Did anyone catch this interview with Ismene Brown of Daily Telegraph and a spokesperson for the Council for Dance Education and training? In my (biased) opinion Ismene 'blew the CDET's arguments right out of the water'.
The CDET spokesperson Anna said that even classical ballet dancers have to have a knowledge of a whole range of other dance styles from tap dance to contemporary dance because they never know what they are going to need to incorporate into the training because they can never predict the trends in the future.
Ismene said that too many students settle for musical theatre because it is the easy option. She went on to say choreography available to the ballet companies is mostly remarkable but that you see dancers that are 'actually not quite up to snuff to do it' and that too often people are settling for it. She could not see any change in this attitude unless 'suddenly musical theatre is going to turn turtle and everybody says we are absolutely sick of it'.
Anna from the CDET questioned the relevance of ballet to todayís audiences saying that young people are turning towards musical theatre and contemporary dance and although ballet is a wonderful cultural tradition it has to move with the times.
Ismene said she thought that was 'a council of utter despair'. 'Most modern dance is feeble, bad and should never be seen on stage. I am sorry it is true. There is very little very good modern dance in this country. There is an awful lot of mediocre ballet, you will see this everywhere'.
She went on to say that 'If you are going to be a magnificent ballet dancer, a magnificent choreographer, or writer or footballer, you have the same need to give 110% at all times for the sake of yourself and for the sake of what you are doing. That is what has got to be recovered. That is lacking and that is the thing that has to be addressed'.
She did not agree with the attitude that because there is more access, everybody has got chances everywhere so 'lets make the world a wonderful place'. She felt it was 'only wonderful when people set out to be better that they thought they were capable of'.
Anna suggested that students who might have turned to classical ballet are now turning to different dance forms because they see more chance to express their own creativity through different dance styles.
Ismene said that 'Art is art. If you are going to be a dancer it is because you want to express yourself in a form of dance that makes you feel best'. She also felt there were 'too many bad choreographers around who were being encouraged'.
She concluded that 'The worrying thing is not the 15 and 16 year olds who suddenly say hey I think I want to become a dancer, I am not getting access' but those 6, 7, 8 year olds out there who canít get to classes and if they do get to classes canít be sure that they have got to a good teacher'.