Ok, here's one.
This is inspired by this thread
and a lot of thought over time.
What does the art form of ballet gain by the romanticization of dancers in this way? The soft-focus legend of the monastic dancer drives me kind of bananas; it's romanticizing and I feel like even as that might be true, on another level it seems like it would add to the sense of ballet as this funny thing that people do off to one side from "real life" in a way that probably doesn't help sell tickets, etc, etc.
On the one hand, articles like this and like the article about pain meds linked in that same conversation -- especially in articles talking about the bad working conditions of dancers, which that pain med article only touches on -- does a service to the dancers, as it illuminates working conditions that need improving.
But what else is this doing? In the creation of this myth of ballet as a strange, abusive, and monastic life, is it an endorsement? Does the marketing of ballet rely on it? What would happen to the art form if it was no longer the case and dancers came in expecting not that kind of life but something else? If it was no longer considered the beautiful noble and artistically devoted thing to work through injuries or in bad conditions or for abysmal pay?
I have been thinking about this and how best to pose this question for such a long time and I am still not sure I am quite articulating this right but in light of these conversations I'm willing to throw this out. I hope I am being clear. If not, well, let me know, or tear me apart, and it'll all come out in the wash.