My fellow blogger Counter Critic has posted a series of essays called “Ways and Means: A Five-Part Meditation on Writing about the Arts”. Each essay raises some interesting and thought-provoking questions about arts criticism, blogging, and the authority to critique. The essays got me thinking about my own role as a blogger and why I’m doing this. For starters, I enjoy writing about dance performances I see and, more generally, about all things related to dance. As a dance minor at Barnard, I had some amazing opportunities to analyze and write critically about dance. I learned how to view dance more actively and how to be an engaged audience member. Now that I’m out of college, and probably attend more dance performances than I did while a college student, I almost feel obligated to keep writing about what I see (It’s actually a challenge for me to watch a performance without writing the beginning of a review in my head). And what better way to share my thoughts with a lot of people than by blogging? I suppose a little part of me (or not so little part) misses writing formal critiques for my college dance courses. In fact, I’ve noticed that my recent reviews and blog postings tend to sound pretty formal, as if I’m trying to be a mainstream critic (I’m not). I’d like to change that. In the most recent part of the series, called “Criticizing the Critics”, Counter Critic talks about the importance of “freeing up tone” of arts criticism, with which I fully agree. So, my goal over the next few months is to free up the tone of my reviews. I’m sure it’s easier said than done, but I’ll give it my best shot.
In the first part of the series, CC asks a great question: “What gives anyone the authority to be a critic?” Here’s my response: I don’t have a degree in dance journalism or criticism, I’m certainly far from an expert on anything in the dance field, and I’m not even a very eloquent writer. But I’m passionate about dance. I like watching it, reading about it, choreographing movement in my head while walking down the street, and dancing around my living room (and in dance studios, too). Most importantly, I always have something to say about dance. Is that enough?