The New York Times continues to hit low(s) with its dance criticism. Brian Seibert, a creative writing teacher and author of books on tap dancing who dabbles in writing about other dance forms, reviewed NYCB's Friday night rep program for the paper. His piece, which bears the dirty thumb print of Alastair Macaulay, included the following:
"At the “Balanchine Black & White” program on Friday night Robert Fairchild was not making his first appearance as Apollo. The situation was worse than that." Huh?
"[Fairchild's] Apollo contained suggestions of Method acting." Did the NYT editor cut Seibert's reasons for this dull and overused slight or the explanation for why it even mattered?
"But, as Terpsichore, Sterling Hyltin was too much of a debutante, prissily playing hard to get." Prissily? A debutante? Again, did the NYT editor ax something like: Hyltin (did this, this, and that with her - insert dance steps) making her look too much like a ....? Doubt it. Like Macaulay, this writer just threw the jabs without justification.
In reference to Rebecca Krohn's debut in the final section of Episodes in which she subbed for Sara Mearns, Seibert complained that Krohn "looked tentative" – yes, looked, not danced but looked. His tap experience told him that she should have been more "expansive" in response to the music. This jab was nothing more than Macaulay expressing disappointment that Mearns, an extraordinary dancer who is wonderful in the role but who nevertheless rarely observes ballet's values of modesty or restraint, didn't dance as originally cast, and that a completely different type of dancer was substituted. Krohn was outstanding in her debut and interpreted her section in the tradition of the past greats Helene Alexapoulos and Stephanie Saland rather than Macaulay's current preferred dancer.
And finally, there was one last Macaulay-inspired jab at Ashley Bouder for "habitual posturing" with her chin. Exactly what is one's chin supposed to do when one is in a choleric state?
Can't the New York Times find a dance critic who knows something about ballet AND can write for a general readership? How about volunteers. Pia? Laura? Wendy? Couldn't somebody please spare some time for the Times? It might even persuade Haglund to buy a digital subscription – but probably not.