In Luke Jennings’ review of Babel and Political Mother for The Observer on Sunday 23 May he writes: “Dramaturgs are the management consultants of the dance world, comfortably digging themselves into productions before toxifying them with theory and conceptual waffle”. 

Raymund Hoghe – dramaturge to Pina Bausch for 10 years
Andre Lepecki – dramaturge to Meg Stuart 
Guy Cools -– dramaturge to Akram Khan

Have these people really toxified the work of Khan, Stuart and Bausch?

I hate being critical of critics (it’s hard for it not to sound so petty) but Jennings’ comments tend to exacerbate the theory/feeling dichotomy in dance in the UK. That is, dance is either something that makes you think or makes you feel (and that the latter is preferable), and that it can’t be an experience that results in audiences slipping through and across thinking–feeling.  

Some other writing here: 

3 Replies to “toxification”

  1. I agree with you Simon. I also, however, get annoyed when dramaturgs, who have little understanding of dance, are brought into dance projects and begin to remove all the dance until only the images are left.Nice to know where your buttons are.

  2. Hey Jacob …I guess, on the other hand, it’s not their job to keep the dance in a work regardless of whether or not it’s appropriate. But, I know what you mean, and perhaps this just comes down to ensuring a creative team has a strong sense of what purpose(s) they are serving (individually and collectively) … even if these roles are quite blurred. Happy to share my buttons any time.

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