The Mariinsky Ballet in Balanchine's "Rubies," photo courtesy Mariinsky Ballet
I've just read Emma Sandall's piece on hyperextension and the 180-degree position. It's intelligent, interesting, well-written. But there are a few mistakes and some misleading remarks. I can't resist writing the following.
1. If Guillem says Fonteyn said would have lifted her leg higher if she could, then that's what Guillem says.
But she's wrong. Keith Money's book "Margot Assoluta" (published in 2000) includes a photo of Fonteyn in rehearsal doing a seconde almost to shoulder-height: she told Money "I can get the leg that high—but it ruins the line." Fonteyn wanted level hips, something crucial to many ideas of placement but not discussed by Sandall.
During his tenure at The New York Times, Alastair Macaulay has not been accused of being timid. Or boring. As the newspaper's chief dance critic, he has probably been the most talked-about writer in the dance world. His raves and his pans have become their own news; his words have led to as much chatter backstage as on social media.
At the end of this year, he's passing the baton along to a new critic. (His replacement hasn't yet been announced.) Although he'll still contribute to the Times' dance section through 2019, he says he wants to spend more time in his native UK, and work on a wider variety of projects, including several books.
Before he departs from his post, we took the opportunity to ask him a few of our most burning questions, and he agreed to respond over email.
For Dance Magazine's 90th anniversary issue, we wanted to celebrate the movers, shakers and changemakers who are having the biggest impact on our field right now. There were so many to choose from! But with the help of dozens of writers, artists and administrators working in dance, the Dance Magazine staff whittled the list down to those we felt are making the most difference right now.
Click through the links below to find out why they made our list.
If you had a dollar for every cup of coffee spilt over an Alastair Macaulay review, you could put a down payment on a Brooklyn studio. The British-born Macaulay became The New York Times' chief dance critic in 2007. Since then his reviews, often personal in tone, filled with reminiscences as well as dance history, have generated their share of controversy—and buzz. Even his favorite dancers, like David Hallberg, are not immune from criticism. And few current dancemakers are deemed worthy of his choreographic pantheon, where Balanchine, Ashton and Cunningham reign supreme.
But despite his quirks, Macaulay has drawn fresh attention—and many would argue fresh audiences—to dance. Some companies have found that a positive review feeds ticket sales on tour; others that a negative one chills box-office sales overnight. His passionate critiques, pro or con, appeal to readers who have come of age in the unvarnished world of social media.