€™t authentic Petipa; I just want to see dancing that feels like dancing â€â€ť musical, spontaneous, connected. But the Kirov has spent decades honing these chunks into material that makes ballet feel like a graduation exercise or professional competition.
The emphasis becomes so point-scoring and prize-oriented that thereâ€™s far less difference than there should be between the first three ballerinas.
It's damning, but not, I think, because Macaulay doesn't like classical ballet.