It's Autumn so it must be time for the Guardian's annual puff piece on dance to make all of their readers think that the paper is smart and reports on things that smart people like, such as the arts.
This years march into idiotic reporting, written by Emma John, explores that most troubling of dilemmas, why ballet dancers have sore feet. Ms John spends a great deal of time winding her way through the horrors suffered by ballerinas who, for reasons past understanding, are required to dance on pointe most of the time and needless to say this hurts and it hurts a lot!
Using many horror stories from dancers and their physicians the article paints a pretty dreadful picture of life as a ballet dancer, what with all the attacking of feet with "scissors and razor blades".
It's always good to exercise restraint when dealing with such idiocy in the 'traditional media' but Article19 is less forgiving so all we cay say is "Are you f****** serious?"
Of course dancing 'sur le pointe' hurts like hell and causes untold damage to a dancer's feet, ankles, calves and knees, what the hell do you expect it to feel like? Having your toes licked by kittens?
The Guardian piece serves its purpose only as sadistic voyeurism on the part of the reporter who appears to take great joy in highlighting the physical trauma endured by dancers at the behest of their company. The throw away comment about "scissors and razor blades" near the end of article highlights perfectly the reporter's cynical approach to covering this particular subject.
At no point in the piece does Ms John state that she has asked companies or choreographers to justify their insistence on retaining the foolish requirement of having female ballet dancers perform in pointe shoes. Nor does the reporter ask of company and choreographer what measures they are taking to prevent serious injury beyond in-house physiotherapy that can only hope to fix something after it has broken.
You would think a reporter who has a source stating that female dancers were cutting themselves with razor blades would prompt some level of journalistic investigation, not a bit of it however
Instead of following up specific issues that should be addressed by ballet companies around the world Emma John revels in the blood and guts of it all and then ends her piece with a listing of up and coming ballet performances.
Contemptible doesn't even begin to describe it.
We have emailed The Guardian with this post, we await their reply but won't be holding our breath!