As I delve more deeply into the world of dance, I’m taking more of an interest in the “basics”. Seasoned dancers have advised me that an important way to improve yourself is to go to as many performances as possible. My current schedule doesn’t allow a whole lot of free evenings to go to the theater, but in the meantime, I can read about it.
I’ve started to read the dance reviews in the NYT and the Village Voice. Some of the articles I enjoy, and others I don’t. I’ve come to believe that a truly masterful dance critic is an artist themselves. Being able to translate not only a physical description of the music, sets, lighting, and music is a challenge in itself, but a good writer will also give you something more. This includes the emotions they feel, thoughts they were thinking during the performance, some historical background knowledge of the choreographer and/or dancers, beautiful adjectives, and a witty commentary.
So far, I’m really liking Deborah Jowitt’s writing for the Village Voice:
On Momix: “My daydream begins like this: One of the dancers is working out on an exercise ball; losing her equilibrium, she sticks out one leg in a fetching way to stabilize herself. “Hey, that’s great,” says someone. “How’dja do it?””
In response to Sara Rudner’s Dancing-On-View: “Someone mentions the hardness of the folding chairs; I don’t notice it. We’re sitting in a beautiful high-ceilinged studio with windows facing the sunset (lighting by God, with help from Aaron Copp).”
On Urban Bush Women: “I defy any female to walk out of a theater after seeing the Urban Bush Women perform and not feel her hips swinging more than usual as she strides along. So juicily do the dancers in Jawole Willa Jo Zollar’s company project empowerment, self-esteem, and strength under duress that after every dance, you want to cheer.“