This month Dancers’ Group asked seven Bay Area dance critics the following series of questions about their field. Featured here are responses from Ann Murphy, Allan Ulrich, Mary Ellen Hunt, Michael Wade Simpson, Paul Parish, Rita Felciano, and Rachel Howard, listed in alphabetical order by first name. As of publication time, none of the contributors had read their fellow critics’ responses. See “What do you Think About Dance Criticism? A Community Responds,” for a companion piece on dance criticism from the choreographer’s perspective.
1) What drew you to dance criticism? What do you enjoy about it?
Ann: When I became editor at the now defunct SF Bay Area Dance Coalition more than 20 years ago, I had a sublime arrangement–I got to write about dance during the day and go off to class and rehearsal in the evening. But my dance world was separate from the rest of my life, and the big debates my friends and I had at night had little traction in my world by day. Criticism seemed a venerable way to haul the two realms into alignment, and it was.
After 18 years, writing criticism still feels mysterious—like finding patterns in tea leaves or cloudscapes. In the instances when I feel I’ve captured some essence of what I’ve seen, I feel like I’ve touched a deep order in the universe.
Allan: Back in the mid-1970s and early 1980s, it appeared that some of the most creative minds of a generation were making dances. It was hard not be drawn into the ferment and to explore the scene in print was a way of clarifying the situation and setting standards for myself; someone thought my prose was sufficiently compelling to pay me for doing it. The Bay Area was a different place in those days. We enjoyed annual two week visits by American Ballet Theatre and the Joffrey Ballet, the latter of which brought us important repertoire we wouldn’t have seen elsewhere. But the local scene was still fragmented, the San Francisco Ballet had not achieved its current level of excellence and astute presenters like Robert Cole and Ken Foster had not yet arrived on the scene.
Explaining what you like about dance is a bit like explaining what you like about sex. Your response comes from somewhere deep within your being and it is irresistible. The analysis and articulation of that response is what criticism is all about.
Mary Ellen: To be honest, I came to the job by accident—a friend happened to recommend me as a knowledgeable person with a decent writing ability to the Contra Costa Times when the paper was looking to expand its dance coverage. I’ve danced from a very young age, but although I always considered myself to be a pretty good writer, I had never thought of any kind of a career in journalism or more specifically in dance criticism. I enjoy analyzing and stirring up discussion about creative works though, and it’s been wonderful to have an outlet for that.
Michael: I was dancing, writing fiction and waiting tables in the 80s in New York and Boston. I was a J-school graduate. Someone I knew from a writer’s group was doing book reviews for the local gay weekly. They needed someone to write about modern dance. The best thing about being a critic is free tickets.
Paul: When I started writing about dancing (circa 1969), it was in letters to my mother. I was a Rhodes Scholar, living in England, studying English at Oxford, where I learned classical literary criticism. But in letters I was unself-conscious about what I was saying, just trying to make sense of my feelings; I’d mention Swan Lake, and five pages later I was still writing about it. I was amazed that I felt so sure I understood this tragedy, when I couldn’t explain how I understood it.
I had been the best rock and roll dancer in high school (in Port Gibson, Mississippi, pop. 3000), but it hadn’t occurred to me dancing was something you could talk about. Nobody else talked about it. My first dance classes were watching American Bandstand at home after school, dancing in front of the TV, copying the wallflowers who danced with each other—they were the best dancers, I liked their style, and their defiance.
Generally speaking, Southerners are passionate dancers. It’s one of the many places where both white and black people are on the same side (the other main one is religion and family values). The frats at Ole Miss got James Brown to play for their dances. I think this background is why once I started thinking about dancing, I had so much pent up in me. I couldn’t live in the south—queers could be put in jail. But, all these contradictions and passions were already in me.
I had a natural facility for writing; after a show my body had picked up things it wanted to do, and I found it a huge relief to be thinking and writing and able to call up traces of fantastic moves and figure out what was intriguing about them. It also helped that it was a ballet that got me started writing. It was about my kinesthetic responses, not my own dancing, so I didn’t get stuck in my ego.
What I enjoy about writing criticism is being able to revisit the experience that made me feel high and see how much of it I can understand. What I like best about reading it is finding out about events I wasn’t able to experience in person. What I like least about reading it is when I feel I’m not getting it, or worse, when I feel emotionally blackmailed or intellectually bullied.
