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Bruce Wall

Alastair Macaulay to Retire as NYT Dance Critic

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That makes me feel old... I remember when he was starting out, and it doesn't seem that long ago.

 

It's very long explanation of why and how he is retiring/leaving... But then words are his thing, I suppose.

 

I've very much enjoyed some of his work, and I hope he does keep on writing about ballet in other capacities.

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I really hope the NYT, still the greatest newspaper in the world, is willing to find a ballet critic who thirty years after Mr. B's death is not still completely Balanchine-centered but who might be able to acknowledge the different directions that modern ballet has found and will find in Europe. I'm so fed up with reading that everything NDT, van Manen, Béjart, Neumeier, Cherkaoui, Bigonzetti, Duato etc. is damnable. I'm sure someone will find one or another review to disprove my impression, but that's what I've felt since I read American ballet reviews.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Angela said:

I really hope the NYT, still the greatest newspaper in the world, is willing to find a ballet critic who thirty years after Mr. B's death is not still completely Balanchine-centered but who might be able to acknowledge the different directions that modern ballet has found and will find in Europe. I'm so fed up with reading that everything NDT, van Manen, Béjart, Neumeier, Cherkaoui, Bigonzetti, Duato etc. is damnable. I'm sure someone will find one or another review to disprove my impression, but that's what I've felt since I read American ballet reviews.

 

 

 

I've often got the impression that the NY arts scene even more self-important than it is important! The parochial tone of much coverage doesn't help: Balanchine is, as you say, held up as self-evidently the towering genius of ballet (even if he is - and there are other choreographers I, as a mere enthusiast, would rather watch - not all roads lead to him) and no singer can be held to be a star without a successful Met appearance.

 

I could never understand the reverence in which James Levine, before his fall from grace, was held in the US, given that he didn't register much in Europe. That was when the penny dropped: if it didn't happen in New York, it was largely irrelevant anyway.

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10 hours ago, bridiem said:

It's very long explanation of why and how he is retiring/leaving.

 

I actually got the giggles reading it, it goes into such detail about timelines!

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Ballet and dance - my role in its success!

 

Sorry, not a fan personally, but I remember him starting out.

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H'mm, having read his announcement I suspect he should have retired a little earlier, before the waffle quotient took over.

 

But to be fair, I did enjoy many of his earlier reviews and didn't he once sum up what many ballet-goers feel at Christmas with the memorable words 'we are all one Nutcracker nearer death'? **  I also remember him at an Insight event  explaining brilliantly just how remarkable and distinctive Ashton was.  He even demonstrated the Fred Step so clearly I still think I could do it myself!

 

It's a wise critic who knows when he has said enough and should simply stop.

 

Linda

 

** Or was that Clement Crisp?  Apologies if I'm wrong.

Edited by loveclassics
Possible mis-attribution.
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52 minutes ago, loveclassics said:

H'mm, having read his announcement I suspect he should have retired a little earlier, before the waffle quotient took over.

 

But to be fair, I did enjoy many of his earlier reviews and didn't he once sum up what many ballet-goers feel at Christmas with the memorable words 'we are all one Nutcracker nearer death'? **  I also remember him at an Insight event  explaining brilliantly just how remarkable and distinctive Ashton was.  He even demonstrated the Fred Step so clearly I still think I could do it myself!

 

It's a wise critic who knows when he has said enough and should simply stop.

 

Linda

 

** Or was that Clement Crisp?  Apologies if I'm wrong.

 

26 minutes ago, alison said:

I think it was probably Crisp?

 

It was Richard Buckle. Sorry, but I doubt that Crisp was ever capable of such wit.

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On 22/09/2018 at 00:08, bridiem said:

It's very long explanation of why and how he is retiring/leaving... But then words are his thing, I suppose.

 

And unfortunately self-indulgent.

But I did used to like his contributions to ROH Insights. His knowledge is remarkable but, as with all of us, his predelictions are all too manifest in his critiques.

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7 hours ago, bangorballetboy said:

 

What does he say? Some of us have been blocked by AM.

 

He says 'That will be announced, perhaps soon. I don’t know myself who it will be, but I suspect the decision has already been made.'

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""That will be announced, perhaps soon. I don’t know myself who it will be, but I suspect the decision has already been made.""

 

What did you do to get blocked?? 👏👏😛

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What a fascinating interview! The moment I find myself warming to him he says something both so falsely modest and so preening that I’m back where I started.

 

I particularly enjoyed his suggestion that taking up the NYT dance beat was a great blow to the London theatre scene (no-one remaining was as sensitive to the human voice as he, apparently).

Edited by Lizbie1
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I remember being at the stage door at the ROH in the mid seventies and hearing Alastair Macaulay before he became a critic, talking to friends of his and disliked him intensely because he seemed so full of himself and so opinionated. I can’t remember how I knew his name, one of my friends must have known it, but my first impression has forever coloured my reaction to his writing. I’m probably being completely unfair to him but it’s the old adage of “first impressions”.

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On 02/11/2018 at 10:06, Pulcinella said:

I remember being at the stage door at the ROH in the mid seventies and hearing Alastair Macaulay before he became a critic, talking to friends of his and disliked him intensely because he seemed so full of himself and so opinionated. I can’t remember how I knew his name, one of my friends must have known it, but my first impression has forever coloured my reaction to his writing. I’m probably being completely unfair to him but it’s the old adage of “first impressions”.

That was exactly my experience to Pulchinella and remained unchanged until I left London for Birmingham.  I was safe from him there as he had absolutely no interest in SWRB or BRB.

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On the other hand, my own first encounter with Alastair Macaulay was at a matinee of Two Pigeons by the RB touring company in Norwich, sometime in the late 1970s - I didn't then  know who he was but always remembered him as he spent the whole of the intervals  making detailed notes about what he'd seen - not opinions but descriptions of the choreography (so far as I could see from a nosey glance or two).  So my first impression was of someone who did the groundwork.

 

(Full disclosure: I know him slightly.)

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Well I think he is rather full of himself and opinionated, AND he does the groundwork. I think he's an excellent writer; but he sometimes gets a bit carried away with himself.

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