Winter 1948 • Vol. X No. 1 Nonfiction |

Dance Criticism

When people who like dancing say a critic is right they mean he is right enough and that his imaginative descriptions are generally illuminating. He can hardly be illuminating or right enough unless he has a fund of knowledge about his subject. In theory he needs to know the techniques and the historical achievements of dancing, the various ways people have looked at it and written about it, and finally he needs a workable hypothesis of what makes a dance hang together and communicate its images so they are remembered. In practice he has to piece together what he needs to learn unsatisfactorily; experience as a dancer and choreographer is an invaluable help to him. The best organized and by far the most useful chunk of knowledge a critic has access to is that about the technique and history of classic ballet—in particular, ballet as dancers learn it. Its gymnastic and rhythmic technique is coherent enough to suggest principles of dance logic—as expressive human movement in mu

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The American Ballet

By Edwin Denby

When people who like dancing say a critic is right they mean he is right enough and that his imaginative descriptions are generally illuminating. He can hardly be illuminating or […]

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