I recently wrote a piece for the Phoenix Dance Observer reflecting on my experience at the Breaking Ground 2016: Contemporary Dance and Film Festival. And apparently, the piece broke the Phoenix Dance Observer record for shares and views (all due to the strength of my writing of course--nothing at all to do with the size and scale of the festival compared to the other pieces the Phoenix Dance Observer usually covers). Facebook says it "reached" 2,566 people. I'm not sure what "reached" means, but 2,566 is more people than I know on Facebook or in real life. I feel like a celebrity, and will be moving to New York City soon to write for The Village Voice.
But actually, I do want to be writing more about dance. I think it is important for artists to be able to talk about other artists' work, not just our own, and to be able to articulate and describe what we do and why it matters to people who don't identify as artists. I like the way knowing I will be writing about a piece changes the way that I watch and take it in. I am interested in the challenge of finding words for an art form that constantly undercuts, defies, and cuts beyond verbal expression.
And I want to write in a way that will be constructive to our tender bud of a dance community here, supportive and respectful of the sacredness of other artists' artistic processes. And at the same time push for more rigor, and be true to (but also up front about) my own values, ethics, and aesthetics.
I don't know how to do all of this. In trying to figure out some ways, I have been digging in the itch journal zine, which describes itself as
an evolving art project qua artist forum cum journal/zine published two times a year. We publish poetry, political rants, scholarly work, one sentence email responses, cryptic fortune-cookie fortunes, photos, found images, etc., submitted from our highly elastic community of visual, performance, video, multi- and intermedia artists, dancers, choreographers, movers and the politically-inclined, all of whom have divergent interests and practices that constellate around an issue theme in a happenstance yet curiously fortuitous bricolage.
and of course I've been going to Claudia LaRocco, whose work makes me feel like like there's no reason to go see anything, since I can just read about it here, and the review itself is probably better poetry than the art it describes (and free).
I think criticism is one person’s flawed and subjective account of an experience. - Claudia LaRocco
I wrote about Breaking Ground in this spirit--trying to be up front about my subjectivity, sticking with the experiential. I steered clear of any actual "critique." Here is the link to the article I wrote; whether or not you decide to read it, I'd like to know:
Why do you (or don't you) read reviews?
What makes a review worth reading for you?
What is the value of subjectivity?
Lastly, if you are an artist, what do you get out of reading reviews of your own work? What kind of reviews are most useful to you?