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Subject: ""Is Muti-Purpose dance training a good idea?"" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Bruceadmin

08-05-02, 06:51 PM (GMT)
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""Is Muti-Purpose dance training a good idea?""
 
  
This thread is for discussing Katharine Kanter's piece in the May 2002 Ballet.co magazine, called "Did you say Multi-Purpose"? You can see it here:
Did You Say "Multi-Purpose"?

Hope you have found it a stimulating read (very stimulating then!) and do please add your comments below.


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: "Is Muti-Purpose dance draining a good idea?" Flight 08-05-02 1
  RE: "Is Muti-Purpose dance training a good idea?" jeyda 19-05-02 4
  RE: "Is Muti-Purpose dance training a good idea?" jeyda 19-05-02 5
     RE: "Is Muti-Purpose dance training a good idea?" Flight 19-05-02 6
  RE: "Is Muti-Purpose dance training a good idea?" ZENA 19-05-02 7
     RE: "Is Muti-Purpose dance training a good idea?" trogadmin 20-05-02 8
  RE: "Is Muti-Purpose dance training a good idea?" vivian2 20-05-02 9
  RE: "Is Muti-Purpose dance training a good idea?" vivian2 20-05-02 10
  RE: "Is Muti-Purpose dance training a good idea?" surya 11-06-02 11
  RE: "Is Muti-Purpose dance training a good idea?" violindancer2001 16-08-02 12
     RE: "Is Muti-Purpose dance training a good idea?" katharine kanter 21-08-02 13
         RE: "Is Muti-Purpose dance training a good idea?" Bruceadmin 21-08-02 14
         RE: "Is Muti-Purpose dance training a good idea?" AEHandley 21-08-02 15
             RE: "Is Muti-Purpose dance training a good idea?" AEHandley 21-08-02 16
         RE: "Is Muti-Purpose dance training a good idea?" violindancer2001 21-08-02 17
             RE: "Is Muti-Purpose dance training a good idea?" katharine kanter 22-08-02 18
                 RE: "Is Muti-Purpose dance training a good idea?" AEHandley 22-08-02 19
                 RE: "Is Muti-Purpose dance training a good idea?" violindancer2001 22-08-02 20
                     RE: "Is Muti-Purpose dance training a good idea?" katharine kanter 27-08-02 21
                         RE: "Is Muti-Purpose dance training a good idea?" moderndancer 01-09-02 22

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Flight

08-05-02, 08:22 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: "Is Muti-Purpose dance draining a good idea?""
In response to message #0
 
   When I began dancing I was under the impression that doing ballet would give me solid foundations which could be adapted to other dance forms. However, now everyone I meet does at least modern and tap too, if not jazz, lyrical, acro and heaven knows what else. They would be much better at ballet if they dedicated the time they spent on the above to it. The turnout, and strong feet, cannot be attained to a satisfactory professional level after a certain age (twelvish, normally, is the latest), therefore one really does need to work at it early. In addition I notice port de bras suffering particularly. And most experts (including Beryl Grey, who I have quoted before) say that tap dancing is not a good idea for girls because it makes the ankles too flexible.

I know this isn't really related to the Prix de Lausanne (which I can't spell)!


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jeyda

19-05-02, 03:46 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: "Is Muti-Purpose dance training a good idea?""
In response to message #0
 
   Hi, I am a dancer and dance fan in all its forms but I cannot even start by telling you how absurd and idiotic this article has been in my opinion. For first if Katherine had studied any history she would see that ‘dance’ goes way off to primitive times and that the so called ‘ballet’ was practically invented by and for Louis XVI to amuse himself! Talk about high moral standards! In short classical dance even if an extremely beautiful dance expression is a very narrow minded, European codified invention. Martha Graham and modern dance artists such as Alvin Ailey have more moral messages in a single choreography than all the repertoire ballets put together! Ballet was basically invented to entertain the rich, whereas modern and contemporary dance are a way that people have used to express feeling oppressions and differences. They show often the deepest emotions and not the frivolity that is a characteristic feature of ballet and opera.

I cannot even start by giving the list of harmful things that classical dance can do to a human body, has anyone ever herd of the torture machine they used in the 18th century on dancers to be able to rotate their legs? What about toes shoes, do you call them natural? Actually this is the main of beauty in classical ballet, the unnatural sensation it gives, the beauty of seeing something so unearthly. This is exactly the opposite of modern, which is seeing the true power of a human body and its profound tie to the earth.

