In his NYTimes review of Giselle performed by the Bolshoi at Kennedy Center, Alastair Macaulay offers the following observation:
“The most notable difference was that here, instead of the phenomenal series of entrechat-six on the spot he used to do with Ballet Theater (so exceptionally lucid in the glittering crisscross of his feet in the air that some fans swore they were entrechat-dix, a much rarer step), he performed, as do most Russian dancers, two diagonals of brise’s: a shimmering step in which the dancer seems to hover as he crosses the stage, his feet and legs crossing diagonally in the air ahead of his body. But Mr. Halberg didn’t bring these the frightening power which Mikhail Baryshnikov and Vyacheslav Godeyev illumined them. I wish he’d try a single diagonal interspersed with brise’s vole’s, as Alexei Fadeyechev did when this production was young.” (NYT 5/22/14)
Yes, well, who of us doesn’t remember that!
What is it about the snobbery of this writing that’s so irritating? Is it that the writer is more interested in talking to himself than connecting with his readers? Or is it the hypocrisy of reading this in a newspaper that pretends to disdain the 1% while sprinkling jejune blather throughout its special sections. I suppose it’s preferable to read this pretentious braggadocio as opposed to Macaulay’s attacks on female dancers’ bodies and their lack of physical perfection. Or to read his piece on “Nakedness in Dance, Taken to Extremes,” (NYT 8/19/13) in which he keeps that British upper lip stiff while choosing to review choreographed anal sex as if it were as suitable for his attention as Giselle, par exemple.
De ma part, I prefer a straight-talking critic who speaks English and doesn’t have to rely on brise’s vole’s which sound as if they belong in the Dining Section - perhaps a French veal chop that no virtuous teenager would ever touch. I think a man who relies on those to make a point would also summon up his phelgm to say Van Chuch instead of Van Go like we do on this side of the pond. I reckon that Mark Twain would’ve known how to deal with that kind of pseudo-intellectual puffery and that Ernest Hemingway would have simply punched him in the nose.
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