I’ll forgive Ms. La Rocco for apparently not reading our review of Jeremy Wade’s “…and pulled out their hair.” I’m sure she’s busy, what with all the insightful, awesome reviews she writes. (I’m being serious here.)
But I cringed (on the inside) when I read the first line of her review:
For one night at least, the cool kids took over the Joyce SoHo.
While, on one hand, I kind of agree with her (Wade is one cool cat), the phrase “cool kids” expresses an attitude toward the artist (and company) as juvenile (kids on a playground) and a regard for the work as without substance (like how social popularity frequently occurs despite any noticeable achievement by the individual on whom it is bestowed). It’s a backhanded way to say Wade’s work is edgy.
The only reason I haven’t given Claudia the full DUCHY, is for this insightful point about the skill involved in executing Wade’s thorny movement patterns:
You could easily bat this away as flailing, but the skill needed to sustain such muscular spasms is no small thing. (Virtuosity does not reside simply in making beautiful feats look easy.)
And yet, in the end, I still feel like La Rocco didn’t challenge herself in terms of analysis. Why is Wade’s movement not beautiful. How is that preconception formed, and what does it mean to present its antithesis as dance? Alas, this is the great failing of news-media criticism. Everyone wants to talk style , form and technique. Then when a work with challenging content comes along, the call to critique is waived and the work is passed off as juvenile.
Note to La Rocco (and all the old critics): It is possible for younger people to say something that you don’t readily understand. And not because it lacks substance; rather, because it is a new perspective.