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After thoroughly enjoying the Neglia Ballet Artists' latest performance, I left happy in the thought that, at long last, Buffalo seemed capable of supporting and appreciating the art of dance. I also gained confidence in our ability as a region to build a mechanism for generating homegrown talent.

The performance, while not flawless, demonstrated more than enough evidence of abundant talent to show that we are blessed with yet another cultural resource of true quality.

This was a troupe capable of producing a consistent string of high-level performances and could, with proper support and nurturing from the community, evolve into an institution from which we could derive satisfaction and pride.

Consequently, it was with great disappointment that I read The News' ill-willed review of the performance.

Though not completely devoid of constructive criticism, the very title of the review, "Neglia Ballet tries to lift itself back," smacked of the sort of snide and self-conscious criticism that so often plagues the critical community.

I searched through the review to find something to tie to the headline, but failed utterly. Was it a clever reference to what the writer called the "strikingly inventive lifts" in "Spartacus," the performance's best number? Was there something from which the company had to come back? Alas, I had to conclude that the writer (or some unknown editor) was using The News to serve an agenda that, for me, was unclear.

Reading further, I realized that the attitude reflected one of those unfortunate and all too stereotypical critical approaches that deaden rather than stimulate.

Perhaps what we really need are reviewers capable of matching the same level of quality as the artists whose work they judge. As a city striving to "lift itself back" from economic and artistic depression, we deserve more than this thoughtless genre of criticism.



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