When you talk to your friends about it after the curtain goes down, they sometimes agree, and sometimes they don’t. And it is strange how whether they do or don’t, it is very hard usually to specify what the excitement was about, or the precise point at which it gave you the feeling of being really beautiful. Brilliant, magnificent, stupendous, no doubt all these things are true of the performance, but even if you and your friends agree that it was all those things, it is likely that there was some particular moment that made a special impression which you are not talking about. Maybe you are afraid that that particular moment wasn’t really the most important, that it didn’t express the idea or that it didn’t get special applause or wasn’t the climax. You were really excited by the performance and now you are afraid you can’t show you understand it. Meanwhile while you hesitate to talk about it, a friend in the crowd who talks more readily is delivering a brilliant criticism specifying technical dance details, moral implications, musicological or iconographic finesse; or else maybe he is sailing off into a wild nonsensical camp that has nothing to do with the piece but which is fun to listen to, even though it’s a familiar trick of his. So the evening slips out of your awareness like many others. Did you see anything? Did you see any more than you saw in the morning on the street? Was it a real excitement you felt? What is left over of the wonderful moment you had, or didn’t you really have any wonderful moment at all, where you actually saw on stage a real person moving and you felt the relation to your real private life with a sudden poignancy as if for that second you were drunk. Dance criticism has two different aspects: one is being made drunk for a second by seeing something happen; the other is expressing lucidly what you saw when you were drunk. I suppose I should add quite stuffily that it is the performance you should get drunk on, not anything else.
— Edwin Denby (“Dancers, Buildings, and People in the Street)