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National Dance Awards 2019 - nominations


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Reading today's reviews of the RB's Sleeping Beauty by David Dougill in The Sunday Times and Bidisha in The Observer has emphasised to me the curious and various world the critics inhabit.

After a column about the production and the story, Mr Dougill can hardly bring himself to mention the dancers (Matthew Ball gets only 7 words). And Bidisha, who I have not come across before, treats us, among other things, to: 

"I got Yasmine Naghdi and she is spectacular. Prowling and exultant, punchy and athletic, grinning from ear to ear. ............. She cavorts with a bravura display of skill, stamina and charisma, her majestically controlled high kicks and nonchalant turns reminding me more of a music-hall sailor than a fragile “pwintheth”."

"..................the production is underpowered and baggy, in massive need of updating". 

"At the interminable final wedding, pairs of guests perform like runners-up on Strictly".

"Keep an eye on Yasmine Naghdi and let the rest waft around you like a cheap scented candle."

I know that we have limitations as to the volume of quotes but the above represents only a small selection of Bidisha's comments.

 

 

 

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13 minutes ago, capybara said:

Reading today's reviews of the RB's Sleeping Beauty by David Dougill in The Sunday Times and Bidisha in The Observer has emphasised to me the curious and various world the critics inhabit.

After a column about the production and the story, Mr Dougill can hardly bring himself to mention the dancers (Matthew Ball gets only 7 words). And Bidisha, who I have not come across before, treats us, among other things, to: 

"I got Yasmine Naghdi and she is spectacular. Prowling and exultant, punchy and athletic, grinning from ear to ear. ............. She cavorts with a bravura display of skill, stamina and charisma, her majestically controlled high kicks and nonchalant turns reminding me more of a music-hall sailor than a fragile “pwintheth”."

"..................the production is underpowered and baggy, in massive need of updating". 

"At the interminable final wedding, pairs of guests perform like runners-up on Strictly".

"Keep an eye on Yasmine Naghdi and let the rest waft around you like a cheap scented candle."

I know that we have limitations as to the volume of quotes but the above represents only a small selection of Bidisha's comments.

 

Anyone who equates the kiss that wakes Aurora up with 'a sexual assault' (as Bidisha does in her review) doesn't in my view deserve to be taken seriously on any level. 

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2 minutes ago, bridiem said:

 

Anyone who equates the kiss that wakes Aurora up with 'a sexual assault' (as Bidisha does in her review) doesn't in my view deserve to be taken seriously on any level. 

 

I didn't like to quote that bit !

 

 

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26 minutes ago, capybara said:

Reading today's reviews of the RB's Sleeping Beauty by David Dougill in The Sunday Times and Bidisha in The Observer has emphasised to me the curious and various world the critics inhabit.

 And Bidisha, who I have not come across before, treats us, among other things, to: 

"I got Yasmine Naghdi and she is spectacular. Prowling and exultant, punchy and athletic, grinning from ear to ear. ............. She cavorts with a bravura display of skill, stamina and charisma, her majestically controlled high kicks and nonchalant turns reminding me more of a music-hall sailor than a fragile “pwintheth”."

"..................the production is underpowered and baggy, in massive need of updating". 

"At the interminable final wedding, pairs of guests perform like runners-up on Strictly".

"Keep an eye on Yasmine Naghdi and let the rest waft around you like a cheap scented candle."

I know that we have limitations as to the volume of quotes but the above represents only a small selection of Bidisha's comments.

 

 

sounds like someone should stick to reviewing the likes of Strictly, rather than having a reviewer's ticket squandered on them at ROH. What WERE the press people at the RB thinking???

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10 minutes ago, capybara said:

I didn't like to quote that bit !

 

It was at that point that I realised that the writer was simply wanting to be noticed rather than wishing to write anything serious about the ballet.

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I got more and more irritated as I read this.  Whoever this “critic’ is clearly has no knowledge of ballet nor its heritage, nor anything else to do with the art form.  She even managed to get a #metoo barb in there.  She would appear to be one of those people who thinks she is showing everyone how clever she is by ripping something to pieces.  That’s fine if you’re Clement Crisp, but when you’re someone with scant knowledge or understanding it just makes you look silly.  

