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A Dancer’s Craft

In response to:

Balanchine's Steps from the March 31, 1988 issue

To the Editors:

In response to Robert Craft’s review, “Balanchine’s Steps” [NYR, March 31], we offer the following sonnet, in the hope of raising one or two of the aesthetic issues he chose to dismiss.

To A Worthy Critic

Who is this muddled fellow, Robert Craft,
Who would have the dancer be a mute slave
Of steps, a muse expressing nothing? Daft
Is he, who searches for truth in the grave
Of modern beauty, who stirs dust and bones,
Who steals from this century’s fulsome tomb,
Who stamps vulgar scandal upon these stones,
Naming himself heir, counting rhythmic doom
When discords should forever rest in peace.
Here lies Stravinsky, and here Balanchine:
Shades of meaning and memory. Now cease
Making art a craft, or a heart obscene.

There is a love, harmony, if you will,
The dancer as actor is moving still.

Mr. Craft’s endorsement of amphetamine for a ballerina suffering from stomach flu (“this seemed justified, at least to this reader”) seems consistent with the overall sort of bromide he dispenses in the case of the modern god he so much admires.

For such maladies, unfortunately, there are no quick cures.

Greg Lawrence

Gelsey Kirkland

Weston, Connecticut

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