Wednesday, November 13, 2019
More sparkling prose from Denby
Here are three paragraphs from "About Ballet Decoration" from Denby (1944). He presents a theoretical framework and writes a 6 paragraph essay with some concrete examples. The middle paragraph here consists of three sentences, relying heavily on the verb "to be." The other verbs are fairly ordinarily ones to, like know, make, hold, look. The next paragraph explain how a ballet set can be "pictorially alive," by doing "different and opposite things decisively."
My aim is to write this way about music. The thing about dance is that is is visual but also kinetic, performative, and auditory. So writing about it has to take into account multiple dimensions. Look how Denby summarizes here what makes a ballet "alive and satisfactory."
I would say a poet can write good dance criticism because poets are also in the business of writing something that holds the interest for "hundreds of years." Denby's own poetry is odd, and I will have to read more of it to comment on it with the required degree of acumen. Right now it seems quirky, comic, and dependent on rhyme in a funny way you wouldn't expect, but that's just a first impression.