I come from the viewpoint of a performer and a dancer. I have seen some pretty bad reviews written about shows I have been in. All of them, even the bad ones, were justified though. Why? Because the writer used constructive and well thought out comments and didn't just write insults. We have had actors/singers/dancers torn apart in reviews, but never just for their looks. If their looks were mentioned, it was a direct correlation to the performance or show somehow.
For example.... I did a show where we had a huge tap number, that featured a main couple right in the start of Act 2. The female dancer was a bigger girl but she could tap better than all of us so she got the part by default. One reviewer said that the female in the tap number was much larger than one expects of a dancer and her size made her seem heavy on her feet. While she embodied the character and spirit of the number, her stature was very noticeable, especially when partnered with a man who had a traditional dancer body type. And considering that fact that the other girls around her were petite in size, it made her body type that much more obvious. This lessened his enjoyment of the show just a bit because she stuck out like a sore thumb. He didn't insult her directly, he merely pointed it out as a factor in the shows overall flow. Sure it hurt her feelings but she didn't feel "insulted". That, to me, is what makes his comments more appropriate and his critique of her body more justified, than Macaulay's.
I agree with the majority that this guy was way out of line. Taking a dancers body into consideration is part of a critics job, but this critic did not do his job. All he did was hurl (not so clever) insults at the dancer with no legitimate remarks as to how her body type effected the show, the dance move, or her performance. Different body types do in fact effect the way a move looks, but in no way is saying "she looks like she ate too many Sugarplums" a valid critique of the dancer, especially when written by someone who is suppossed to be an "expert". An "expert" would have remarked about how her body made the motion look, how it felt when he watched it, and how it didn't fit with what he expected. He was going for shock value in his critique, which may have worked if he'd followed up with an actual "critique" and not made a lame sugarplum fairy fat joke.
If he had said something to the effect of "The Sugarplum fairy, danced by so and so, has a frame that you normally wouldn't find on a prima ballerina and I did find myself wondering about that casting choice when it came to the partnering. When they executed the lift, it lacked the lightness that one normally associates with the Sugarplum fairy and the pa de deux due to the stature of her body. And when next to the other ballerinas, it was hard not to notice a difference in thier builds."* or something to that effect, his critique about her body would have more legitimacy. This comment he made however, is a legit critique of them..."They’re among the few City Ballet principals who dance like adults, but without adult depth or complexity." He clearly didn't like them or how they looked, which is fair, but that insult to Jennifer was uncalled for and unjustified.
* I am pretty sure that their lift would have been perfect but I wanted to use that as an example of how her body COULD have effected the dance if it did and how a GOOD critic would have written about it. (FWIW, this is actaully sorta this guy's MO. I have read a few of his reviews before and I don't find his reviews to be all that clever, or even accurate or original anyway so my opinion may also be bias. He mostly writes about the shows plot in his reviews anyway so half of what he is saying it stuff we already know.)
RTA: Oops.. hit post too soon and holy cow the comments that followed...lol!