I don't agree that people think ballet comes from Russia. I don't think many people have any idea at all, especially in North America. Maybe dancers think ballet came from Russia because they've learned about Pavlova and so on. <P>Almost everyone I have ever spoken to about modern dance who is not involved in it says they don't understand it! Ballet is much easier for people to imagine. OK, they tend to envision the Nutcracker, but at least they get the general idea
<P>I guess "cultured" tends to apply to any of the arts that generally support the status quo in subject matter and execution. It also seems to require credentialism, you can't just show up and do it, you need to have studied with "experts". <P>Our opinions of what is cultured change with time. What appears radical upon inception may become a part of the cultured milieu after it is assimilated into public consciousness. Artists like Motzart were considered radical in their time.<P>At its core, ballet *is* elitist. Dancers need money to study. They also need the right physique to find work professionally. Companies need money from benefactors (Government or private) to survive. People who have access to dance as children, either as students or spectators, are generally not from the lower classes. <P>The problem is not whether dance demands particular skills or financing, it's that people's lack of exposure on a recreational level, as they may have had with sports, limits their interest in the art form. <P>The issue of accessibility is a big one. If the public's perception doesn't change is dance doomed? Or can it continue to exist in the same way, on the periphery?