Melody Mennite’s first published review hurt like a punch in the
gut. While dancing Clara’s solo in The Nutcracker, Mennite,
then a teen, decided to sustain a balance for a few seconds. “I got
greedy and held it too long and then fell flat on my face,” says
Mennite, a principal dancer with Houston Ballet since 2008. The
critic who reviewed the show gleefully called her out on her face-planting. “I was mortified,” she says. “But, even though it was
there in the newspaper, I’ve always been able to laugh at myself.
My very first review set me up really well to let stuff roll off my
How dancers handle their worst reviews
Nobody enjoys getting a bad review. Whether in print or
online, it can feel like public humiliation. The purpose of reviews
is to help readers understand the value and quality of a perfor-
mance, to analyze it and provide some historical context. Some
critics take the responsibility quite seriously, while others indulge
all their feelings, no matter how petty. In the world of cyberspace,
anyone can become a critic, so it’s no longer only the traditional
print journalists creating the noise. And while the performers
themselves aren’t the target audience of reviews, reading about
yourself can become as addictive as it can be deflating.
BY JOSEPH CARMAN
McGee Maddox, here in
Onegin, has never changed his
approach based on a review.
35 DANCE MAGAZINE