Covering dance in Montreal is intense to say the least. I've been at it for three years and for half of that time I have been making due with a biweekly column (give or take a few articles). Such a schedule is a decent output but not frequent enough to cover all the performances I see in this city nor is the space adequate enough to include thoughts I have about dance beyond Montreal's city limits. Thus a blog. I hope with "En Pointe" to supplement my column with news, thoughts and impressions about dance I think worth sharing but unable to put in a conventional piece. As I wrote in "Footnotes: Why I Read (and Write) Dance Criticism" (republished in Dance International, Winter 2004/5) I believe that this art form, which I love so much, does not get the attention it deserves. This blog is one small attempt to help rectify that oversight.
Here in Montreal, we are certainly luckier in our local dance writing than other cities are with theirs. We are fortunate to have regular coverage in both English and French publications by many good dance writers like Philip Szporer (The Hour), Victor Swoboda (The Gazette), Frédérique Doyon (Le Devoir) and Stéphanie Brody (La Presse), to name just a few of Montreal's valuable dance critics and the publications which give them space.
More can be done, though, especially on the Web to get out the word to others beyond Montreal (and contemporary dance enthusiasts elsewhere in the know) what a vibrant scene exists here. At the same time, I hope to share news from beyond this city (indeed, this province and this country) about dance in other parts. Part of this need comes from the fact that I am an American who has lived here for only a few years and my foundation in dance was formed back in the United States. From my outsider/insider perspective, as I learn more and more about the scene I cover here, I feel that keeping an eye about what is going on back in the ol' U.S. of A as well as in other places in the world is essential to bringing an informed mind to local performances and specific issues in this dance community.
But if I am indeed a Montreal dance writer, despite my background, just why is this blog called "En Pointe," given that there are few toe shoes to be seen here? Part of the reason is that the web editor came up with this name as it captures the nature of a blog, is French as befitting the first language of this city and is a dance term-and unfortunately, I couldn't come up with anything different that would satisfy his requirements! (As far as I am concerned, the great dance critic Arlene Croce for her books came up with all the best titles.) A better reason, though, is that the title is in homage to Erin Flynn's dance blog "En Volant: A Montreal Dancer's Diary" which used to run on this website. I have missed Erin's dancer perspective-it was a truly inside point of view that we need more of, not less. As Philip Szporer remarked on a recent dialogue on dance that ran on artsjournal.com: we need our artists to speak up strongly and articulately about why they make art. Erin did that admirably and I miss her presence.
While I cannot fill the void she left, I hope to be informative as much as a spectator of dance can be. I also invite you to leave any thoughts you may have or notices about upcoming performances or any other dance-related news.
Here's to a brave new year in dance!