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Ballet Talk for Dancers

The Critics: Grace's Review Part 2

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Grace, a "dog-and-pony show" is a metaphor for circus done on the cheap.


And if they can't take the heat, maybe they should get out of the kitchen. Your criticism was well within the bounds of good form.

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As Mel Johnson noted it's (I think American) slang.

Dog-and-pony show


Slang - An elaborate presentation orchestrated to gain approval, as for a policy or product.



From the razzle-dazzle of trained animal acts at circuses.


Strange when at the McDonald Ballet competition in Sydney this year, the MC was very vocal about how insignificant support from

the state and federal government had been. He also had a bit of fun with their primary sponsor. Noting that in no way where

they suggesting that the kids subsisted on or was Macdonald's food performance enhancing.


I think the person that called you was more concerned, as you noted, with losing what support they had rather than consider that

your article might help motivate or support them in trying to get further funding.

Very small town minded of them, not to mention discourteous of calling you directly. Was it even a official call? Would have made

a great letter to the editor, I would imagine it would have gotten very embarrassing for them.

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unbelievable! grace, you shouldn't have to put up with that sort of unprofessional treatment... who on earth do they think they are ?? for them to suggest your review would jeopardise their funding is ridiculous - your criticism of the night being turned into a PR spectacle was well within your rights as a critic. As has already been noticed, you were still generous in your praise...


i'm absolutely flabbergasted.

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Once upon a time, when DanceView was Washington DanceView, I got the following offer-you-can't-refuse from one of our local dance companies: "Hi! We'd like to purchase a cover, and we think it would go nicely with a preview of X's new piece."


That's when I stopped accepting advertising. (No, we didn't sell covers, but the guy -- who was genuinely innocent -- thought that a full-page ad could be, well, anywhere. And it would be ever so nice if it didn't LOOK like it was a full-page ad.)

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It's a tricky situation -- when is it appropriate for a company/artist to respond to a review? In some situations, it might be very appropriate -- in venues like this website where one of the goals is discussion, that kind of tennis game exchange could be extremely interesting. The structure of most paper publications, though, is to funnel comments through a "letters to editor" section, and disagreements about fact through an actual editor. In both cases, the writer is not a direct participant, which might seem awkward, especially in communities where you know people in the company. As writers we often cultivate those relationships -- there are very few critics who don't know the press rep or other administrative people in the companies they cover regularly. A certain level of insulation can be very helpful, though, especially if it's the kind of situation that might escalate in some way. I've actually encouraged people to write to my editor if they have a comment about what I've written (or, in many cases, what didn't get covered) if for no other reason than to keep the editor aware that there is a dance constituency in my city.


My first responsibility is to dance (with a big D) -- I've been working in that field all my adult life, doing all kinds of jobs. But right now I fulfill that responsibility as a writer, which means I've got to grapple with the specific requirements of dance writing -- to look as widely as I can, to see as clearly as I can, and to tell as evocatively as I can. Pragmatically, I need to please my editor to get my work through that gateway and on to the page.

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