I love dance. I love to take class, I love to feel music in my body; I also love to think about dancing, to read about it, and to study the artists who are at the forefront of the art.
People who write about dance, particularly ballet, should have a passionate appreciation for what the art looks like in its current form. As much of a genius as Balanchine was, he’s dead, and there are other choreographers doing brilliant, groundbreaking work.
This is why I cannot stand Alastair Macaulay. He writes for the New York Times. He is a powerful voice in the world of dance. He is also clearly someone who spends his days pining for the good old days of the 60’s, when Balanchine and Jerome Robbins ruled the Earth, or at least New York.
Against these giants every dancer and choreographer is compared. And they always fall short, because nostalgia always wins, no matter what the game. The sepia tones of the past will forever look more alluring than the difficult glaring light of the present, especially when the past includes a great, irreplaceable genius like Balanchine.
When I read Macaulay I usually have an image like this in my head:
And it is that image that’s critiquing artists who look like this:
And there is something wrong with that picture. Mr. Macaulay needs to retire. And let ballet take its new, inevitably different, form.