Fall 1965 • Vol. XXVII No. 4 Department KR: A Section of Briefer Comment |

Not on Their Toes

The Winter 1964 issue of The Kenyon Review, in its dedication to John Crowe Ransom, remarked that "there was very little American criticism of any value before the 1930s." The reference, of course, was to literary criticism; if the subject had been dance, the statement should have been considerably stronger. In 1947, Edwin Denby commented that critical writing on dance was in a pioneering state. Unfortunately, his assessment is equally true in 1965. Many excuses have been made for this deplorable situation—especially deplorable since dance has acquired not only popularity but a justifiable stature as a performing art in the past two decades. Of course, it is difficult to write about so ephemeral a thing as a dance performance. When it is over, the critic has only his memory to guide him; there is no text, no score to help him. Nevertheless, some marvelously evocative reviews were written of the Romantic ballet in the first half of the nineteenth century. And eighteenth-century

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The Winter 1964 issue of The Kenyon Review, in its dedication to John Crowe Ransom, remarked that "there was very little American criticism of any value before the 1930s." The […]

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