My heart goes out to Tom Strini of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel who, in this disarming defense of his own review, steadfastly explains why he can?t pretend to be moved by schlock:

?However obvious it might seem, let me state for the record that I very much want Michael Pink and the Milwaukee Ballet to succeed financially and artistically. My life will be far more pleasant if they do. And yes, I know how hard it is to keep a ballet going in a market this size. I have written any number of “ballet on the brink” financial stories over the years, and I would prefer not to have to write another one.

But I work for this newspaper and its readers, not for the Milwaukee Ballet. I would love to be able to say that “Hunchback” is brilliant and recommend it to everyone, but it is an affront to my aesthetic values. To say otherwise would be dishonest . . .

“Hunchback” and the like make the viewer a passive punching bag that gives a prescribed response to each assault. Thwack! Pathos. Smack! Horror. Pow! Sympathy. Sock! Hearts and flowers.

Lots of people like to be knocked about in this way – if it makes them cry, it must be good art. Emotional manipulation has made a lot of money for Celine Dion, John Williams, Andrew Lloyd Webber and many other pretentious popsters who bore me to stupefaction. I would hate to see their aesthetic become the aesthetic of the Milwaukee Ballet.?

Link via Ballet Alert!.

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