As far as skills and capacity we’re not talking here about how many pirouettes a dancer can perform whereas how the performance will reach to the public. Being a ‘marionette’ that can be molded in anyway is in no way an ‘artistic expressionist’. If a dancer does not express something to a public their Technical skills are useless. A classical dancer can have a really hard time in finding that energetic and powerful charisma a jazz dancer has or the fluidity and innovation a contemporary artist can give. The fact that classical dance competitions and schools are starting to take in consideration the rest of the planet and its arts seems something marvelous. Dance is for me one of worlds greatest gifts, its of everyone for everyone and needs to be expressed in all its forms. Prix de Lausanne is giving a gift to their audiences by giving them some truly formed dancers.


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jeyda

19-05-02, 03:59 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: "Is Muti-Purpose dance training a good idea?""
In response to message #0
 
   Hi, I am a dancer and dance fan in all its forms but I cannot even start by telling you how absurd and this article has been in my opinion. For first,ifthis article would have had any historical background she would know that ‘dance’ goes way off to primitive times and that the so called ‘ballet’ was practically invented by and for Louis XVI to amuse himself! Talk about high moral standards! In short, classical dance even if an extremely beautiful dance expression is a very narrow minded, European codified invention. Martha Graham and modern dance artists such as Alvin Ailey have more moral messages in a single choreography than all the repertoire ballets put together! Ballet was basically invented to entertain the rich, whereas modern and contemporary dance are a way that people have used to express feelings of oppression and differences. They show often the deepest emotions and not the frivolity that can be a characteristic feature of ballet and opera.

I cannot even start by giving the list of harmful things that classical dance can do to a human body, has anyone ever heard of a torture machine they used in the 18th century on dancers to be able to rotate their legs? What about toes shoes, do you call them natural? Actually, this is the main beauty of classical ballet, the unnatural sensation it gives, the beauty of seeing something so unearthly. This is exactly the opposite of modern, in which there is the true power of a human body and its profound tie to the earth.

As far as skills and capacity goes, we’re not talking about how many pirouettes a dancer can perform whereas how the performance will reach to the public. If a dancer does not express something to a public their Technical skills are useless. Being a ‘marionette’ that can be molded in anyway is in no way an ‘artistic expressionist’. A classical dancer can have a really hard time in finding that energetic and powerful charisma a jazz dancer has or the fluidity and innovation a contemporary artist can give. Lets not start offending other dance tecnics just because you know enough about them! The fact that classical dance competitions and schools are starting to take in consideration the rest of the planet and its arts seems something marvelous. Dance is for me one of worlds greatest gifts, its of everyone for everyone and needs to be expressed in all its forms. Prix de Lausanne is giving a gift to their audiences by giving them some truly formed dancers.


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Flight

19-05-02, 04:12 PM (GMT)
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6. "RE: "Is Muti-Purpose dance training a good idea?""
In response to message #5
 
   LAST EDITED ON 19-05-02 AT 04:15 PM (GMT)

'If a dancer does not express something to a public then there technical skills are useless'.

Don't you think that sometimes pure art can express more than art that is specifically designed to express something? Ballet shows us that beauty exists.


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ZENA

19-05-02, 04:13 PM (GMT)
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7. "RE: "Is Muti-Purpose dance training a good idea?""
In response to message #0
 
   most ballet schools are now adopting this approach. some students would rather focus purely on ballet. but because the ballet world is so narrow for job prospects, it means if they cant secure a ballet contract then no doors have closed.


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trogadmin

20-05-02, 09:29 AM (GMT)
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8. "RE: "Is Muti-Purpose dance training a good idea?""
In response to message #7
 
   LAST EDITED ON 20-05-02 AT 09:29 AM (GMT)

>I cannot even start by giving the list of harmful things that
>classical dance can do to a human body,

EVERYTHING we do has an affect on the body. In his book "Freak Like Me", Jim Rose speaks of modifying your body. Through training, you can modify your body and adapt it for your art. Mr Rose modified his to be able to do amazing things like eat glass and have darts thrown at him; a sprinter modifies their body to be able to run quicky; an endurance athelete to be able to carry on all day. A ballet dancer modifies their to be able to perform their chosen art form, just as do body-builders, weight-lifters and trapeze artists.

All dance can damage your body. The late Erick Hawkins attributes a back injury sustained from Graham's continuous contraction and release of the torso as a reason for leaving her company and for developing the Hawkins technique, one that flows with the body's natural movement.

Everything we do is potentially dangerous. As well as working out in the gym, taking regular ballet classes, I practise circus arts. Juggling is considered a safe circus art, unless you use dangerous props like knives or fire clubs. I have had lots of minor injuries juggling (clubs in the eye mostly) and none from unicycling, trapeze, tightwire, fire eating or ballet.


