Springing to a New Realm in Dance Writing

I admire dance critics, but I certainly don’t envy them.  Weekends spent in a dark theater hunched over a notepad; people you barely know pretending to be your best friend; the fate of their social media lives resting in your hands.

I think back to episodes such as the disastrous review of NYCB’s Nutcracker and the firestorm that followed Alastair Macaulay’s assessment of Jennifer Ringer and her cohort. Yeah, critiquing dance is something I really don’t aspire to do.

If I were to categorize myself as a writer, I guess I would fall somewhere between academic or scholarly writing and commentary.  As such, I struggle to keep up with the “news” aspect of dance.  I don’t see enough of it; I certainly can’t hold a candle in a conversation on who’s who’s of modern day dancers and choreographers.  That’s for the critics, I suppose…


I’m visiting St. Louis next weekend and have the opportunity to see the entirety of the Spring To Dance Festival, and it occurred to me that not writing on it would be missing out on a huge opportunity for me to experience personal growth as a writer, not to mention as an active participant in the dance community.  At the risk of being cheeky…  is it cool if I write non-critique-y critiques on what I see?


Among my top picks that I’m excited about are Pilobolus (who I’ve never seen live), Jennifer Muller / The Works, and one of my Chicago favorites, Lucky Plush Productions.  Check out the amazing line-up and let me know: who and what do you want to hear about?

Author: Lauren Warnecke

Lauren Warnecke is a freelance dance critic, contributing to the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Magazine. She is senior editor of See Chicago Dance. Lauren covers dance across the Midwest and writes regularly for Dance Magazine and Pointe with additional bylines in Milwaukee Magazine, St. Louis Magazine and Dance Teacher. Forthcoming publications include essays on ballet training in Chicago (University of Illinois Press) and Shirley Mordine (University of Akron Press). In 2020, Lauren published an opinion piece on the impact of COVID-19 on the arts in the South African journal Agenda. Lauren holds degrees in dance and kinesiology and has presented research on dance training practices at the National Dance Education Organization and the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science. She has co-facilitated critical dance writing intensives in Chicago and Durban, South Africa, and participated in writing residencies at the National Center for Choreography, Bates Dance Festival and JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience. Lauren teaches dance history and kinesiology for dancers, with part-time appointments at Loyola University Chicago and Illinois Wesleyan University.

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