Gushing 'Sycophantic Sludge' Over Deborah Hay

RECEIVED Wed., April 21, 2010

Dear Editors,
    Regarding “No Time to Fly” [Arts Review, April 16], I can’t believe that there are those who continue to gush sycophantic sludge over Deborah Hay. Call it theatre if you must, but dancing it ain’t, and I couldn’t care less how many awards, fellowships, grants, and boot-lickings she has won. The boards of directors at most of these philanthropic organizations are bankers, lawyers, and socialites who know zilch about artistic merit or whether the emperor has any clothes. Academics will have conferences to discuss anything: the significance of pubic lice in the 15th century and how it must have inspired the Age of Exploration, and they will fill volumes with their opinionated and learned articles. Just because Ms. Hay must perforce perform something obscure, opaque, and “avant-garde” for lack of any discernible talent or technique on her part doesn’t make it good dancing.
    I danced for years in New York with a classical ballet company, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, which toured the world dancing in some of the most prestigious festivals and theatres on earth. While in New York, I took classes at the Graham Studio, with Alvin Ailey’s and José Limón’s companies, and I learned that really first-class modern dancing requires top-of-the-line training, talent, and technique. Deborah Hay may have “broken ground” in choreography, but so did Isadora Duncan, and no one could ever call her a great artist. Ditto Jacqueline Susann in literature with her oversexed, trite novels. But worthwhile art? Hardly!
    As for the embarrassing poem by Andrew Long, well – obviously there must be a tremendous appetite for wretched writing in this town, or as he put it:
    though this time it could mean this:
    Or it could mean absolutely nothing. Have you ever considered that you might be the victims of one of the biggest scams in the history of the performing arts? Well, I have. Deborah Hay needs to fly: offstage and never return.
Technically yours,
Mike McKinley
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