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Farewell Performances and Criticism

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#106 dirac


    Diamonds Circle

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 11:41 AM

There is something of the implication in your statement that Macaulay is above us mere mortals who have preferences. I think that is insulting both to us and to the dancers he has made it clear he dislikes, some of whom are considered great dancers. His judgment reigns supreme? I don't think saying he has favorites implies they were capriciously chosen, obviously they are based on his experience and knowledge, which are vast (as he regularly makes clear). But it doesn't mean his taste is unfailing, or his the only correct opinion.

I like Macaulay's writing very much. Part of it may be that my "preferences" are similar to his. But I've seen him write, particularly about Wendy Whelan, that he understands why certain people like a dancer that is not to his taste. He's pretty up front that he's giving you his opinion, informed by the specific history he has with the art. I suppose if you are the president of the Nilas Martins fan club you will feel always terrible reading his reviews, but for many dancers he is capable of being evenhanded, or noting good qualities, even if his ultimate opinion of the performer is negative. And there is no question that he loves ballet, is knowledgeable and cares about it, which sadly is a significant step up from his predecessor.

There's something to criticize in any critic but it seems to me the Times could, and has, done a good deal worse. But the chief critic of the Times is never going to be a popular fellow in all quarters.

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