Clive Barnes’ column in the December issue of Dance Magazine addresses the delicate and challenging work of a dance critic. Mr. Barnes, who died on November 19th at the age of 81, admits that he’s “developed a compassion for not only the criticized, but also for the villain in that equation, the critic.” What struck me most about his column was his direct note to critics:
“Remember that no one actually tries to dance or choreograph badly. If, in your possibly lonely opinion, an artist has inadvertently achieved that unlucky result, it need not occasion a display of verbal fireworks. Tell things as you believe they are, but with care and grace, not smart-assed loathing.”
Surprisingly, this is not Mr. Barnes’ last column. According to Dance Magazine’s website, he filed his final column on November 7th. It will be published in the January issue, but you can read the column here.