Monday, August 31, 2015

A Musing from Erin on Dance Criticism

Rashaun Mitchell's "Light Years," which premiered at New York Live Arts in April 2015. Photo by Ian Douglas. 

In anticipation of the upcoming season at The Dance Enthusiast, I've been revisiting my prior reviews and previews to contemplate what I did well and what needs improvement. As I go through my work, I've been thinking about the purpose of criticism, not just dance, but all criticism.

While the death knell has been sounded and rebutted for dance criticism (The Dance Enthusiast editor-in-chief Christine Jowers wrote an excellent piece for Dance/USA), I maintain that criticism will survive because it is deeply important to our experience as messy, magical, complex human beings.

Criticism, when done well, acts as an entry point for the reader to explore life in a more thoughtful fashion. I rarely go to the movies (I've seen one movie this year. It was "Magic Mike XXL." Because of professional interest in the dancing. Definitely not because of personal interest in Channing Tatum's abs.), but reading film criticism helps me consider the broad themes of existence in specific ways.

As such, I’m linking to a review of Rashaun Mitchell's "Light Years," a piece of writing in which I feel I came close — but no cigar — to embodying the potential of criticism. The fun is in the trying, and I'm looking forward to a new season and new opportunities to try, try, and try again. I do hope you will stop by to read my musings.