Ohad's Advice to Critics

November 22, 2009

For his acceptance speech at the Dance Magazine Awards on November 9, 2009, Ohad Naharin read from a “book” that he “found” in a “store” that morning. Taking his place at the podium, he held up the Dance Critic Manual, and proceeded to quote from its pages. If you weren’t familiar with Ohad’s sly sense of humor, you might have assumed this was a real book written by real critics. But no, these provisos were written by Ohad himself. Here are his words.

• Go see dance shows that you don’t have to write about.

• Don’t let a point of reference prevent you from having a moment of a fresh new experience.

• Connect to physical pleasures of life.

• Remember that there are always people in the audience who are at least as smart as you are (and it says here, “especially if you are from England”).

• Make sure you have lunch with Deborah Jowitt at least once in your lifetime.

• Never, never, write during the show, unless it is the likes of a fashion show, mime show, ice skating or a beauty contest.

• You don’t have to understand the work you are watching. The creator most likely doesn’t care to be understood; he/she just wants to be loved.

• Remember, if you can describe what you are watching you are probably watching bad choreography.

• If you didn’t change your mind lately, you are probably wrong (again it says, “especially if you are from England”).

• Dance yourself a few minutes every day, until you sweat and/or you are experiencing a burning sensation somewhere in your flesh.

• Watch stuff with your eyes going out of focus; you will see more and miss less.

• While watching a dance, don’t look for national, geographic connotations. Anyway it’s almost never there.