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vivian2

20-05-02, 09:42 AM (GMT)
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9. "RE: "Is Muti-Purpose dance training a good idea?""
In response to message #0
 
   Dear Katherine,

Your article is brilliant! I couldn't agree more with everything you said.

It is quite a relief to know there is someone out there who thinks like I do. I was beginning to think I was the only one left in the world to feel angry at the current state of classicism.

Feels to me like everything pure and beautiful in ballet and the arts in general, is being eroded and attacked by poeple who can't really understand it and prefer to trash it for cheap quick tricks that are here today and gone tomorrow.

Judging by some of the other postings, there seem to be several
people who think they know about ballet , but need to do a bit more homework before making such harsh comments about your article.

How do we educate people to be more discerning about what they
see, instead of merely going along with whatever is thrown in their faces under the guise of innovation?

Beats me how some people get to positions in the dance world where they can have such a negative influence on classicism.
Politics and power are more important than real art forms.


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vivian2

20-05-02, 09:42 AM (GMT)
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10. "RE: "Is Muti-Purpose dance training a good idea?""
In response to message #0
 
   Dear Katherine,

Your article is brilliant! I couldn't agree more with everything you said.

It is quite a relief to know there is someone out there who thinks like I do. I was beginning to think I was the only one left in the world to feel angry at the current state of classicism.

Feels to me like everything pure and beautiful in ballet and the arts in general, is being eroded and attacked by poeple who can't really understand it and prefer to trash it for cheap quick tricks that are here today and gone tomorrow.

Judging by some of the other postings, there seem to be several
people who think they know about ballet , but need to do a bit more homework before making such harsh comments about your article.

How do we educate people to be more discerning about what they
see, instead of merely going along with whatever is thrown in their faces under the guise of innovation?

Beats me how some people get to positions in the dance world where they can have such a negative influence on classicism.
Politics and power are more important than real art forms.


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surya

11-06-02, 02:57 AM (GMT)
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11. "RE: "Is Muti-Purpose dance training a good idea?""
In response to message #0
 
   >
>This thread is for discussing Katharine
>Kanter
's piece in the May
>2002 Ballet.co magazine, called "Did
>you say Multi-Purpose"? You can
>see it here:
>Did You Say "Multi-Purpose"?
>
>Hope you have found it a
>stimulating read (very stimulating then!)
>and do please add your
>comments below.


Very stimulating reading, i agree with her in many points, i think in Paris sometimes, they loose their vision about what is Comtemporary or not, when you see Blanca Li at the Paris Opera You think, Please give a break,!!! same for Preljoca. Congratulations miss Kanters, you bring the light
and at the same time every body must be able to be multipurpose,
but with only one body is kind of difficult.


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violindancer2001

16-08-02, 00:16 AM (GMT)
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12. "RE: "Is Muti-Purpose dance training a good idea?""
In response to message #0
 
   I completely disagree with this artical and am frankly pissed off at no only her opinion but also her reasons for her opinions.
Point 1
She asks what is contemporary? Well I ask what is classical? The fact that ballet has been developed over hundreds of years? Well native dances such as dances from Africa and South America, not to mention Native American dances have been around for centuries. Is she saying that these are not legitimate art forms that do not have the same cultural significance as ballet? I completely agree with the poster that said that ballet was developed to entertain the wealthy, unlike the native dances that were developed to further the tribes spiritual explorations. There are specific rhythms and steps and rituals that apply when performing these dances. Yet this is not considered classical. These indigenous dances have a value system. Not ballet. Over time, the monastic lifestyle that ballet has has been associated with over time leaves many to believe, including the author of this article, that performing ballet is almost akin to a nun praying in church (hence her ballet is a pure artform point).
The author also says that ballet dancers can make anything look good. Well, she is wrong on that point. I have seen many ballet dancers try to perform hip hop and modern dance, even with some backround training in these areas, and it did not look good. In fact, it is because these dancers were not fluent in these forms that they could not perform them well. The hard hitting quality of movement is not there, the attitude isn't there, and quite frankly, the rhythm isn't there. Since so many ballet dancers count the music, they don't feel the rhythm internally to be able to translate their technique and dynamic quality into other art forms.
Point 2
She delves into other art forms to prove her point that by studying classical pieces whether in music or theatre and then devoting time afterwards to other forms of that art, one loses the technique gained from the classics. In response to that point, she is also wrong. Apparently she hasn't seen the actor Patrick Stewart or the legendary Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre perform whether on the television or right in front of her face. Patrick Stewart can go from protraying a wonderful rendition of Shakespeare to portraying an old man in A Christmas Carol to playing a captain on Star Trek without batting an eyelash. If you watch the Ailey company perform live (which I have by the way), you will see that these dancers are not over weight by any means, they are complete technicians in not only ballet but in Horton technique and are also able to emit such a tremendous amount of emotions that the crowd lets out a roar of standing ovations after watching them perform. In the case of music, after one studies the classical pieces such as Beethoven and Mozart, the musicians skills are only heightened when they then study pieces of the more contemporary artists such as Stravinsky and Rachmoninoff as well as other stylistic forms such as fiddling, a complete break from classical technique in itself. Those persons then go back to the classics with a new found understanding of the subtleties of classical music that they either hadn't noticed or couldn't project because they hadn't been exposed to other kinds of music. Most musicians recognize this. BTW, this author is obviously not a Balanchine fan because of his use of contemporary music (Stravinsky) as well as his obvious choreographic adaptations of the classical technique that he made within his pieces such as Four Temperaments which soon filtered into the School of American Ballet, home of what is now dubbed as the Balanchine technique.
Pointe 4
The author places the blame on modern dance for a bad performance given by Preljocaj. The author needs to place the blame where it's due, either the performer herself (who was not trained in modern dance in the first place), or the choreographer. There is good modern dance and there is bad modern dance. There are also good ballets and bad ballets. I personally was not impressed with Nureyevs staging of Don Quixote, nor am I a fan of Swan Lake, both displaying pure classical ballet technique. That doesn't mean that I don't love ballet and studying the technique (which I am doing currently with the hope of reaching the professional level).Honestly, I am sick of having to watch ballerina after ballerina trying to prove that she too can toss off 32 fouettes just to show off. I'm not moved emotionally when a ballet dancer shows off nor am I in awe of her technique. I would be more inclined to ask for my $30-$80 (USA money) back if all I saw were ballet dancers showing off there technique rather than portraying a character in a storyline or the emotions and subtleties of the music itself.

