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Anonymous Anonymous

I am a former performer, dancemaker, performing arts critic, teacher, and writer. How can iconoclastic thinking help us rethink the ways that American concert dance is critiqued, presented, and funded? My reflections on may include unpopular criticism of contemporary practices within American dance criticism, dance funding, and dance presenting. Because I wish for attention to be paid to my words and not on my image or assumed identity, I contribute anonymously in text only (rather than video). I take my username from a now defunct mid-20th century magazine called the Dance Observer. The magazine was founded in 1934 by the always controversial but deeply knowledgeable composer, presenter, editor, choreography teacher, and writer, Louis Horst (b. 1884; d. 1964). Mr. Horst was the musical director and composer for the early Martha Graham dance company. Dance Observer folded upon Mr. Horst's death in 1964. The magazine was famous for its iconoclastic criticism, including a much-debated blank portion of a page that responded to a dance by Paul Taylor in which Mr. Taylor was largely motionless while wearing a suit before doing extremely minimal movement (yes, this was during Mr. Taylor's very brief avant-garde phase). Dance Observer published such fine critics as Jill Johnston (still writing on her blog,, by the way). I am a part of the legacy of Mr. Horst and Dance Observer because I studied dance composition with Vera Blaine, the former assistant to Mr. Horst, and the legendary chair of The Ohio State University dance department. I am also linked to this heritage because I have made dances, performed, published dance reviews and features, taught dance composition, and served many times as a national adjudicator for dance. I am most grateful for your attention.