Dance performance video critique

Watch both videos: Alonzo King, Lines Dance Company (Resonance I and Dust and Light – excerpt)
Watch a Dance Performance and write a Critique:  Students must watch one dance performance online and write a 2 page critique on the performance.
Students are encouraged to take notes while watching the performance and I would suggest writing your critique as soon as possible after viewing the video while the information is still fresh in your mind.  Papers should discuss specific information regarding the performance (group/company performing, place, costumes, dancers, lighting, and movement style) but mostly concentrate on the movement aspects of the performance as well as relate back to material covered in the textbook. What does the movement say about society and the world today?  Do you see familiar patterns or themes being explored in the work?  Do the performance/performers speak to relevant societal issues today?  Guidelines for Viewing a Dance Performance:When writing a dance critique, there are many things to consider prior to the performance. Who is performing? Are they professionals or amateurs? Is it a new work or classic choreography reset? Who are the choreographers? Are they known for other works? It is important to meditate carefully on the performance prior to seeing it so you can take as much from it as you can.When viewing a performance be an active participant, dont be a passive consumer.  Work as hard at viewing the piece as the choreographer did making the work.  Consult your program notes when writing critiques.During the performance, there are also many things to consider that should be incorporated into your writing process. What style of dance is it? Is the performance experimental or conventional? What are the cultural implications of the performance? How do elements of the performance, such as lighting, scenery, and costume, enhance the choreography?If a performance is very abstract, take as much from it as you can and strive to deliver your opinion of it as clearly as possible in your writing. Remember that there is no right answer since art is abstract and everyone responds to art differently.There is a lot to take in when viewing dance, and it can be easy to forget aspects of the performance. It is helpful to bring a notebook and pen to jot down notes and initial reactions to the performance that you may forget later on. Also, write the paper as soon as possible after the performance to prevent a foggy recollection.If there is a talk-back at the end of the performance, at which the choreographers and/or dancers answer questions and explain the performance more thoroughly, it is highly advisable to stay. It can offer you some insight into the choreographer’s motivation as well as uncover some of the meaning of the performance.Guidelines for Writing About a Dance Performance:The opening statement of your critique should draw the reader in.  Be creative.  Tell the reader where and when the concert took place.When writing about choreographers, always identify them by name.  Try to get inside the head of the choreographer.  What were the choreographers intentions and were they successfully communicated?  What do you think the choreographer was trying to say with the dance, or what did the dance say?  Try to have a thematic focus when writing your critique.  Were the themes of the individual piece clear?  What was the dance about?  Analyze the symbolism.  Does it relate to current events?Discuss the choreography.  Did the choreography flow, what were the dynamics, how did it move in space and what were the motivations for the movements?  Make general comments but also include detailed descriptions.  Try to give at least one specific movement image.  Example:  In another vignette, a woman seated properly, perpendicularly, on a bench, begins to tilt at an angle.  As her legs leave the floor and her torso leans to the side, both she and the bench seem to levitate a little above the floor.  Vienna-Lusthaus (revisited); Reviewed by George Jackson: Dance Magazine, May 2003: 79.
What thoughts or feelings did the concert or piece evoke?  In constructing your critique, reflect on why you may have had certain reactions.  Always back up your assertions, positive or negative with concrete examples.  Dont just be a negative critic; offer your thoughts in a constructive way.  Comment on the music and identify the composer(s) and musician(s) when possible.  What was the relationship of the dance to the music?  Did the music play an important role in the performance?  Was the music live, pre-recorded or some combination of both? What difference did it make?  Did the form of the music influence the form of the dance or vice versa?Were the dances well-rehearsed and/or well performed? Support your comments with specific examples. Did the dancers work together well in the ensemble pieces?Were the makeup, props (if used), and costumes appropriate?  Discuss the scenic design, lighting design, and overall use of the theatre space.  When speaking about any element of design, you must include the designers’ names.Comment on the overall production; give the reader a sense of what it looked like.  What was your reaction to the concert as a whole?  How did the piece or pieces connect?Each critique should reach a conclusion regarding the performance.    Mechanics: Do not write in the first person.  Your essay, paying attention to grammar, neatness and spelling, should be as thorough as possible. All critiques must have a title page, which will include your name, performance attended, date, and course name.The ticket stub and/or verification from the performance must be attached to each critique.Only typed papers, two pages, double-spaced, in standard 12 font, with one inch margins on all sides, are acceptable; do not justify right margin.  Check your computer for margin settings.  Read other critiques in Dance Magazine, if necessary. Tell the reader the name of the performance and/or the name of the company. Identify the composer(s), choreographer(s) and title(s) of the work(s) you have chosen to discuss.  When writing about a specific dancer(s) identify them, when possible.  Dance Critique Pet Peeves: When writing about the subjects below:Refer to male dancers, men or danseurs (if classical ballet) NOT men dancers, boys, guys or malesRefer to female dancers, women or ballerinas (if classical ballet) NOT women dancers, girls, gals, chicks or femalesRefer to a piece, work or dance NOT routine or act Refer to movements NOT movesRefer to live music NOT live musiciansRefer to recorded or pre-recorded music NOT taped music
Refer to danced together or in unison NOT in sync or synchronizedRefer to the performance or the concert NOT the show, play or recitalDO use both names (“Catherine Zeta-Jones danced well in Chicago” or “Ms. Zeta-Jones danced well in Chicago.”)DO NOT use first names only to refer to dancers (“Catherine danced well in Chicago”)  DO NOT write in the first personDO NOT make general assumptions for the audienceDO NOT include title page information on first page of critique (name, date, professor’s name, class, performance)DO NOT switch tenses;            Example when to alternate tense; (Serenade was performed poorly yet it is a choreographic triumph.)            Example when not to alternate tense;(On Friday night the dancers appeared tired which causes the choreography to be lack luster.)DO NOT identify the performers in a list from the program notes.ExamplesThis is poor example of an opening paragraph because it does not grab the readers attention and only lists information readily found in the program. Also it does not provide the reader with any additional information or insights into the performance.  At 8:00 PM on February 27th, 2004, Les Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo, directed by Serge Diaghilev, performed Symphonie Fantastique at the Maggio Musicale in Florence, Italy.  The choreography was done by Lonide Massine.  This ballet consisted of five movements.  The set was created by Christian Brard, executed by Prince A. Schervachidze.  The costumes were designed by Christian Brard.  Costumes for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th movements were made by Madame Karinska.  The costumes for the first and fifth movements were made by Madame Larose.  The ballet premiered July 24th, 1936 at Covent Garden, London, England, and was conducted by Efrem Kurtz.  Performing lead roles were, Lonide Massine and Tamara Toumonova. Also dancing were Tatiana Riaboushinska, Alexandra Danilova, Yurek Lazowski, Vera Zorina, Marc Platoff, Vera Volkova, Igor Youchkevitch and George Zoritch. Hector Berlioz did a great job composing both the music and the libretto for this performance.This is a good example of a description of a piece.  It captures the sense and feeling of the piece and draws the reader in and makes the audience want to see and experience the performance themselves.Amelia Koper, in collaboration with the dancers, composed a piece to the song Coney Island Baby by Lou Reed. Danced by an even number of people, there were chemistries created and relationships to be inferred by the audience as two dancers would move according to each other. This piece, like most others of the performance, exhibited a close connection between music and movement. It was as if the choreographer drew significance and meaning


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