She also viewscon contemporary choreographers use of twisting the body into different shapes as injurous and unhealthy. Since when has classical ballet been anything but manipulating the ballet into weird shapes that the body was not made for. I'm here to tell her that the body is not naturally made for turnout nor is it made for arabesque. If it were, every single human being on this planet would turnout and would easily do an arabesque. Turnout has only become the basis of classical technique because every movement of ballet originates from this very concept; you cannot perform classical ballet without turnout. It's just not classical ballet. It's contemporary.

She finally makes the point that ballet has many possibilities for exploration. This I do agree with, but in order to not only delve into these areas one must not only have an understanding of classical ballet technique but also of modern and jazz and what ever else there is. These different aspects are not always pretty and fluffy where one is always "...riding lightly on the music...". Sometimes it's heavy and earthy, a very modern or contemporary concept, or sharp and sexy and high energy like jazz, and sometimes it's ugly to make the audience feel uncomfortable in order to get the choreographers point across. Ballet technique alone simply does not have that quality.
Sometimes, a student needs to learn how to feel down into the earth before she pull up away from it.
Europe is not the origin of dance, nor does the dance world rise and set with classical ballet. I say hurray to the Prix de Laussane (sp?). It's all fine and good if the author doesn't lke contemporary dance or as we Americans call it, modern dance, but to give the impression that classical ballet is the only legitimate form of dance is very close minded and honestly, an ignorant thing to believe because obviously this author has not been to many performances other than classical ballet.


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katharine kanter

21-08-02, 02:55 PM (GMT)
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13. "RE: "Is Muti-Purpose dance training a good idea?""
In response to message #12
 
   Thank you for taking the time to reply in such detail to my piece.

In a nutshell, you are young, and I am old. Turned on the positive side of the coin, that means that I have seen, heard, and, believe or not, thought about, a great many things.

Allow me to suggest that you choose one figure, such as Beethoven, or Sheakespeare, and spend the next ten years trying to study him as closely as possible, and learn everything you can from the INSIDE of his works, as opposed to what your teacher tells you in school, or some other secondary source.

Start today.

After nine or ten weeks, perhaps, some of the points I've made may come into clearer focus.

Till then !


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Bruceadmin

21-08-02, 05:02 PM (GMT)
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14. "RE: "Is Muti-Purpose dance training a good idea?""
In response to message #13
 
  
Good Grief - your very hard Katherine... I can't really believe that modern dance is exclusively enjoyed by people who haven't thought enough or about the right things!


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AEHandley

21-08-02, 06:32 PM (GMT)
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15. "RE: "Is Muti-Purpose dance training a good idea?""
In response to message #13
 
   Actually I thought that you were both wrong about a number of things in your two detailed pieces - which probably proves that it's a matter of faith rather than research...


