Once again I’ve been compiling (for values of “compiling” including “happening across”) lots of good dance stuff online lately:
Are Americans too cool for ballet? I don’t necessarily buy this article’s conclusion, but I buy its premise: that most young Americans are no longer attracted either to the prospect of self-sacrifice for art or to ballet’s polished elegance, pursued with sincerity and delivered without an ironic wink. The article leaves out an additional factor that is probably compelling: the average high-achieving young person’s drive to be “well-rounded” (which would militate against serious pursuit of one thing in favor of a just-slightly-less-serious pursuit of everything). On the other side, our interest in high levels of achievement, including extreme athleticism, would argue for greater interest in ballet, for which see this article. I thought back to that latter piece when (finally getting around to) watching Ovation’s A Chance to Dance this evening. At the Salt Lake City auditions for their new company, the Ballet Boyz (oh dear) commented on American dancers’ bent towards, and preparation for, solo dancing as opposed to group work. They say that the millennial generation has grown up constantly being reassured that they are special snowflakes. In ballet, you might have lots of chances to be a snowflake, but very few to be special. Are we shortchanging our dancers with an overindividualized focus?
Meanwhile, what’s a dancer to do once he or she–how can I put this–moves gracefully beyond the first blush of youth? My heart was in my throat when I clicked on Dance Magazine’s article about a “decade-by-decade approach to dancing health.” If they had stopped at the 30s I might have had to throw my laptop out a window, or at least go find Ms. Madison’s copy of the magazine and throw THAT out a window (I like my laptop). Huge props to them for featuring a 66-year-old who performs in a company and takes class 5 to 6 days a week. She and Miss Vernetta, whose studio celebrated its 50th anniversary this past weekend, are fierce beasts!
And finally: long suspected by many, now proven by science. HOWEVER, no one had better lay any “I just don’t have the dance gene” excuses on me or Daniel. Nurture definitely trumps nature and good training will fix those missing genes right up. I’ve said it on the Internet, so it must be true. 😉