Rita: In the 80s I got a job with the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival and was overwhelmed by the quantity and the quality of world dance. It was a world I knew nothing about, and I needed to learn about it. This is still my motivating factor. I want to find out how and why dances work. What and how does a dancer/choreographer communicate ideas with something we all have in common, the human body—four limbs, a head and a torso?
Rachel: I decided to write about dance as an undergrad studying literature. I knew I wanted to write books but I also knew I needed to support myself and thought I would do that through journalism. I had taken ballet off and on from age four and always loved it when my mother would drive me from our home in Fresno to San Francisco to see dance. I joined the college newspaper and decided that if I was going to be a journalist, I might as well write about something I love. I took ballet and modern dance in college (I wasn’t especially good at either), saw as many performances as I could, and took a dance history course. I moved on from the student newspaper to the local weekly, writing dance reviews, then to the Orange County Register, where I covered the arts in general, and then up to San Francisco.
Dance criticism is nice work if you can get it! What dance lover wouldn’t love getting paid to watch and think about dance? But now of course with the way newspapers are tanking, the idea that I would support my “real” writing through dance criticism was not very farsighted.
What dance writers do you admire or read regularly and why?
Ann: Reading Arlene Croce has always offered me enormous intellectual pleasure. I love Joan Acocella’s sly simplicity–she’s the George Herriman/Krazy Kat of dance criticism. I admire Robert Greskovic’s careful analyses, Deborah Jowitt’s imagery and insider’s warmth. Alastair Macaulay brings high-minded elegance to dance criticism–few writers make their way around a pargraph with his eloquence (although I wouldn’t want to be on the wrong side of his pen). Robert Gottlieb has the literary man’s big view.
Allan: I don’t read dance critics for their critical evaluations but for their insights and for the elegance of their prose. The New Yorker’s Joan Acocella, the New York Times’ Alastair Macaulay (both see dance as only one element in the dance spectrum and don’t begrudge their own erudition) and the Financial Times’ Clement Crisp (especially for his enthusiasms) rate high (disclosure: I contribute to the FT on a regular basis). Other critics, with whom I violently disagree I enjoy reading for their minds, as warped as they may be.
Mary Ellen: I read Rachel Howard in the Chronicle of course. Whether we agree or disagree about a piece, I always admire her prose and her forthright style. I also like to read Allan Ulrich’s reviews in Voice of Dance, as well as reviews from the London newspapers like the Independent and the Financial Times. Often it seems as though critics write to amuse rather than inform, but certain reviewers bring such a long experience and perspective to their views that I find the reviews teach me more about dance.
Michael: Pauline Kael, a (deceased) film critic from the New Yorker (who originally ran a movie theater in Berkeley) was my guru. No dance writer has ever seemed to me to be as brilliant in her use of language, or as intellectually edgy. She was a genius.
Paul: I read Edwin Denby a lot, for company, because he writes so well, because the era he covered was a golden age, because he knew so much and had large sympathies. Dancers, Buildings, and People in the Streets is forever fresh. I read all my colleagues locally—Rita Felciano, Allan Ulrich, Rachel Howard, Ann Murphy, Mary Ellen Hunt especially, to find out what’s going on, and for their company. I miss Anita Amirrezvani and Katia Noyes, who moved on to other kinds of writing, and of the dead, Stephanie von Buchau, and most of all Keith White, who died in the early 90s but wrote a civilized, fantastically well-informed, generous weekly column in a conversational style about Bay Area dance for the Bay Area Reporter that was the only Bay Area writing I’d put on a par with the writing from New York. I wish his tastes had been wider but he knew what NOT to write about– and about Joe Goode no-one has written better, nor Alonzo King, nor SF and Oakland Ballets during that era.
Rita: I don’t read anybody regularly– not for lack of interest, but for lack of time. People whom I greatly admire are eloquent writers who can articulate a sense of what they saw and why they thought a particular piece worked or not. I also love critics who can put a relevant context around a work– either in terms of dance history or from a more generalized cultural perspective. Excellent I consider– besides my local colleagues of course– Mindy Aloff, Lewis Segal, Sarah Kaufmann, Apollinaire Scher, Joan Acocella, Jennifer Dunning and Alastair Macaulay. They write well, they are knowledgeable and they love the art.
