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Talking Moves

Oct 15, 2021

In this episode, we talk to Isaac Ouro-Gnao and Donald Hutera about the role of Feedback & Criticism.

Every artist making work and putting it out there into the world is inviting an opinion of some kind: be that from their immediate collaborators, their performers, the raised eyebrow of a parent or mentor, their audience, or critics. Feedback is so useful to the artistic process, but it’s hard to take at times. And perhaps also, hard to give. In this episode we talk to two artists to find out a bit more about the art of critique, its relevance today and how we can, perhaps as an industry, do it better.

Our guests have a foot in both camps – working as artists but also as published journalists. So as people of words we start off by defining some… analysing the words ‘review’, ‘feedback’ and ‘criticism’ and establishing whether they were interchangeable or if there were notable differences. We decide that perhaps feedback is for artists and reviews serve as documentation or for audience information. It was the word criticism everyone feels a little more uncomfortable with…

Donald and Isaac both share instances where they had felt criticised in print, and how they dealt with conflicting opinions. We talk about ethics: permission, recognising objectivity is impossible, that there is no right or wrong (only opinion) and that sometimes feedback (and reviews) are not actually wanted. We conclude that the hunger to know more about artists and their work and dialogue are both key to useful criticism.

The subject of diversity of voices threads its way through our conversation and we discuss ways we might better achieve a multiplicity of voices within the industry of dance journalism that is in itself diminishing.

But perhaps most importantly we talk about responsibility – and what those who have a voice can do to shine the spotlight and give over some space to voices that are lesser heard.

You may like to dip into the following articles before or after you listen…

The Stage feature: Race and Theatre Criticism We Need Critical Change

The Stage feature: Race and Theatre Criticism On Writing about Race Equity’s Recommendations for Theatre Critics

Talking Moves is a Greenwich Dance production
Presented by Melanie Precious
Production by Carmel Smith, Lucy White and Melanie Precious

Recording date: Wednesday 21 July 2021