Merilyn Jackson’s paper has been accepted at The 4th International Conference on the Arts in Society to be held during the Venice Biennale in July. Her paper is entitled The Changing Roles of a Dance Critic: Chronicler, Channeler, Champion, Curmudgeon, Co-Conspirator, Catalyst, Celebrant, Cicerone, etc.
“Contemporary dance critics and dance writers play different roles than other critics. In addition to responsibilities to editors and publications, they serve a committed dance community and an enthusiastic, but increasingly less informed dance-consuming public. Inevitably, they are implicated in the lives and work of local dancers, choreographers, dance companies and producers. Thus, to write about dance today means assuming a variety of roles, some of which become challenging to explain, or maintain. In essence, this raises questions: what is or should be the role of the dance critic, especially in a digital world? To whom or what does dance writing respond? This paper will reflect on my own experience (in Philadelphia, Phoenix and on-line) as well as the roles of dance critics in major American cities, including New York and Los Angles. I will discuss the sate of dance writing today, the multiple roles of dance critics and argue for an expansion of these roles and suggestions for yet more.”
ABOUT MERILYN JACKSON
Merilyn Jackson regularly writes on dance for The Philadelphia Inquirer and national dance magazines, including Dance and Pointe. Her articles on dance, theater, literature, food and travel have appeared in publications as diverse as The New York Times, Arizona Highways, The Philadelphia Daily News, The Warsaw Voice, Philadelphia Magazine and MIT’s Technology Review. In 2005, The National Endowment for the Arts awarded her a Critic’s Fellowship to Duke University’s Institute for Dance Criticism. She writes for www.exploredance.com. She served on the boards of the Arizona Dance Alliance (four years) and the Dance Critics Association (six years) and was co-chair of the 1999 2000 Feet DCA Conference and the 2004 30th Anniversary DCA Conference, both held in Philadelphia. Currently, she is working on an anthology of food essays, Amuse Bouchées; and a book that chronicles the evolution of Philadelphia’s dance community over two decades, “United We Dance.”