If you were interviewed during intermission at the Northrop Dance presentation of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet (ASFB) performance at the State Theatre earlier this month, you might be featured in U of M student Cristeta Boarini's audio interview. The interview is one part of a multi-faceted dance criticism experiment initiated on Minnesota Playlist by dance critic Camille LeFevre. LeFevre asked a playwright, a theater critic, an architect, and Boarini to review the performance from their various perspectives and areas of expertise. You can find each review here as they are posted.
Boarini, a student in LeFevre's arts journalism course at the U, asserts that arts critics are like shepherds: they guide the flock with their informed opinion and cultured eye. She asked the audience three questions during the intermissions:
1. What was their first impression;
2. How do they compare/contrast contemporary and classic dance;
3. and finally, should ASFB should be invited back?
Well, as Boarini found out, this flock was pretty informed and cultured on their own.
First impressions were overwhelmingly centered on the pure athleticism of the company. Many people compared the contemporary choreography to the classic school of ballet, such as what was seen at Swan Lake in February. One woman distinguished the difference as a difference of audience involvement - with ASFB, she was drawn into the choreography, and as an audience member, felt she was more a part of the performance than in traditional classic ballet.
Should ASFB be invited back? Overwhelmingly, the answer was "yes!" One fellow said the performance was "very much fitting with the [...] breathtaking stuff that the Northrop Dance Series has done." And finally, for another enthusiastic audience member, the only question was "How soon?"
Cristeta Boarini is the host and managing editor for Culture Queue, an arts and culture radio program at the University of Minnesota's Radio K. A double major in journalism and film studies, Cristeta is an honors student who also studies French and comparative literature.