Rachel: Both Allan Ulrich and Rita Felciano have been generous mentors to me. Further afield, I think Alastair Macaulay’s appointment at the New York Times is the best thing to happen to dance writing in 15 years, because he writes with passion and he makes dance sound exciting. Of course I read anything by Joan Acocella in the New Yorker. I love her style because it’s blunt and seems to be simple and plainspoken, but the context she’s drawing on is incredibly sophisticated. Clement Crisp in the Financial Times is always a hoot; talk about style.
Do you have biases in terms of the type of work you enjoy? How do you handle these in light of your professional responsibilities?
Ann: There’s no dance style I can think of that I dislike. There are, however, kinds of performances that irk me. I don’t like dances where personality replaces theatrical substance. I don’t like work that hides behind props. I’m impatient when people recreate the wheel and think they’re the inventor–I believe choreographers should do their historical homework. But the world is imperfect, and when I find myself confronted with dance that I find sophomoric or pretentious, I consciously have to put my irritation aside. It’s inevitably more interesting to ask questions–why and where do I think the dance went wrong? How did it fail its own agenda?—than to fulminate.
Allan: Yes, of course I have biases; any critic who denies having them is not a critic, but a collector and a hobbyist and is not to be trusted. I believe that the emotional, imagistic and structural center of dance resides in movement, not chatter or outrageous props. I’m not much interested in aerial dance, in which the expressive possibilities seem limited and in which the participants set out to prove something, a stance that never generates good art. I will see any choreographer’s work once, but not necessarily again. My review budget is limited and I want to have a good, and perhaps, instructive time at a concert, so I choose carefully. My professional responsibilities, as you put it, are to write about the dance that I find stimulating, not to review everybody.
Mary Ellen: Of course—I believe everyone has biases. It part of human nature. I love classical ballet, I love brainy works, and I like to see work where there is a certain discipline, technically, intellectually, artistically. But to be fair, I also try to put myself in the place of the creators and performers as I review, and I try to understand why they make the choices they do. Sometimes I even do a little research ahead of time so I can better understand what a work is about, what traditions it might come from. My biggest pet peeve though, is seeing a piece that’s been poorly thought out or constructed and feeling like I did more research to come watch it than the creator did to make it.
Michael: I worked as a modern dancer and love the way every modern choreographer gets to make up her own rules about absolutely everything. I got turned-on to ethnic dance forms during my MFA program at Smith College. As for ballet, I could never afford to go when I was dancing. Now, I’ve been fortunate enough to attend SF Ballet for several years. More people should do standing room—it’s very cool. You can get off on experiencing the attempt at representing a “pure technique.” It’s physically thrilling to see dance with a live orchestra. And it’s mind-blowing, coming from loft-world of modern dance, to witness the vast amounts of space at the disposal of the choreographers and the dozens of dancers out there at one time. In terms of “responsibilities,” I feel that I have a responsibility to the art form of dance because I was a dancer first. The responsibility is to articulate as best as I can. Most dancers aren’t writers.
Paul: A lawyer would call this a hostile question. I like all kinds of dance, though not every specimen of every kind. Professionally, the MOST important thing I can do is to come to the dance with few preconceptions. I try to go as if I were going to a movie. I do not take notes; if I stop paying attention to the overall phrasing, I’ll miss the most important thing, whatever it is. If I can’t remember what I saw or how I felt, well, then, I have nothing to say. And I try to arrange things with editors so that if I don’t have anything to say, I don’t have to write anything. I don’t do this for a living. I’m a bartender. I don’t read up on things in advance. If seeing the thing makes me start thinking theoretically, as William Forsythe’s latest piece did, I can get all caught up in fractals and turbulence theory (“turbos”=ancient Greek for “mob,” and the piece was about that). But if there’s a theory and the dance itself doesn’t make me aware of it, well, I didn’t get it. No news there.
Rita: There is no type of work that I “enjoy” more than any other. The point is to look at each work as it comes along and try to see it on its own terms. If it works, I “enjoy” it. I am sure I have biases though I may not realize them. Except for one. If it’s a ballet, I really appreciate the use of point work and a connection to the academic vocabulary because I have a suspicion that that’s a language that is by no means exhausted. Otherwise, ballet will die-just like Latin did.
