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August 23, 2006

Food for thought

George Jackson pens a very interesting opening to his review at Danceview Times of Trey McIntyre's work at Jacob's Pillow.

Expectations differ for up-and-coming ballet choreographers and for their counterparts in contemporary dance. In ballet the choreographers themselves and their clienteles put more emphasis on craft than on vision. It is the nuts-and-bolts, the tooling, the finish of a new ballet that gets comments from fans and from the press. Making a piece in the manner of this or that famous example is expected and, indeed, considered desirable. So what if the work has no singular, original, innovative vision? Skeptics even argue that there’s no such thing as real novelty because, if you look closely, ballet choreographers have been copying their teachers’ dance pieces since the dawn of the artform and only the handwriting is new.

He's certainly describing how I judge a ballet work. I'm not looking for pastiche, but I do think originality as a driving force for creation is overrated, and if a work isn't soundly crafted, I usually don't care how expressive it is.

Posted by Leigh Witchel at August 23, 2006 11:28 PM

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