Ohad Naharin’s Advice to Critics

Dance Magazine has posted Ohad Naharin’s acceptance speech at the November 9th Dance Magazine Awards.  Instead of offering thanks, he shared some advice for critics that is both insightful and humorous.  And how interesting to hear a dancer and choreographer offer some guidelines for the writers.  I doubt that there are any critics who follow all of Naharin’s suggestions (I certainly don’t), but these are still good to keep in mind, especially the idea of watching dance with your eyes out of focus.

• Go see dance shows that you don’t have to write about.

• Don’t let a point of reference prevent you from having a moment of a fresh new experience.

• Connect to physical pleasures of life.

• Remember that there are always people in the audience who are at least as smart as you are (and it says here, “especially if you are from England”).

• Never, never, write during the show, unless it is the likes of a fashion show, mime show, ice skating or a beauty contest.

• You don’t have to understand the work you are watching. The creator most likely doesn’t care to be understood; he/she just wants to be loved.

• Remember, if you can describe what you are watching you are probably watching bad choreography.

• If you didn’t change your mind lately, you are probably wrong (again it says, “especially if you are from England”).

• Dance yourself a few minutes every day, until you sweat and/or you are experiencing a burning sensation some where in your flesh.

• Watch stuff with your eyes going out of focus; you will see more and miss less.

• While watching a dance, don’t look for national, geographic connotations. Anyway it’s almost never there.

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3 Responses to Ohad Naharin’s Advice to Critics

  1. JoeyL says:

    I was there for that…and it was unexpected to say the least (Dance Magazine doesn’t exactly offer criticism). He was reading from a book, which I have yet to find, and was there with a choreographer who just ATE THIS UP.

  2. Evan says:

    Wish I could have been there, too! The post on Dance Magazine’s site suggests that Naharin’s advice was not really from a book, but rather his own advice based on the reviews he reads of his own work. Maybe he was also suggesting that Dance Magazine should offer more criticism?

  3. Raewyn Whyte says:

    The “being from England” reference must be intended for NY Times reigning dance critic and classical ballet expert Alastair Macaulay.

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