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October 15, 2005

What gets cut

My first article for Ballet Review was 14,000 words, so it’s no surprise that my biggest challenge as a dance writer is a tendency to over-document. The best solution for me is a “cooling-off” period (ideally a week if I have it), after which I can cut tangential points or trivia more dispassionately.

In two recent articles I cut the better part of a paragraph from each. In the first, a dancer’s pointe work was not up to expectations. It seemed to me that it was because of severe bunions, and I thought that because of the look of her shoes. That was all educated guesswork, but even if I could have confirmed it, it should have been cut. The article was about several programs during a season, not about that dancer. It was too specific a detail to warrant the digression. I mentioned her pointe work with no explanation.

In the second, I cut a paragraph on what I thought the ramifications of a specific commission would be on the career of a choreographer because ruminations on the life of a guest choreographer sound as much like career advice as analysis. The reader doesn’t care, and the choreographer really couldn’t care less, so out it went.

Posted by Leigh Witchel at October 15, 2005 9:29 PM

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Perhaps you can include the cut paragraphs on your blog. My boyfriend [ www.canonist.com ] does value-added blogging for his articles all the time.

Posted by: Rachel at October 15, 2005 11:44 PM

Hello Rachel! I have used the blog for something similar - ideas that don't fit for the places I normally write, but I haven't yet put "outtakes" here. In the case of the two examples above, I wouldn't - I didn't cut them for space reasons, but because they shouldn't have been in the article.

OT - I checked out Canonist - interesting! You probably wouldn't be surprised I ended up here - http://www.canonist.com/?p=177 . Growing up Reform, it was an eye-opener. I had forgotten just how engaged Jews can be in all sides of an argument.

Posted by: Leigh Witchel at October 17, 2005 12:00 AM

Hi Leigh,
I'm hoping the dance blogosphere can begin to create the level of discussion that goes on in the jewish blogosphere. The post that you reference is certainly one of the more heated discussions.

Posted by: Rachel at October 17, 2005 11:42 AM

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