The Creative Process
Photo by Earl Wilson, courtesy Macaulay

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.

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News
Ballet Nacional Chileno performing at International Ballet Festival of Miami. Photo by Karima Arabia, via internationalballetfestival.org

This month, Dance Magazine will receive the Criticism & Culture of Ballet award from the International Ballet Festival of Miami, in honor of the magazine's dedication to promoting dance around the world. It will be presented during the festival's closing night gala on August 19.

This award for dance journalism honors those who have diligently recorded ballet history. The festival's late founder, Pedro Pablo Peña, created it because he felt that without the writing of dance journalists, the history of dance would be lost, as would the future of dance.

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Popular
LINES dancer Adji Cissoko. Photo by Quinn Wahrton

Points should be given to the dance world for beginning to address the issue of diversity. But have we ever taken into consideration who critiques dance—and the lack of diversity in that area of our community? Or how critics' subconscious biases create barriers to the elevation of non-white artists?

Recently, Charmian Wells wrote a scathing critical analysis of New York Times dance critic Gia Kourlas' review of DanceAfrica. Entitled "Strong and Wrong: On Ignorance and Modes of White Spectatorship in Dance Criticism" it took Kourlas to task for critiquing from a place of cultural and technical ignorance.

Forces of Nature Dance Theatre, which performed at DanceAfrica. Photo via Facebook.

Reviews are part of the life blood of artistic sustainability—funders, agents, bookers and audience members use them as guides. Dance critics have a responsibility to the community to do, and be better, or at least have the courage to let the reader know what they don't understand.

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