CriticalDance Forum

Where does one go?
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Author:  Isolde [ Thu Jan 06, 2005 9:57 am ]
Post subject:  Where does one go?

Today in the ballet world most internationally acclaimed companies employ dancers able to execute immaculate technique partnered with unimaginable levels of artistry in class and onstage. The age at which these abilities are appearant is becoming younger and younger. Fifteen year olds at the Prix de Lausanne look like principal dancers when they still have three good years of training in front of them. Sylvie Guillem is probably the most unbelievable dancer that will ever walk the planet- so we think today. With the ideal ballet bodies and "exhibit past the ear" show of extensions becoming more and more common, to put it simply how much better can we get? Company auditions and international competitions are becoming the absolute epitome of showcase for young dancers. Well now that we have dancers everywhere who posess the ability to do 10 pirouettes on pointe and 230 degree penchees when will somebody say enough is enough? Of course ballet goers will soon realize they would rather see something of substance, and although it's rediculously amazing it starts to seem as though one has just witnessed a circus act. The artistic staff of many ballet companies see this coming and maybe the dancer performing the black swan could do a triple on each turn, they'll discourage this because after the first few times it won't be very exciting! I agree that the bar has been raised and standards are higher but we start to see the art adopting qualities of a sport, which ballet most certainly is not! Ballet is one of the most beautiful things in this world and thats what it should remain!

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Thu Jan 06, 2005 10:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Where does one go?

Hi Isolde and welcome to CriticalDance.

Thanks for such an interesting first post. Now that advanced technique is a given for most ballet dancers, we might see a return to an emphasis on artistry. Technique for technique's sake is not very interesting for me either. While I can accept dancers experimenting with high extensions in a range of work, even I was surprised that in the Kirov's reconstruction of "Sleeping Beauty" dancers were still performing "6 o'clock" extensions, when these would not have been seen in the original.

Author:  JaneH [ Thu Jan 06, 2005 2:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Where does one go?

I personally think the increasing number of prize competitions (for increasingly younger and younger dancers) is part of what's driving the situation that Isolde nicely details. And competitions are too often driven by quantifiable achievements, like numbers of turns and angles of various leg positions. Artistry is not quantifiable (nor should it be).

I appreciate that many of these competition organizers are simply trying to make a living in an era that isn't particularly kind to the arts, but unfortunately they do seem to be helping turn dance into a competitive sport.

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