Under headlines such as "Sorry Exhibition" and "Banalities," the Paris papers delivered a round of scathing criticism of the Washington Ballet, which completed a week-long residence here last weekend.
The company had presented a program composed entirely of Choo San Goh works, and had held a press conference to explain the nature of his work to the Parisians, who had not been enamored of it in previous performances. Although the dancers were prepared for a negative reaction, few could have anticipated the wholesale pan of Gerard Mannoni's column in Le Quotidien de Paris. Calling the company "a sad opening attraction for the 20th International Festival of Dance," he then attacked Choo San Goh: "In the U.S., he's all the rage. They're crazy, these Americans! It has been a long time since we've seen choreography so devoid of inspiration, personality, variety."
In Le Monde, Marcelle Michel wrote that the Washington Ballet "is a mediocre troupe condemned to dance only the work of young Choo San Goh, whose talent as a choreographer is nonexistent. Whatever style he chooses -- classical, neo-classical, contemporary -- his ballets are nothing but an accumulation of cliches."
Marion Thebaud's more balanced criticism in Le Figaro was still cutting: "Choo San Goh is a choreographer who knows his business well, without a doubt, a solid professional, but the result of his gift is emptiness."
Both Thebaud of Figaro and France-Soir critic Jacqueline Cartier briefly singled out Janet Shibata and Amanda McKerrow as the company's most proficient dancers.