“That’s Not Dance” An All-Purpose Template For Lamenting the State of the Art

Convinced that dance today is a tragic deterioration of the art? Want to write a strongly-worded opinion piece about it, but don’t feel like putting the words together yourself? Whether you want to complain about contemporary ballet, postmodern concert dance, competition dance, or music videos, this template has you covered: just fill in the brackets!


Dance used to be a true art form, which carried a meaning and a purpose. But it seems like most of what passes as “dance” these days is just a glorified series of people [insert simplistic movement description*] onstage.

(*Note: it doesn’t really matter what genre of movement you choose–this sentence frame makes almost anything sound especially un-artistic. For instance try: rolling around on the floor, sticking their legs up by their ears, prancing around on their toes, shaking their hips, twitching robotically, stomping noisily.)

It may be simply that in an age of [insert two recent technologies or pop culture phenomena that invoke generational panic*], audiences are no longer able to appreciate the more nuanced expression of true art.

(*Ex: iPhones and selfie sticks, AOL and American Idol, telegraphs and romance novels)

As I look at the performers onstage today, I find it hard to imagine a true artist like [name of famous dancer, semi-recently dead] among them. [Famous dancer]’s performances are universally loved and remembered today because they were [choose one of the following].

a) Refined down to the fingertips and eyebrows, unlike the vulgar flailing of today.

b) Raw and authentic, unlike the overtrained robots of today.

With this meaningless trash replacing true art, it is no wonder why [optional: specify genre] dance is dying. There can be no other explanation for why [mention two well-known dance institutions that have recently closed for any combination of financial, administrative, or political reasons] have shut their doors.

Unfortunately, it seems clear that the art form will be practically nonexistent within the next [pick a number, between 10 and 50] years–unless perhaps the next [famous choreographer from past century who dominates current repertory] comes along to save it.


Now you have everything you need to make your very own concerned dance think-piece! And don’t worry if you happen to live in another time period–“that’s not dance” and “art is dying” are truly timeless sentiments that never get old! Can’t wait to see how they turn out!

Disclaimer: I know, I know, #notAllDanceThinkPieces are nostalgic alarmism. If you want to hear my (semi) serious thoughts about concerned dance think-pieces, stay tuned a concerned dance meta-think-piece.

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