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Clement Crisp (1931-2022)

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Wonderful writer. Terrific interview subject, as well. Irreplaceable. RIP.

In later life he always seemed to be able to find that sweet spot where he could appreciate what was good in the new while respecting what was good in the past. If he thought someone was better than Fonteyn in Ballet X he said so and if he thought no one had touched Markova in Ballet Y he said that, too.

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I used to look forward to what Clement Crisp had to say and see who he had spared from his critical eye and found it sometimes quite refreshing.  Looking back at "the best of" that the Financial Times has cited, I'm not sure it dates that well. He seemed to have liked McMillan a lot and Balanchine but without quite understanding him ("asserts the rule of clarity over murk") and rather snobbishly chose Haydn ("so much greater") over Mozart. Not sure if Attila the Hun, invading hordes, and napalm are the best metaphors for one's dislikes, or if one production can set "the art of ballet back by 100 years."


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