Berna Kurt (2008)
We use an amazing quantity of terms to classify dances: performance, choreography; tanztheater, ballet, neo-classical, expressionism, modern dance, contemporary dance; ethnic, folk or social dance… And there is a hierarchy between those dance genres: ballet dancers despise “hermetic” contemporary dancers; “transnational” contemporary dancers dislike too easy and “local” folk dances.
Always more or less arbitrary, it is not the classification, then, that matters for critical appreciation. As all dance genres are historically defined, the boundaries between them are ambiguous and always shifting. That’s why dance criticism wouldn’t have to distinguish genres but dramaturgical, artistic or choreographic strategies.
(This short paper's translation in German is published in the newspaper "Der Standard" -in the framework of "Critical Endevaour" programme during ImPulsTanz 2008 in Vienna)