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37 minutes ago, capybara said:

 

After a column about the production and the story, Mr Dougill can hardly bring himself to mention the dancers (Matthew Ball gets only 7 words).

 

 

 

That's a bit hard, isn't it? David Dougill had only just over 400 words to set the scene for general readers and then to review two casts, and he manages to praise 13 dancers by name - seems rather well balanced to  me!

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bidisha

 

I have never heard of her but reading up on Bidisha she's clearly somebody in the media world.

 

I guess she belongs to a new generation of reviewers appealing to the younger generation. Most of the younger generation would not read Clement Crisp's reviews...

 

Her review on Naghdi accurately sums up every detail of her exquisite performance but to compare her with a musical hall sailor???

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13 minutes ago, Sim said:

I got more and more irritated as I read this.  Whoever this “critic’ is clearly has no knowledge of ballet nor its heritage, nor anything else to do with the art form.  She even managed to get a #metoo barb in there.  She would appear to be one of those people who thinks she is showing everyone how clever she is by ripping something to pieces.  That’s fine if you’re Clement Crisp, but when you’re someone with scant knowledge or understanding it just makes you look silly.  

 

I assume she thinks it makes her look 'relevant'. Very insulting to Observer readers, who might expect that a critic has some knowledge of the art form about which they're writing. Or maybe they don't care, and prefer this sort of writing to anything more serious? Only the Observer (which used to be a serious newspaper) can answer that.

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14 minutes ago, Sim said:

I got more and more irritated as I read this.  Whoever this “critic’ is clearly has no knowledge of ballet nor its heritage, nor anything else to do with the art form.  She even managed to get a #metoo barb in there.  She would appear to be one of those people who thinks she is showing everyone how clever she is by ripping something to pieces.  That’s fine if you’re Clement Crisp....

 

No, it isn't.

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2 minutes ago, Jane S said:

 

No, it isn't.

Yes it is.  What I meant was if you want to criticise something if you don’t like it that’s fine, but I don’t want to read a load of tosh from someone without portfolio in a national newspaper.  Clement Crisp could hate something but he always explained why in a knowledgeable and intelligent way.  I often disagreed with him but always enjoyed reading his reviews for that reason.  

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47 minutes ago, Xandra Newman said:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bidisha

 

I have never heard of her but reading up on Bidisha she's clearly somebody in the media world.

 

I guess she belongs to a new generation of reviewers appealing to the younger generation. Most of the younger generation would not read Clement Crisp's reviews...

 

Her review on Naghdi accurately sums up every detail of her exquisite performance but to compare her with a musical hall sailor???

Well if this is the kind of thing the younger generation are being fed and reading the ROH is fighting a losing battle trying to entice younger people in to see ballet...

 

I started reading Mr Crisp’s reviews when I was about 19-20.  
 

Back in the 80s I used to buy the Observer every week just so that I could read Jann Parry’s wonderful, beautifully written and informative reviews and articles on dance.  That the same newspaper now thinks it’s fine to subject their readers to this level of writing and criticism shows how far it’s sunk.  I can only hope it’s a one-off aberration.

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12 minutes ago, Sim said:

Well if this is the kind of thing the younger generation are being fed and reading the ROH is fighting a losing battle trying to entice younger people in to see ballet...

 

Guess so, they'll come in and watch the ballet seeing it from their perspective...very different to ours, the older generation.

I think Bidisha, looking at her Bio on wikipedia, is no doubt an intelligent woman.

I feel her style of review aims at avoiding elitist, erudite writing as to not shy away the new younger generation.

An overly intellectual review risks alienating those who already think ballet and the ROH is elitist.

 

Laura Freeman wrote this week about the selfie-generation, more interested in taking pictures of themselves when at the ROH. 

https://www.spectator.co.uk/2019/11/be-more-carthorse-why-we-would-all-benefit-from-a-little-self-loathing/

 

 

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If you look back at Links for Sunday 3 November, you will see what I think was her first Observer review.  It provided every sign that she would write with a decided attitude.  (I recall seeing her fairly regularly on TV quite a while back, when Newsnight used to have a Friday Arts programme.)

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6 minutes ago, Xandra Newman said:

Guess so, they'll come in and watch the ballet seeing it from their perspective...very different to ours, the older generation.

