Times Joins SYTYCD Debate, Ignoring Some But Not All Blogs

Claudia LaRocco writes briefly in today’s NYTimes about TV show So You Think You Can Dance and whether it’s of any value in bringing concert dance to a larger audience. She didn’t mention the lively debate taking place on Apollinaire’s blog, in which I nominated the wonderful Rasta Thomas as “Ambassador of Dance.” Apollinaire sweetly made me feel good about the Times’ mention of him as well in that role, since when all the other nominations came in and people began talking, I felt really stupid, as if I’d nominated Playgirl’s Playmate of the Year (if they even have such a thing :) ) So, I’m glad the powers that be were on a similar wavelength :)

I’m also glad that Ms. LaRocco interviewed Kristin Sloan of the Winger to weigh in on the question, and so didn’t completely leave out the blogosphere. Unfortunately, SYTYCD was mentioned not once on the Winger. I don’t mean to be critical at all, it’s still my favorite dance blog and I dearly love many of the contributors, but I think with so many of them now, no one’s really in charge and everyone’s expecting someone else to take on the important issues, so the debates have been had elsewhere. I just wish the dance community was a bit more cohesive. I just feel sometimes like everyone’s writing, blogging, talking in a vacuum, and that’s unfortunate for dance because it cuts down the level of discussion…

Update: Kristin just published a really interesting post on a Chinese TV show on cable that she compared to our SYTYCD. I like the sound of this one! Okay, I take back what I said above :) :)

9 Comments

  1. I totally agree with your comments on dance blog and web cohesiveness (or lack thereof). There needs to be like, a dance bloggers union or something. Something that combines them all and makes them all more aware of each other. I only read a few, even though I know theres so many more out there than I pay attention to!

    I read that article too today (I picked up a copy of the Times at school) and wondered if there was going to be any mention of you or the other dance bloggers in it!

  2. Thanks so much for your comment, Ariel :) I really appreciate it :) I just feel like one of the reasons dance blogging is considered so poor (see: http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/theatre/2007/09/wheres_all_the_ballet_banter.html ) is that bloggers aren’t really reading each other’s blogs, connecting with each other. Sometimes when someone blogs about something, they completely ignore someone else who just wrote about it — and they may not have meant to ignore it; they may just have overlooked it — but then it prevents a certain amount of good discussion because you can’t have a one-person dialog!

  3. And also, to be honest, when I read LaRocco’s NYTimes article, I just felt a little bit let down, after having that great discussion on Apollinaire’s blog, where people (not me!!) spoke very eloquently about the issue and with more depth. People there actually gave REASONS why concert dance has generally different aims than what’s on TV and what those different goals are. The NYTimes article just spoke in generalities. And I understand part of why that is — newspapers give a relatively small amount of space for arts coverage, particularly dance. But then professional journalists can perhaps give more depth to their articles just with a quick link or something; they don’t have to go quoting something in detail. Bloggers get little enough recognition as it is! :) And I just often feel hungry for more critical analysis and discussion of dance everywhere — newspapers, magazines, blogs — there’s not enough of it anywhere!

  4. Man, I wish the dance blogging community could come together as much as some other blogging communities do… actually parts of it do, the tango blog community seems to be pretty vibrant and close-knit, but bloggers in other styles seem to be getting a slow start. I’ve noticed plenty of dance bloggers that write as if they’re talking from a soap box, and never acknowledge comments at all – and certainly never comment on others’ blogs. It seems like if someone ignores the commenting and community aspect of blogging, they’re missing out on where the most interesting and enjoyable part of the whole thing.

  5. I totally agree, Natalia! Comments are where the discussion really takes place. Yeah, like the political blogs and the gay and lesbian blogs (which are often political too) — everyone knows each other and comments back and forth and they’re so lively. The tango community IS really close-knit, I’ve noticed that. There seems to be a real commonality of experience there, and so many of them are living as expatriates in Argentina — they probably can relate to one another’s experiences well. Maybe dancers in other areas can’t do that as easily, or maybe there’s a lot of competition in certain areas — perhaps ballet — that impedes that.

