In the past 30 years, dance criticism has twice been the central theme of Tanz im August. Getting upset over criticism and critics and disqualifying them as clueless phrasemongers is nothing new. Nor is the passion of critics for their work. Theodor Fontane, who wrote detailed theatre reviews for the Berlin-published Vossische Zeitungin the 1880s, lamented his arduous occupation:
“You sit down and have three hours to write an incredibly long critique of a very –I’m sure I don’t need to tell you this – difficult subject. There is already a girl all rugged up standing behind you with a one Mark coin in her hand, waiting to jump in a first-class cab. Everything is done in haste, fear, and agitation, and yet the miserable old man is still sitting at his desk poring over the pages and, and he’s still not finished.”
(Petra Kohse: “Aggressive in Praise as well”, nachtkritik.de, January 2009)
And it’s still like that today. The feeling of imperfection is a constant companion to the dance critic. The “question of how possible it is to describe movement and dance” became a central topic for TanzWerkstatt in 1989.