Rachel: I really don’t think I have biases. I love ballet, and because that’s my background I know it best, but that’s not a bias. Over the last ten years I’ve learned so much about everything from Contact Improv to flamenco. Obviously I’m not equally knowledgeable in all forms but I think I respond to every dance on its own terms.
Do you do any type of dancing? Do you think it matters if critics have experience with dance?
Ann: Ballroom at 11. Jazz at 15, then ballet, modern, improv for many years. I’d love to study Indian and African dance. It certainly gives the writer depth if she has dance training. But I don’t believe there’s only one way to approach arts criticism. An informed outsider has insights the insider can miss, and vice versa. Inevitably, the ingredients that define a great critic are a capacious mind, a keen eye, a point of view and an abiiding appreciation for the form.
Allan: I do not dance. I have taken ballet lessons and came away from them with increased respect for dancers and choreographers. I don’t think it’s essential, but it sure helps.
Mary Ellen: I take ballet class every day, but I don’t think it’s a prerequisite for being a critic. It helps, but it helps more to see a wide variety of performances.
Michael: I teach Modern 1 at the Berkeley Y on Sundays at 5:30. All that matters is the writing.
Paul: I love to dance, but I’ll never have a great technique. I’ve performed a bit—in Dance Brigade’s Revolutionary Nutcracker Sweetie, and with Remy Charlip—and have studied ballet, Limon, Cunningham, contact improv, West African and Congolese dancing, dancing of mixed abilities, and Lindy hop.
It probably helps to have dance experience but I don’t think it’s necessary. Kinesthetic response is more important. I think the more voices, the better. It’s good that people come to dance from their own places—the more honest the writing, the better.
Rita: I don’t currently do any type of dancing. I studied both ballet and modern dance, never with any desire (or ability) to perform. I envy people who have direct dance experience, I think some of them have a visceral way of getting inside a dance and a dancer’s body that I simply lack. I think kinesthetic memory can be a powerful aid. That’s why, I am afraid, in my writing the dancers sometimes may get shortchanged. I am looking at dance very much from the outside.
Rachel: I do think it helps to have experience with dance, but if you can’t write well no amount of dance experience is going to make your criticism useful. I recently took ballet classes again after a three-year lapse and aside from being very humbling it renewed my appreciation for the hard work dancers do and the extreme skill behind every move.
I will sometimes take tango or swing lessons, or go salsa dancing. I also take hip-hop at my gym!
What misperceptions do you think are common among dance artists about critics (their role, their priorities, their careers), and how would you address them?
Ann: There’s a sad/funny sado-masochism built into the relationship of critics and performers that has insidious properties for both. As a writer one has to create a space outside the zone of adulation/contempt where the dance remains one’s focus and the writing clings to an impersonal purpose. What makes the project of criticism thrilling is that fact that it’s an opportunity to enter into the cultural stream and assess what is the nature of the artistic culture we share. But this isn’t what criticism always is.
Criticism can get sloppy and devolve into judgment. The critic then seems to be struggling for primacy over the artist, and given the fact that his or her public voice is centrally broadcast to many more people than watch the dance, the critic has enormous power. This is going to shift, thanks to the internet.
Allan: The most common misperception on the part of dance artists is that critics are part of their community. We assuredly are not and when a choreographer once told me that he “didn’t feel community with me,” it was one of the proudest moments of my professional life (he and I have since reconciled as his work grew more focused through the years). Dancers think we are responsible for drawing or deflecting audiences and for securing financial aid for them. Untrue. Disinterest is mandatory for any critic—I should not care whether you secure funding or not—but local do-gooder critics have never understood that. Thus, the do-gooders do bad. Boosterism hurts dance and the arts in general. We write for a readership which is not necessarily comprised of dance artists. We’re not there as unpaid consultants, either, but dance artists read us that way. Some even think we are frustrated dancers and choreographers. In my case, that is definitely untrue. We are also not there to empower a choreographer or elevate his/her self-esteem. That’s what friends are for.
Mary Ellen: I think that often artists harbor a preconception that critics are “out to get you.” I would hope that when a writer reviews a show, he or she is just being honest about his/her response to the work—that it’s not personal. Reviews, in my opinion, shouldn’t be pedagogical tools for a choreographer, although they can offer a lot of insight into what works and what doesn’t for an audience member. I also think it’s important to remember that dance critics are in this line of work because they love dance. There can be no other reason, because the pay isn’t that great!
