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September 24, 2013


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This had to be said, Haglund, and thank you for having the--um, er, uh--yes! the COURAGE to say it out loud. You are my voice in the public arena and I'm grateful that you provide an antidote to the toxic lack of knowledge that Alastair Macaulay brings to his drivel in The New York Times.

I've become increasingly dismayed at MacAulay's endless, fulsome praise of Mearns. Look, I think she's a good, talented, hardworking dancer, but the things he says about her are ridiculous. I fear that this will ultimately have a bad effect on Sara. She's a very young woman still, and eventually she'll crash to earth. As we all do.

"she’s the world’s foremost interpreter of the double role this century"

This kind of statement makes me cringe. Not even a qualifier. Not even "she's *one* of the world's foremost interpreters of the double role this century". I am fine with "is changing our idea of how a ballerina looks and projects", but certain roles in certain productions need pure classicism. And to sweep all those other Odette/Odiles is just unacceptable for a 'critic'.

It is worth noting that Alastair Macaulay gave a very lukewarm review of Kondaurova is Swan Lake this year. This situation is similar to Clement Crisp reviewing both Marianela Nunez and Natalia Osipova is Swan Lake and giving Osipova a rave review and Nunez a poor one. Such blind admiration is irresponsible.
There are other dancers at NYCB who I would prefer to see dance Swan Lake over Mearns- Scheller first among them!

The NYtimes (not to single them out, a lot of critics are guilty of this) seem to have a singular talent for making these broad, ridiculous proclamations of "best ever", and people lap it up, because well, if the NYtimes says it's so, it must be so. Lack of critical thought seems to be a real systemic problem across all the arts, and indeed in society as a whole because people don't take the time to develop their own aesthetic, and just swallow what it served up them wholesale. An excellent entry, Haglund--

True, Sophie. I was hoping to see Scheller as well. She and Kowroski were the only ones who were going to get me back into the theater to see that production. The good news is that over the summer Scheller seems to have made some very good connections while participating in galas: Lopatkina and Rojo. If either of those ladies were to take Scheller under her wing, we would receive a windfall of artistic blessings.

Thanks, Koji.

These types of proclamations in the NYT arts section often make us the laughing-stock of the international arts world. Maybe Mayor Bloomberg will buy the paper after he leaves office and restore some of its integrity.

I just saw that Alexei Ratmansky is among this year's recipients of MacArthur "genius" Grants. Let's hope that he'll now slow down and concentrate more on quality than on output quantity.


I couldn't agree with you more, Hagland. I looked up the article.

Macauley also had this to say about the world's foremost interpreter of this role. (in his opinion)

"Her shoulders are high, even tense"

I dunno...back in my day, I always got yelled at when my shoulders were up.

Wasn't he the pompous p. who was all over Jenifer Ringer trying to be cute (or something. I say something.) with his one-too-many sugar plums absurdity? Now, we have another ballerina in the same company who because of her fuller figure is changing the face of ballet? So, from now on...its tense shoulders and thicker torsos? Clearly, he gets off on his own power; he knows just enough to be a danger to the dancers that he seems to take pleasure in either glorifying or decimating, but not nearly enough to qualify him for the position that he has. He reminds me of those dudes at the Bolshoi who get paid to yell out BRAVO, BRAVO (after a mediocre performance). Claquers, I think they're called? That's what he is.

Thanks, Laurel. I think most people understand that Macaulay's ballet literacy level is quite low. But the NYT isn't going to spend any money to put a qualified ballet critic on its staff. Ballet companies do have the option, however, of not extending press passes to him.

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