    By the way, I just found out that the LaRocco article was likely written BEFORE all the back and forth on Apollinaire’s blog, so now I feel bad for being critical of the article at all! It seems from hanging out with my critic friends that they always have to make a mad dash home after a performance so they can write their review and hand it in about five minutes later, so I always just assume the article was written right before it was published, when, instead, often papers just wait until they have space, so the article can be sitting around for awhile. I have no idea what it’s like to write for a newspaper, so what do I know!? I’ve also been told that at least some critics, even from the Times (such as the writer of the aforesaid article) DO read blogs (at least some), so I shouldn’t be hasty to make judgments without knowing. I’m sure papers do probably severely limit what can and can’t be said… It’s an intriguing world to me — the world of arts journalism. Anyway, I still wish there was more discussion and dance analysis EVERYWHERE — in blogs, papers, magazines, everywhere, and the writer from London whom I linked to in the earlier comment, felt the same, so I know I’m not entirely out of it for thinking that!

  6. Ariel, I totally agree with you (and by the way I didn’t know about your blog before and look forward to reading it). There should be more cohesiveness.

    Natalia, your point is also important. The irony is that you help your own blog’s visibility by commenting on others’ blogs (like if you click on my name above this comment, it will link to my blog and you will read it and love it!! ahem, hopefully, that is…and then if you like my blog and link to it that will improve my blog in the rankings on things like google and technorati and then it will be more likely to come up on a web search, etc etc… ). I guess those that are “above the fray” don’t realize that or don’t care.

    It’s so so cool how with blogging we can engage in a totally open, free and uncensored dialogue about the things that are important to us without the filter of an editor or publication priorities. While newspapers are still kind of behind this trend (and rightfully so– I’m sure they feel a bit threatened by all this blogging getting news and ananlysis out more quickly than them), some are catching up. The Washington Post, for example, will display a list of who is blogging about a particular article on certain topics. Unfortunately the WP’s dance coverage sucks so that is not going to help us out too much.

  7. Hi Maria!

    It is really cool how the blogosphere is like that, isn’t it — how helping someone else out by commenting on theirs equals gaining yourself some exposure too. I also love WordPress’s pingback feature, where they’ll display another WordPress blog’s pingback as a comment, so everyone can see where another blog linked to your post. (Like yours above!)

    I noticed the NYTimes has a similar function, where they display a list of the most blogged about articles. Their list includes only the MOST blogged though, not ALL. Does the Post’s include all? I never see any of the dance articles listed under the “most blogged” in the Times, even the articles I know several bloggers have linked to. It’s mostly the articles dealing with politics and movies.

    I feel that for dance though often more is just said in a blog than an article — probably because of the formality and word count limitations. For example, I really prefer reading Apollinaire’s Foot in Mouth blog to many of the newspaper articles, probably because the blog is open for comments, and her blog attracts some really smart people. It would be interesting to see what happened if more newspapers allowed comments. Likely a bunch of very angry hot-headed dance patrons saying nasty things to a critic who felt differently about a piece than they, which is probably why most don’t allow them. I noticed that the Sun though is allowing comments. See for example: http://www.nysun.com/article/63071 — an article by Joel Lobenthal about the Suzanne Farrell movie I’d blogged about earlier.

  8. Tonya, the Post used to include a little box next to some articles called “who’s blogging about this article”. I just went to find an example of it to link to and now it is gone! Ah well. They do have a comments section, though, and a lot of the latest political news have active discussions going.

    On the other hand, here is an article about dance on TV from September 16th and there are zero comments.

    I have not really explored the Foot in Mouth blog much, I will add it to my feed and check out the discussion. There’s so much information out there it’s hard to filter it all!

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