I hate the word "critic" . . . I think it's time to reinvent it

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My previous post sparked some rather interesting conversation in my life. Based on my thoughts for the Young Choreographers’ Showcase, I’ve heard two things mainly: “you were too kind” and “you were a little harsh.” This prompted me to go back and reread what I wrote . . .

I have to disagree with both comments entirely. First of all, I’m NOT a dance critic! Say this to yourself 10 times people. Yes, I do review dance on occasion, but in case y’all haven’t noticed the majority of my writing focuses on profiles, features, events, and, most often, non-dance stuff. I don’t write solely for this site or Dance Informa. Secondly, if you reread the piece, the only ‘negative’ thing I say is about the costumes. Other than that, I say nothing about disliking anyone’s work. I merely offer suggestions as to how the choreographer can perhaps expand or improve on their ideas. And I’m one person . . . they can take it or leave it.

But, this does bring up an interesting point. Don’t get me wrong, I love it when my words can have such a strong impact. But why are dancers so sensitive to hearing anything but pure praise? I don’t love it when I get an article back from an editor asking for a rewrite (yes, this does happen), but it is these instances in which I truly grow as a writer . . . an artist.

Hmmm, something to think about.

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  • candice

    There has been a lot of dialogue going on behind the scenes in relation to this–please comment if you have thoughts on this!–which brings up another debate–what kinds of criticism/feedback should be private and what should be public? Does etiquette matter, or is it just a thing of the past that exists to keep certain people quiet? If you put a piece of art out for public viewing, doesn’t that make it ripe for public comment? Isn’t that what we want? The public conversation and buzz I mean, not hurt feelings.

    And last question: does the idea of who can be a critic and/or offer criticism differ from art form to art form? It is important I think to note that fiction writers are often review other fiction writers, just check out the bylines in the New York Times Book Review, and they are not expected to be kind or biased for or against. But on the other hand, my boyfriend mentioned it would be bad news in the rock music scene for a band to review another band…….are the performing arts different, or are we just more sensitive?

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