Rethinking All That Moving Around

Western dance – particularly ballet – has emphasized athleticism (and thereby youth). But more and more, dancers are exploring the Asian tradition, which is less athletic, and concentrates more on the upper body. “By the time critics notice something in art, artists have almost always long since led the way. So it is with Asian dance and its impact on the West, which has by now insinuated itself into our dance vocabulary. Ballet remains popular, and rightly so: there is something thrilling about artistically inflected athletic accomplishment, and we’ll always respond to that. But feats of studly skill are not all there is to dance, and Asians know it.”