As the L.A. Festival draws to a close it seems that someone must bear the responsibility of apologizing to the artists and visitors from out-of-town for the embarrassing dance criticism of Martin Bernheimer.
Bernheimer etched his reputation in stone with four (if I remember the count correctly) ridiculously bad reviews of Pina Bausch when she appeared in the Olympic Arts Festival in 1984 (still the most well-remembered and talked-about event in that festival), and is at it again, most recently in his review of the Canadian dance troupe La La La Human Steps ("La La La Humans Step on 'Demons,' " Sept. 24).
Practically by his own admission he failed to understand or appreciate a moment of the piece that earned the Canadian group a tremendous standing ovation and four curtain calls. Unable to offer critique or insight, he opted for an incoherent description of the work and a critique of the Embassy Theater!?
His one astounding insight was his lead: "No one is going to confuse La La La Human Steps with the Royal Danish Ballet." No kidding? For the benefit of visitors to the festival, I can only add that no one in L.A. confuses Martin Bernheimer with a dance critic.
STEVEN DURLAND, editor
High Performance magazine