Let's look at the text. She opens with a claim that the Washington Ballet program is
a demonstration of the stultifying effects that the national Balanchine obsession has had on new choreography. ... [E]ach choreogapher -- Karole Armitage, Nicolo Fonte and Edwaard Liang, all Balanchine followers, uses the dancers in the same way, resses them the same way and anchors them in the same erotic-romantic dreamscape.
That's a very big claim. Look at the two parts:
-- she asserts the existence of a "national Balanchine obession"
-- she lumps three choreographers as "followers of Balanchine"
As to the first claim: IS
there a "national Balanchine obsession? Compared to what? To Serge Lifar?
As to the second claim: ARE
these three choreographers all "followers of Balanchine" in any real way way. "Follower" has a meaning in the English language. That meaning is NOT: "Hey, something makes me feel that these apparently unrelated things are actually connected."
Based on the few Liang
works I've seen I know that one could
make a point about Balanchine influence. However, if Liang in this work did not do a good job, as Kaufman clalims, perhaps it's not a question of following Balanchine too well, but too poorly.
To support her contention about Armitage
, Kaufman asserts that the choreographer was "steeped in Balanchine's aesthetic while a young performer." Supporting evidence for what has happened since Armitage's youth: both used Brahms lieder at least once in their lives.
The fact that Balanchine used Brahms lieder (Liebesliederwaltzer) successfully and that Armitage (in the work under review) may have used it poorly, is neither here nor there.
By the time she gets to Fonte's
work, the final one on the program, Kaurfman seems to have forgotten or gotten fed up with her theme. The Balanchine connection is dropped. Instead, we get references to the Kama Sutra and Torville and Dean -- not the first things that come to mind when you think "Balanchine."
A reader doesn't have to know much about ballet to suspect that Kaufman, in her introduction of Balanchine into this, is taking us on a voyage to the Land of Exaggeration
located somewhere on the Planet Malarky.