Michael: One-time I was on a weekend road trip to Maine while I was living in Boston, and my boyfriend and I got out at some lighthouse to look around. The next car that pulled up contained Christine Temin and her whole family. She was the dreaded dance critic for the Boston Globe, and I thought of her as a fire-breathing dragon. She didn’t recognize me (in clothes) but I stood there staring. It was very trippy to see that she had a car, and a family, and did touristy things like look at lighthouses.
Paul: I think dancers get me pretty well.
Rita: The most common is that if a piece receives a negative review, the writer didn’t like it. Criticism is not about liking or disliking. I don’t bother to address other misconceptions; they can’t be helped—dancers and critics are two different species of people—though both committed to this thing called Dance.
Rachel: I don’t think there are too many misperceptions, actually. I feel pretty well understood by the dance community and happy to be part of it.
Has the role of the internet and/or blogging affected your work as a critic? How do you see it affecting dance criticism in general?
Ann: The internet lets one hundred thousand voices bloom—I think it’s among the great gifts of our lifetime. But it also is bringing about the demise of newspapers, which means an uncertain future for dance criticism. This is good and bad. I worry about the consequences of a shared public life splintering into millions of atomized interest zones. I also celebrate the babel of opinions. It’s reminiscent of the creation of billboards outside towns, where people could post and read each other’s notices. It’s facinating, thrilling, scary. Blogging has allowed me to be experimental. Whimsical. Exploratory. The internet is streaming dance. Hurrah for YouTube.
Allan: The web will continue to exert a powerful influence over dance criticism. All print media are cutting back on coverage of most of the performing arts, and no newspaper could possibly cover all the dance activity in the Bay Area. I write for both print and electronic media and am enthralled over my unlimited space on the web, as well as my ability to correct my mistakes for the record. Blogging is something else. I am old enough to distrust unsigned reviews, and there are possible ethical conflicts too. Who knows? That rave blog may come from the choreographer’s sister.
Mary Ellen: Certainly the rise of internet sites dedicated to dance has given lots of us a much wider range of places in which to write. Often too, you can write longer stories and cover details that you might not have been able to fit into the limited space of a newspaper review. As a blogger from before the word was even invented, I’ve always enjoyed that internet speed allowed for us to get reactions to dance performances only hours after the curtain came down. I worry though that if dance reviews migrate away from newspapers and begin appearing only in specialized online dance outlets, a lot of non-dance fans will never get to read about and perhaps become interested in performances happening in their communities.
Michael: The internet is a big, non-paying cacophony. I would still rather read the reviews in the New York Times than hunt up what every other person in the world wrote about the same concert. There is something to be said for singular voices. I was actually given a website last year, when the founder died. As a website editor, I am less interested in being comprehensive, or, even very interactive. I’m choosing a “stable” of writers that I like and giving them a place to write. So far, think of culturevulture.net as a “Review,” in the old-fashioned sense, a literary journal.
Paul: Not a whole lot. Writing for the online magazine Danceviewtimes.com has let me write at length about subjects that intrigue me (e.g., how hip-hop can be used as a theatrical medium, or how a painting by Rubens uses Noverre-like ways of deploying bodies for emotional effect.). Personally, I don’t really like blogging, but I contribute to Apollinaire Scherr’s blog Foot in Mouth; she’s so bright, I love the way her mind works.
As for how I see it affecting dance criticism in general, it’s very much in flux right now, have no idea how it will sort out.
Rita: The internet has given me valuable additional space to write. In general, it has opened the field to many more critics– some excellent, some dreadful. It also has fragmented the readership, which I think is a negative influence. My preference is writing for the general reader, those who go to performances and those whom I hope to entice to develop an interest. What I would hope to see is that the Internet could be become an outlet for the kind of thoughtful essay-type criticism for which there is so little space in the printed press. It might exist in some blogs but I have not encountered it.
