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Dance reinvents itself. In what image?
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Author:  Maggie [ Sat Nov 11, 2000 6:34 am ]
Post subject:  Dance reinvents itself. In what image?

Judith Mackrell writes yet another thought provoking article. In this one she talks about how dance continually reinvents itself based on cultural influences. As she points out, once dance reaches the stage, it has combines costumes, sets, and music often reflecting the world around us.<BR> <A HREF="http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4087400,00.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4087400,00.html</A> <P>Would love to hear some other observations.<P><BR>[Edited by Azlan to fix URL]<p>[This message has been edited by Azlan (edited November 11, 2000).]

Author:  Basheva [ Sat Nov 11, 2000 10:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Dance reinvents itself. In what image?

Well let's see - The article is certainly interesting and thought provoking and on some points I agree but on others, I do not.<P>The sentence speaking of modern dancers as "thowing off their shoes, freeing up their bodies and embracing big ideas" I would argue with. I, for one and I assume other ballet dancers, too, feel quite "free" within the canons of the ballet structure. I would rather say "embracing OTHER ideas" rather than "big" ones.<P>The problem as I see it, is how to move forward - or sideways - without losing the heritage of the ballet. The heritage cannot be stored in a warehouse and then brought out occasionally for display. In dance, if it is not inculcated throughout the training of the dancer - the heritage will be lost.<P> It's more than just about executing classical steps. As I have said in a couple of other threads, in order to truly present the classical works - like a "Les Sylphides" or a "La Sylphide" - it has to be part of the bone and sinew of the dancers.<P>I don't know how you do that with dancers who are not schooled in the canons of the ballet and its heritage.

Author:  grace [ Sat Nov 11, 2000 3:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Dance reinvents itself. In what image?

sounds fair to me...within the limits of what i know about history and audiences....<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>On stage, dance becomes a hybrid art, incorporating music,<BR> costume and design into its final product, thus making the art<BR> form especially receptive to shifts in the general culture.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>thanks, maggie. Image

Author:  Priscilla [ Sat Nov 11, 2000 5:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Dance reinvents itself. In what image?

A few bones to pick and questions to ask - <P><B>1</B> -- <BR> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>On stage, dance becomes a hybrid art, incorporating music, costume and design into its final product, thus making the art form especially receptive to shifts in the general culture. Evidence of dumbing down in the external world would probably therefore become immediately obvious on the dance stage. Certainly a checklist made of changes in the art form over the last 50 years would reveal a widening embrace of popular music and street fashion.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Agreed on the dance being hybrid. I'm not big on the implication that popular culture - music and fashion, etc. - is dumb or has gotten any dumber than it's ever been. Further - that drawing on popular culture perpetuates the dumbness. And what's that about the external world? <P><B>2</B> --<BR> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>There are, though, distinctions to be made between ballet and modern dance. The latter (initially developed in opposition to the academic discipline of ballet)...<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>I've not really thought of ballet as being academic until later on - can someone clarify this for me, maybe? Later the author mentions the "academic distinctions" between ballet and modern - do Criticaldance readers/posters think these distinctions are set in the world of academia? Where are they set?<P><B>3</B> --<BR> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>...started to follow the lead of American pioneers such as Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham - throwing off their ballet shoes, freeing up their bodies and embracing big ideas.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>It's not really fair to say ballet is/was about small ideas.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Over the last 20 years, this audience has learned to absorb a dense weave of ideas, images, emotions and cultural reference points without relying on verbal narrative or clues. It is an audience with stamina, curiosity and alertness. Yet, signicantly, it is mainly composed of 20-40-year-olds - a group allegedly with the attention span of a gnat.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Glad to see she threw that "allegedly" in there - some adults I know move from interest to interest, but I'm not thirty yet and kind of resent this comment. If I were forty, I might resent it a little more. <P><B>4</B> --<BR> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Purists may squeal that ballet has gone whoring after youth culture but it is actually doing what it has always done to survive - taking what it needs from the world outside the ballet studio and, through the alchemy of its own disciplines and traditions, creating something new.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>This is the final paragraph of the article, which I basically agree with (in my limited with-it-ness ballet-wise), and I think it's pretty much what the author was most interested in communicating (two big paragraphs lead-in). <P>I just wish audience members, street fashion (a.k.a. the clothes people wear), and popular music didn't have to suffer in the process. The phrase "dumbing down" is used three times, adult audiences are "a group allegedly with the attention span of a gnat", and somehow "the effect of video and advertising techniques on the look and editing of choreographic material" is symptomatic of the same "dumbing down" as "increasingly casual flipping between different traditions, with choreographers quoting from ballet, bharata natyam or break dance within a single work" is. <P>I just don't get it.<BR>Hm. I hope this formatting turns out.<BR>It didn't...<BR><p>[This message has been edited by Priscilla (edited November 11, 2000).]

Author:  grace [ Sat Nov 11, 2000 6:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Dance reinvents itself. In what image?

priscilla, just re the first one, i read that she is saying that such-and-such <B>WOULD</B> be reflected.....i.e. that's conditional, she's not saying it <B>IS</B> reflected....though her next sentence COULD be read that way. her next sentence is actually not judgemental, more an observation...<P>1 is all i feel up to, at the moment... Image

Author:  grace [ Sat Nov 11, 2000 6:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Dance reinvents itself. In what image?

oh yeah! (more!) Image : by 'academic', i don't think she means universities. i have always read this type of statement as meaning 'relating to a highly defined or described manner of doing things, i.e. there are rules, the technique is 'right' or 'wrong'' etc...

Author:  grace [ Sat Nov 11, 2000 6:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Dance reinvents itself. In what image?

more, more, more! :<P>'academic' as in literally coming from the academies: L'Academie Royale de la Danse, of Louis XIV, for example, where ballet was first codified - <B>that</B>'s the word! Image

Author:  Priscilla [ Sat Nov 11, 2000 6:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Dance reinvents itself. In what image?

Grace - <BR>I thought she meant what you said: "i have always read this type of statement as meaning 'relating to a highly defined or described manner of doing things, i.e. there are rules, the technique is 'right' or 'wrong'' etc..." but couldn't describe it as well as you did. Thanks. Image

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