Everyone Can Use Editing, Even a Genius

While skimming my daily news digest from Crosscut.com, the Seattle-based website whose slogan is “news of the great nearby,” this headline immediately caught my eye:

New dance proves that even MacArthur ‘Geniuses’ need some editing

The article, by Seattle arts consultant and former dancer/choreographer Spider Kedelsky, reviews Limited States, a new dance and mult-media work by Shen Wei, a Chinese born choreographer and visual artist, and his 11-member company, Shen Wei Dance Arts. Shen, who has been based in New York City since 1995, was awarded a MacArthur Foundation Genius Fellowship in 2007.

Shen Wei: Multi-tasker can use an editor.

Kedelsky criticizes Shen Wei for simply trying to do too much in his 75-minute work.  “Shen is himself something of a multi-tasker, credited not only with the concept and choreography, but the video and animation of last week’s show, of which he is also a co-creator of the costume and lighting design,” he writes. “Shen Wei is clearly a gifted artist…still, after seeing his work for the first time, a focus on less might have been more.”

In business writing, as in performance dance, multi-tasking can be distracting, even if you’re not a genius. That’s why even the best of us can use an editor.

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