The Dance Criticism of Arlene Croce

Articulating a Vision of Artistry, 1973–1987


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About the Book

Prominent dance critic Arlene Croce wrote for The New Yorker during the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s. Through more than 200 critiques in that magazine, she confirmed a classical aesthetic framework for dance, influencing the work of numerous contemporary critics as well as the tastes of audiences. This book explores that framework and provides an interpretive analysis of the biographical, professional and historical elements that contributed to the context of Croce’s work. Topics include Croce’s predecessors in dance criticism, relevant twentieth-century contemporaries and the journalistic philosophy of The New Yorker.
Providing 10 of Croce’s essays in their entirety, the author discusses the three specific elements of artistic excellence that Croce consistently used in her evaluations: sympathetic musicality, Apollonian craftsmanship and the enlivening force of tradition. Special attention is given to the literary and rhetorical qualities of Croce’s work. Finally, appendices offer a detailed subject breakdown of topics in Croce’s essays, listing (by frequency of appearance) dance companies, dancers, choreographers, dance styles, ballets, and themes.

About the Author(s)

Marc Raymond Strauss is a professor emeritus of theater and dance from Southeast Missouri State University.

Bibliographic Details

Marc Raymond Strauss
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 208
Bibliographic Info: appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2005
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2350-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1136-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Preface      xi

Introduction      1

1. Historical Foundations      11

Essay: “Joffrey Jazz”      17

2. Arlene Croce’s Professional Heritage      24

Essay: “Momentous”      34

3. The New Yorker      40

Essay: “What You See Is What You Get”      47

4. The Ethics of Dance Criticism      52

Essay: “The Mercists”      62

5. Theoretical Models from Literary Analysis      67

Essay: “Think Punk”      88

6. Croce’s Use of Rhetorical Devices      94

Essay: “So Rare”      100

7. Croce-as-Audience and Croce-as-Critic      105

Essay: “Paging Mr. Astaire”      117

8. Arlene Croce’s Aesthetic Framework      124

Essay: “Mark Morris Comes to Town”      144

9. The Visceral Vitality of Dance      148

Essay: “Modern Love”      162

10. Summary and Conclusions      166

Essay: “Institutions”      170

Appendix: Topics in Croce’s Essays (in Order of Frequency)      177

Bibliography      181

Index      189

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