The brouhaha set off by The New York Times review of “The Nutcracker,” the follow-up by the critic, and the eloquence of Jenifer Ringer’s reaction on The Today Show exemplifies the way communication has changed in 2010: an artist can not only respond to what a critic writes, but can use many avenues – the internet, print, and television - to transmit their messages. Does this reveal how criticism is no longer confined to an authoritative voice - the expert or arbiter of style - but can engage in a dialogue that includes multiple perspectives and responses? What does this mean for the future of dance and the role of dance criticism?
I am impressed by the insight Jenifer Ringer, a New York City Ballet principal, brings to the situation and her appearance reminded of other dancers who have articled their ideas through writing and teaching. Christopher d’Amboise, also a former New York City Ballet principal and now part of the faculty at GMU, wrote a book almost 30 years ago that contains beautiful revelations about the nature of artists, friendships, and dancing. Here is a passage:
“I have heard people try to describe the feeling of dancing, and it usually ends up sounding religious or mystic. One finds oneself unintentionally using phrases like ‘another world,’ or ‘the ultimate experience.’ The more sincere the attempt to explain, the more apparent is its ineffability. We do not have the proper words for it. It is as if all the senses were fulfilled, and all the desires realized. All fears and disappointments disappear, or rather they are blanketed by the overwhelming force of the positive…”