No question: criticism must be allowed and endured. But criticism should always be a constructive contribution that animates a lively debate and engagement with art. If the judgment is so devastating that the reader is deterred from attending the performance, that surely does not serve art or artistic freedom. If critiques are used as platforms on which the reviewers indulge themselves in their own preferences at the expense of art and artists in a highly subjective manner, they miss their function. Critical reviews must aim to open aspace for future audiences to experience, engage and guide their own reflections and responses to the art. Even subjective observations must still include a differentiated perspective, anything else would be presumptuous. Respect for artists and their work must be maintained. And if there is now great unrest and calls for the guarantee of press freedom are loud, then a closer look should be taken at the damage that past publications have already caused. The case of the former directrice of the Wuppertaler Tanztheater is a sad example of media-driven character assassination that has harmed everyone involved in the long run. The media did not have to justify themselves afterwards. They probably did not apologize either. Media have enormous power, as we have seen in recent days. This power must be used with care, because in the end it is not just about art, but about people. Individuals who may be caught in a conflict of interest due to their diverse professional ambitions should handle this power particularly carefully or leave it to others to express criticism. The now omnipresent solidarity of the press with the critic would be commendable if it were not characterized by a very reduced and one-sided view. It is sad to see even the smallest newspaper in the country now eagerly jumping on the case and using it to reinforce the stereotype of the non-criticism-accepting artist. Unfortunately, without examining the backgrounds of those involved in more detail.
What Marco Goecke has achieved for dance in the last two decades has been ignored, suggesting to the public it’s irrelevance,which in fact is counter to consensus opinion. That he treats dancers in his work with such respect, like hardly any other in his industry, seems to count for nothing. That he has gifted the dance world with countless masterpieces in recent decades, touched the hearts of the audience, and left them in a fascinated breathlessness with the intensity of his pieces is not being considered.
Let us hope that this case will be resolved without the art and its performers suffering even greater damage. Marco Goeckes’ works, his personality, and his achievements for dance are irreplaceable. To remove his works from the playbills would not only be tragic, but would also amount to cancel culture. Marco Goecke's action was a no-go. To reduce him to this action would also be a no-go. One single crossing of a boundary should not be attributed with the power to prevent such an extraordinary artist from continuing his creative work.