I think Bidisha, looking at her Bio on wikipedia, is no doubt an intelligent woman.

I feel her style of review aims at avoiding elitist, erudite writing as to not shy away the new younger generation.

An overly intellectual review risks alienating those who already think ballet and the ROH is elitist.

 

I'm not sure perspective is always a generational thing; there are people of my generation who have a very different perspective from mine. Having said that, of course everyone coming to ballet for the first time will have their own perspective, and a good thing too.

 

When I was young (17) and first interested in ballet, I wanted intelligent, erudite writing to inform and elucidate me. Do the younger generation now not want that?? (And this is the Observer, not  for want a better comparison - the Sun, we're talking about. The Observer used to be aimed at people (of all ages) who relished intellectual challenge.)

 

Bidisha no doubt knows what she's doing in writing like this. All I can say is that intelligence doesn't necessarily equate with wisdom.

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1 hour ago, Jane S said:

 

That's a bit hard, isn't it? David Dougill had only just over 400 words to set the scene for general readers and then to review two casts, and he manages to praise 13 dancers by name - seems rather well balanced to  me!

 

I take your point, especially now that I've re-read his piece.

Of course,  the main reason for my post was to note the very different perspectives, opinions and styles of writing exhibited by David Dougill and Bidisha as being indicative of the widely varying views held by the 30 'critics' who voted for the NDA nominees.

I find Bidisha's 'comments' extraordinary and disrespectful; but I have heard similar at the ROH.

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I am sure Toria, and I know several young people who are highly educated and very well informed!  I didn't mean to say that the entire younger generation is like this and I hope I did not offend you. This was not my intention at all.

Maybe Bidiha's style of review and some of her remarks aim to attract a general more diversified public?

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Oh no, Xandra, I wasn't offended at all! I agree with you, I think that piece was written with younger readers in mind but I think Bidisha is very misguided in thinking that's how you appeal to a younger audience. Does she really expect us to laugh at a dumb tampon reference or cheer at a #metoo comment that doesn't really make sense?  Like bridiem said I'm sure we'd all rather read an informative, thoughtful review rather than that nonsense. I'm more offended at the idea that the Observer thinks that kind piece is the only thing my generation will read nowadays. 

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1 hour ago, Toria said:

I'm sure I count as part of the younger generation - I'm in my 20s - and that review nearly made me roll my eyes out of my head. Really obnoxious writing, I can't see it appealing to anyone. 

 
You beat me to it @Toria. Like you I was more offended with The Observer thinking that this the kind of writing that will attract more people our age to read their paper. 

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Cringing reading the Observer review. I was possibly most annoyed by the descrption of Ball's Florimund as "little", not only patronising but also inaccurate given he's one of the RB's taller men. I suppose at 34 I may still just about count as the younger generation & I certainly do not want to read reviews like that one.

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7 hours ago, capybara said:

Prowling and exultant, punchy and athletic

 

Unless the critic was actually watching Naghdi in La Bayadère, I can not imagine anyone associating her with the word “Prowling”, least of all in Sleeping Beauty!  Also, “punchy and athletic”?  These just aren’t words I would connect with someone so graceful, beautiful, classical and, when needed, regal.   What a bizarre review. 

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3 minutes ago, Anna C said:

 

Unless the critic was actually watching Naghdi in La Bayadère, I can not imagine anyone associating her with the word “Prowling”, least of all in Sleeping Beauty!  Also, “punchy and athletic”?  These just aren’t words I would connect with someone so graceful, beautiful, classical and, when needed, regal.   What a bizarre review. 

 

I share your thoughts Anna C

I can feel a letter to the Observer coming on...

 

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12 hours ago, zxDaveM said:

I share your thoughts Anna C

I can feel a letter to the Observer coming on...

 

I see your Comment on the 'review' has been removed by a moderator, zxDaveM. ?? Unfortunately, plenty of comments even if negative may be deemed to be a mark of success in some quarters.

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59 minutes ago, bridiem said:

 

I see your Comment on the 'review' has been removed by a moderator, zxDaveM. ?? Unfortunately, plenty of comments even if negative may be deemed to be a mark of success in some quarters.

 

Perhaps I was a bit too rude! 

Well, if 'success' a measure of how much of a hornets nest they stirred up, then success it is...

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