The Arts section of Sunday’s Washington Post was dominated by articles analyzing the cultural importance of the Ballet Russes and its role in European modernism. For Post dance critic Sarah Kaufman, it represented “The ascent of men, the haven for gays.”
This ballet troupe was a “tremendous force in modern art and modern mores” all the way back in the 1920s, as the focus on male dancers and the ballet's sexual sensibility could represent “one big orgy” or “a living wet dream”:
The Washington Post achieved something dubious on Monday. They attacked Herman Cain as “more style and substance” – in an article from the Post dance critic that was all about his hand gestures.
Dance critic Sarah Kaufman concluded that “Cain’s magic involved some sleight of hand. His larger-than-life physical bluster was aimed at churning up an emotional response. It didn’t prompt his audience to think so much as to cheer. As much as Cain’s speeches offered a multi-sensory experience for the audience and performer alike, they were also bodily evidence of more style than substance.”
Washington Post arts writer Sarah Kaufman, who just two weeks ago celebrated the new ballet where George W. Bush assaults women and kills them, mentioned that and other "anti-war" (not "Bush-hating") dance works as her highlights of 2006 in the Sunday Arts section:
In the past year dancers have given the term "antiwar movement" new meaning. One legacy of the bloody, intractable Iraq war may well be its role as an artistic inspiration.
Starting with American Ballet Theatre's revival of Kurt Jooss's "The Green Table" at the Kennedy Center last February, protest works have made an impact, as company directors have put uneasy -- even brutal -- views of war onstage.
Two of the works felt especially political. ABT performed Jooss's 1932 treatise on bureaucrats with blood on their hands the very night that President Bush was delivering his State of the Union address. A coincidence, probably, but a particularly delicious Washington moment nonetheless.
It was artistically rich as well. This work, a historical treasure of enduring relevance, is full of drama and outsize characterizations: the stuffed-shirt politicians who drive the conflict but remain at a safe distance, soldiers in battle, mourning women and the magnetic figure of Death, which dancer David Hallberg injected with arrogance, charisma, menace and seductiveness. He was a stalker and a lover: the ultimate predator. This work makes its point with eloquent economy: What begins at a conference table ends in hell.
They also followed that party line in Kansas City. But Googling also found that Sarah Kaufman also whacked at Bush and the oblivious people who voted for him on December 9 in telling readers what to go out and see:
IF THE SEASON IS getting too predictable -- too many Sugarplum Fairies, too much "Messiah" -- the Paul Taylor Dance Company offers a tempting antidote. Never sweet, sometimes sour, often sardonic, Taylor puts a refreshingly clear-eyed spin on things in his upcoming program of four works. His 2005 work, "Banquet of Vultures," takes on the cruelties of war, dogmatic leadership and an oblivious populace. (Hmm, what could have inspired that?)