Rachel: Well right now the internet is hugely affecting anyone who works at newspapers, and that includes critics of all the arts. It’s no news flash that the market for dance reviews at papers isn’t booming. I’m having a hard time staying in this game right now because of all the cuts at the Chronicle. So thank God for the internet, because many of our best dance writers are publishing there now—Allan Ulrich at Voice of Dance, Rita Felciano and a whole host of great writers at DanceViewTimes.com. The problem is most dance writers on the internet don’t get paid. They write for free. I don’t know if this is a bad thing in general, this de-professionalizing of dance criticism, because there will probably always be smart people who love dance enough to write about it as a hobby. But I know it’s bad news for me, because I need to make a living. Of course, I hate to complain about that when I know that dancers get paid very little for what they do, too. As for blogging, I have flirted with it, still have a blog at www.rachelhoward.com, but post there seldom these days. A blog is a cheap publishing tool, nothing more and nothing less.
What impact do you think criticism has on the dance field? Do you think it’s different today than in the past?
Ann: So in an ideal world criticism should be a cultural exchange, a conversation between the art and the writer. There are more monologues now, but nothing is static. I think shared conversations about shared experience will return in forms we can’t yet imagine.
Allan: Criticism’s influence on dance cannot be divorced from criticism’s influence on the other arts; and the exceptionalism I see in the dance community may be part of its rampant self-interest. Since reviews are not published till after most dance engagements are concluded, they certainly don’t sell tickets. Time and repeated reviews separate the genuinely gifted dancemakers from the hopeful mediocrities with BA degrees in dance and a couple of bucks to produce a show. We can communicate enthusiasm about a company over a period of time, and if enough people read what we write, we may draw people to that company’s concerts. We may even trace thematic or stylistic traits and point the way to the public to make its own discoveries.
On the other hand, companies have been hanging in there for decades with minimal or no reviews. We know ballet is hot, but I also believe that there is an audience for modern and postmodern dance, which is not comprised of the dance artist’s friends, families, partners, room mates, students, teachers and colleagues. Some prominent choreographers disagree with me. But, if I did not believe this, I would have exited the criticism arena a long time ago.
Mary Ellen: I don’t believe dance criticism is very different today than it has been. I recently read Edwin Denby’s very fine collection, Dance Writings and Poetry. In an article from 1949, he says “The dance public wants [the critic] to be influential in raising the level of dance production in their community; to be enlightening on general questions of theater dancing, its heritage and its current innovations; and to awaken an interest for dancing in intelligent readers who are not dance fans already.” I don’t know that this is what dance criticism has done since 1949, but it would be nice to think so.
Michael: Great writing illuminates great art. Same as always. There is the one goal for every writer, as well as every dancer and choreographer—excellence. There is also the same freedom at the beginning of a written piece that there is at the beginning of the creation of a new dance. Writing dance criticism is a creative act. It can be the work of an artist.
Paul: Critics create fame. The Ballets Russes conquered Paris because of the press—with very canny manipulation by Diaghilev. In New York, where the critics are really critical and fight like cats and dogs, or used to, it’s arguable that the dance is measurably skewed by artists’ quests for headlines. The painters have been doing that for decades, buying each others’ drawings and erasing them, etc.—but how else explain the dancers who’re willing to destroy their own bodies, like Molissa Fenley, Elizabeth Streb? Maybe it’s an immolation on the altar of art—but maybe it’s that New York thing, your name in lights, Lisa Minelli at one remove.
Do I think it’s different today than in the past? I don’t know that now is different from then so much as here is different from there. San Francisco attracts a different kind of artist partly because the critical scene here is relatively unambitious, so “live and let live.”
Rita: At the very least it acknowledges dance as integral to the cultural fabric. I think there was a time—60s to early 80s—when dance criticism became important in New York because there was a big audience for dance and criticism came of age (because of it?) at the same time. Today, I don’t think it has much of an impact one way or another.
Rachel: I do think great dance writing contributes to the health of the dance field, which is why I was so happy to see Alastair Macaulay at the Times. We need smart dance writers to spark conversation and debate, to put a work into context, to follow certain artists’ careers so they can really grasp what that artist is trying to do, to take a stab at arguing not just what is great or not so great, but why. I am far less compelled by the idea of descriptive dance writing as a historical record in this age of cheap video.
I think the actual impact of dance criticism, though, is at a low ebb. That’s partly because we have fewer places to publish and therefore few voices, and partly because of a broader shift in culture thanks to blogging and the democratization of media. The days of newspaper critics holding the lion’s share of power and authority are probably over. Anyone who’s smart about dance and a great writer can build up authority on the internet now. Whether they get paid and how is the question. I really don’t know how this all shakes out.