Exercise more scrutiny

Review caused a stir


To the editor,

The Monday, February 22 review 'Zodiaque springs into action' caused a stir in the Center for the Arts, not because of negative connotations or opinions of the Zodiaque Dance Company concert, but because of the utter ineptitude with which the writer attempted to discuss an art form of which he knew nothing about.
If a sports writer does not know the difference between the outfield and the end zone, he would not be qualified to write for the sports desk, and would not be published. If a music critic could not distinguish Wagner from Mozart, he would not cover the BPO. How then, does the esteemed arts desk deem it appropriate to publish a review of a dance concert in which the writer does not know the difference between modern dance and hip-hop?
Let's set a few things straight.
1.'The dance company showcased eight brief dance skits featuring a wide range of music and rhythm … ‘the show was interesting, but the music didn't really match. It was more like it was tied together by the dancing.' ' Zodiaque's Concert is not a musical, nor an evening length continuous work, but a series of discrete choreographic works, (not dance 'skits') by individual choreographers. Each piece is therefore meant to be a unique work in itself, and not 'really match' with any other.
2. ' ‘Somebody's Gonna Luv U' … was the only dance that featured the better known modern dances, which even included an attempt at break dancing.' Modern dance is form of dance originating in the 20th century as a reactionary force to classical ballet. The UB curriculum, and that of most college dance programs is heavily based in Modern dance. Every work in the concert did indeed qualify as 'modern,' with the exception of the more vernacular hip-hop final piece.
3. Each work mentioned was discussed in terms of speed of movement, vaguely assuming a positive correlation between velocity and aesthetic value. No work was discussed in terms of expressivity, performance, artistry, or meaning. For example, Miserere, the 'slowest' and 'least exciting' work according to the author, is actually full of athleticism, and the spiritual connotations of Allegri's powerful music. The author gave no thought to the purpose of 'poses' in moments of stillness for emotional or thematic significance.
4. Costumes were not 'carefully chosen to contrast each other as well as represent the styles of the dance' but to complement the overall atmosphere and meanings of each respective piece. If the author had bothered to read the program he would have noticed that all new costumes were designed by a company member in the piece, and served to promote the essence of each new work. There was no mention of how the 'fancy dresses' of Fluttered complemented the graceful, exotic, and birdlike movement motifs, or how the costumes for Somebody's Gonna Luv U, reflected the vernacular movement style.
5. Also, is it not standard to include more than one quote in a review? The opinion of one environmental design major is indeed valid, but it seems to be the equivalent of asking an astrophysicist to discuss T.S. Eliot: not a member of the most qualified demographic.
We hope that The Spectrum in the future exercises more scrutiny over articles and encourages writers to actually research what it is they are writing about.

Sincerely,
Kerri Leonard
Junior dance major
kll7@buffalo.edu