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Ballet Talk for Dancers

The Critics: Grace's Review Part 2


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I hope those interested in the topic that Grace posted about her review of the West Australian Ballet and how the company viewed that review will continue discussing it here.

 

Some questions that occurred to me were. Some may be of more interest to writers, but I think we'd all love some feedback from readers as well.

 

1. Should companies contact critics to complain about a review? (Aside from factual errors, of course)

 

2. Should critics have a company's viewpoint in the back of their minds as they write?

 

Which all leads to:

 

3. For whom should the critic write?

 

Not forgetting:

 

4. Is it the critic's responsibility to be a booster?

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Guest Nanatchka
I hope those interested in the topic that Grace posted about her review of the West Australian Ballet and how the company viewed that review will continue discussing it here.

 

Some questions that occurred to me were. Some may be of more interest to writers, but I think we'd all love some feedback from readers as well.

 

1. Should companies contact critics to complain about a review? (Aside from factual errors, of course)

 

2. Should critics have a company's viewpoint in the back of their minds as they write?

 

Which all leads to:

 

3. For whom should the critic write?

 

Not forgetting:

 

4. Is it the critic's responsibility to be a booster?

 

 

I'll bite...

1. Should companies contact critics to complain about a review? (Aside from factual errors, of course)

No.

2. Should critics have a company's viewpoint in the back of their minds as they write?

They should know all they can, but they should write from the front of the house.

 

Which all leads to:

 

3. For whom should the critic write?

The reader. Who varies from forum to forum.

 

Not forgetting:

 

4. Is it the critic's responsibility to be a booster?

The critic should be a fervent lover of the field, or should retire from it. If that is boosterism--to love an art form--so be it. But since critics must live in the real world, I might add that justice can be tempered with mercy, particularly in situations where the critic wields actual power, these being few, and far between. (Being for instance critics of the few powerful newspapers of national conseqence, and critics of only daily newspaper in smaller towns and cities.) But not too tempered, and done so the reader can see between the lines. Boosting--what shall I call it, bad art? bad work?--the awful, or even the tepid, has the inherent danger of alienating the reader. Either from oneself ("What bad taste she has") or worse, from the ballet. ("If that's good, I think I'll stay home.")

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I'll vote for that -- the Nanatchka Doctrine :grinning: Good points, Nan. Thank you.

 

Other views? Modifications, quibbles?

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Good post, Nanatchka. :grinning: Your final point,

Boosting--what shall I call it, bad art? bad work?--the awful, or even the tepid, has the inherent danger of alienating the reader . . . from the ballet. ("If that's good, I think I'll stay home.")

is a less obvious but very insidious consequence of promiscuous boosterism. Thanks for that insight.

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just a note to say that i have been too busy to allow myself online, this past week, so the previous thread was filled up, culled out, and closed, before i saw all the offerings there. nevertheless, i VERY much appreciated ALL of the posts there, that i DID manage to see - especially the funny ones.

 

for the record: no, it was NOT simon dow who rang me. and i am quite happy to be directly contacted like this, because i am a "big girl" (at 5'3") and happy to state, clarify and debate my own point of view, with anyone who remains civil. i know however, that my editor was NOT happy that the matter was dealt with this way, and has informed the company that such matters should be directly discussed with HER first, next time...("will there be a 'next' time?" ~ BOUND to be...! :shrug: )

 

i found it interesting that creative juice wrote:

"ballet, of all the arts, receives the kindest of reviews by critics. I’ve read reviews of plays, movies, concerts, and sporting events in which the reviewer, while being absolutely honest, was also absolutely ruthless.
i suppose he is right, there. i never thought about that, before.

 

now, back to the topic - that is, the related topic/s which alexandra has posed as questions HERE.

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Thank you for the update, Grace -- good for your editor! (I sent you a PM when the posts were deleted, if you hadn't gotten notification of it.)

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a pseudonym? oh heavens yes! i asked if that was possible before i EVER started writing reviews. but: apparently not these days, as you would of course know. i can see good reasons, though, to go back to that system - especially in small towns! :)

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Um, hows about "Rhonda Zhamm" or "Sue Toonew" or "Pierre Ohwet" or, well, you get the picture ... :)

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Guest Leigh Witchel

Oh my, Grace.

 

That really was a very fair and in-bounds review.

 

I'll second the other writers here and say that a company should not contact a paper to complain about a review, except in the case of factual errors and I would also add serious conflict of interest. Everyone in the dance world knows everyone else so it's hard not to have some problem with that (I think just about everyone who could review me as a choreographer in NYC knows me professionally as a writer - what are they to do?), but I do recall a time when a company was reviewed by the head teacher of the rival school in town, and the review reflected that bias. I think the company was within its rights to contact the editor regarding that.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My family and I actually went to last performance of Then & Now, and we all agree that Grace described pretty much what we saw.

Of course without the 15 minutes of speechifying as it was the last showing, lucky us. :pinch:

 

My question would be are they complaining about the review of the show or about comments made about the sponsor (BHP) and the dog and pony before the start of the show?

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sorry rob - i don't know what "dog and pony" means.

 

but they are complaining about my mentioning the speeches, and about the damage THEY see that doing, to their relatiobnship with both the government and the sponsors.

 

in particular, they feel that i have embarrassed the govt. by suggesting that they aren't supporting the company ENOUGH, and that i have embarrassed the sponsor by mentioning the CEO payout, and by (relatively-speaking) belittling the amount they are giving to the ballet company.

 

neither of these was my intent - this is like deliberately seing the cup half-empty, IMO.

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