It's damning, but not, I think, because Macaulay doesn't like classical ballet.
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 there’s far less difference than there should be between the first three ballerinas.
Bart--there's very little difference in what he says about the Kirov here and what you linked me to in his disparaging of POB's 'point-scoring' campaign (since I'm going to call it that, not seeing it that way myself). That, combined with his 'refreshingly unsophisticated' love of Minkus's organ-grinder claptrap makes him of no interest to me personally; if he has a fondness for this sort of trash, then talking about how a program of virtuoso pieces that brought 'salvo after salvo of audience applause' still is not very convincing in the alarm he experienced upon wondering whether he liked classical ballet or not. It is not as pretentious as Stanley Fish on art, or on the same level of screamy umbrage as Lewis Segal's talk about 'irrelevance'. It is more along the lines of Cleveland Amory's old TV Guide reviews of 'television as a vast wasteland' or people reviewing the Academy Awards ceremonies as if they should be a cohesive artistic whole in themselves. Almost all of these kinds of writings are some form of attempt to identify with something thought 'higher than' all this populism. Probably anyone else doing this job would be about the same, so he's all right with me--I don't read him except in excerpt here.
Leigh is right about letting the companies be who they are. After all, 'New York City Ballet at its most ideal point' is over and gone and can never be retrieved. It is very clear that New York City Ballet is not THE star of the ballet world at all any more, and that there are several companies that are better than its current configuration. I'd definitely go see either 'Romeo and Juliet' and 'Giselle' at ABT at this point than anything at NYCB; the ABT stars are a thousand times more exciting to me, although ABT is not one of the companies I meant as being 'greater'.