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National Ballet of Canada - Conference on the Past, Pres
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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Tue Dec 24, 2002 7:37 am ]
Post subject:  National Ballet of Canada - Conference on the Past, Pres

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We covered the National Ballet of Canada's "Past, Present, Future" conference when it took place between May 17 and 20, 2002 and Malcolm Tay from our team attended the Open Forum.

The final communique on the NBC website includes the following summary.

Among the many topics we identified as worthy of intensive and ongoing discussion and cooperation were the following:

- Moving beyond the limited ideal of training to a far broader concept of education in developing professional dancers

- Combating inaccurate stereotypes of ballet as conservative, frivolous, and elitist, not only by outreach activities and programming choices but also by striving to expand the presence of dance on television and on the Internet

- Balancing the claims of artistic heritage (the works inherited from classical and specific company traditions) with the creation of new works to serve as our legacy for the future

- Providing opportunity for new choreographic voices and a climate within which dancers and choreographers alike can take the risks necessary to artistic achievement, fail occasionally, and learn from their failures how to achieve greater successes

- Speaking to new culturally diverse audiences by means of new works, new technologies, and new approaches to dance education and appreciation, as well as by continuing to seek for greater inclusiveness in the ethnicity of performers and choreographers and in the audiences we attract

- Intensifying already considerable outreach efforts to all groups and communities in partial compensation for the lamentably decreased presence of the arts in most European and North American educational systems

- Identifying and adopting best practices in arts administration

- Bridging the gap between two solitudes (North American and European) in aesthetic standards by bringing the best works and companies of each to audiences of the other.

Here are the links to:

Our coverage at the time of the conference.

The initial press release for the conference.

The final communique for the conference.

<small>[ 24 December 2002, 08:38 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Tue Dec 24, 2002 7:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada - Conference on the Past, Pres

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<small>Grant Strate</small>

Keynote Address by Grant Strate

Grant Strate gave this address at the Open Forum at the "Past, Present, Future" conference on May 18th, 2002. He takes a deliciously light style discuss these important issues, which must have been refreshing for the delegates at this talkfest.

You can read his career summary in the Simon Fraser University News.


Here is part of his address:

It seems to me there is no question that the art of ballet is facing great challenges.

It is only by confronting and embracing these challenges that the art can hope to move forward.

As I was thinking over all this in preparation for today, the one question that kept inserting itself was this ... and it's fundamental.

Given the enormously complicated responsibilities that go with the territory, why would anyone want to direct a ballet company?

The job can be fairly compared with that of a corporate C-E-O ... except without the stock options and chauffeured limousine!

Let's consider for a moment just how wide-ranging those responsibilities are.

I acknowledge, by the way, that different circumstances affect the job descriptions of artistic directors working in the European context compared with those in North America.

Broadly speaking, however, an artistic director has two inter-related sets of responsibilities - one set is internal, the other external.

Internally, the artistic director has a responsibility to the board of trustees to fulfill the company's mandate and to do it in a fiscally responsible manner.

Internally, the artistic director has a responsibility to the dancers, to nurture and challenge them so that they may grow as creative human beings. This means ensuring that they are given good teachers and coaches and a stimulating repertoire.

Now, as any artistic director will tell you, dancers are never satisfied.

Even so, the effort must be made.
link to the full address

Author:  Malcolm Tay [ Wed Jan 08, 2003 11:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: National Ballet of Canada - Conference on the Past, Pres

The PPF, which I attended while in Toronto last year, was a wonderful eye-opener. No doubt some of the stuff covered wasn't new -- and perhaps some issues need more time to be resolve, if at all -- but it was heartening to see 9 artistic directors in the same space, talking about issues that challenged ballet -- as a continuing tradition, as cultural artifact -- and them as artistic directors. The Snape forum, with almost 3 times as many artistic directors attending, would hopefully reap more fruitful results.

<small>[ 08 January 2003, 12:08 PM: Message edited by: Malcolm Tay ]</small>

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