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AEHandley

21-08-02, 08:44 PM (GMT)
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16. "RE: "Is Muti-Purpose dance training a good idea?""
In response to message #15
 
   oops, that came out a bit wrong. I also agreed with both of you about some things! But I don't think that Katherine was fair in her response. Age is not a prerequisite for thoughtful analysis, neither does it confer insight. (I'm middle-aged, btw, if middle-aged means "about half the average life expectancy")


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violindancer2001

21-08-02, 10:30 PM (GMT)
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17. "RE: "Is Muti-Purpose dance training a good idea?""
In response to message #13
 
   Having studied to become a concert violinist for the past 7 years, having played the piano for 14 years, and having studied classical ballet for the last 10 years (btw I'm in college now) I am more than aware of the intricacies in the works by Beethoven and Mozart as well as the many works of Shakespeare, Sophocles, Aristotle, Socrates and Mary Wollenstonecraft throughout my schooling. I'm sure you do have a lot of years on you to think about things of this nature and that you have followed your own advice as far as studying the works of these great men as much as I have. However, it seems as if my age has still allowed me to maintain an open mind when watching new works by modern choreographers to see the beauty for what they are displaying, not for what the dance or any classically-based society maintains is beauty.

Your points were made perfectly clear to me. I understood that what you considered beautiful or correct or ideal was anything following the classical idiom. I also understood that, when I read inbetween the lines of your article you believed that all mondern or contemporary dance was not worth acknowledging since only it was only filled with dancers who could not cut it in the ballet world. I simply replied back that I wholeheartedly disagreed with that sentiment and, like you, presented my own evidence to refute your arguments.

You wrote that I should spend some time for the next ten years studying Beethoven or Mozart to understand your points. I suggest as a rebuttal that you study the works by the many great modern choreographers such as Alvin Ailey, Martha Graham, Paul Taylor, Mark Morris, Bill T. Jones, Merce Cunningham, and Ulysses S. Dove, watch and enjoy the performances given by such illustrious modern and contemporary ballet companies such as New York City Ballet, Pilobolus, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Urban Bush Women, Philadanco, Alonzo Kings Lines Contemporary Ballet, and Axis Dance Company (a company with dancers who happen to have physical disablilties). Then some of my points will come into clearer focus for you.

Till then!


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katharine kanter

22-08-02, 01:47 PM (GMT)
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18. "RE: "Is Muti-Purpose dance training a good idea?""
In response to message #17
 
   Violindancer wrote:

"However, it seems as if my age has still allowed me to maintain an open mind when watching new works by modern choreographers to see the beauty for what they are displaying, not for what the dance or any classically-based society maintains is beauty".

We are NOT living in a "classically-based society". Culture, as an ol' friend of mine put it, means how a society thinks.

How our society thinks, at the present time, is frightening. This is best shewn by its "leisure activities".

The A to which our society's leisure, is, at the present time, tuned, is killer video-games like Counterstrike, things like Lara Croft, and, overall, a voyeurism so degenerate, that it makes Jack the Ripper look like an amateur. In point of fact, most of what is now called "mass entertainment" were better qualified as as snuff films.

Our society is steeped in this violence, it drips ugliness from every pore. I shall refrain from further remarks in this precise context, as they might be inappropriate for a Website devoted, not to politics, but to dance.

I have seen a great deal of modern dance over the last four decades, as well as the most dreadful, boring "classical" choreography - such as Nureyev's, which is anything but classical, if you get right down to it. I have not gone to a performance of Swan Lake since 1961, because I cannot hack Petipa, and Tchaikovskii, in such large doses. Just because something is old, or venerated, does not make it classical.

Labels such as "classical" do not tell the whole truth. Claude Bessy, for example, is convinced that her school is the Temple of Classical Art. Many of us, however, see her Temple differently, more like a ménagerie of Guillem-clones, grazing on tufts of grass in an épaulement-free zone. Others claim that the Vaganova School is the Temple of Art. Is there anyone out there bold enough to say that Faruk Ruzimatov, or Svetlana Zakharova, are "classical" artists ? Others think that without pointe shoes, there is no classical ballet. But most of Bournonville's work can be danced without pointe shoes, and be just as good, because it has choreographic INTEREST. And so on.

And then we have people convinced that Berthold Brecht was a great classical artist.

Never was the advice of Ludwig Van so badly needed.



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AEHandley

22-08-02, 05:43 PM (GMT)
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19. "RE: "Is Muti-Purpose dance training a good idea?""
In response to message #18
 
   I really think that you've done nothing here but express your own personal taste. Fine - we're all entitled to do so - but I don't think it's reasonable to condemn others for disagreeing. BTW I don't think Beethoven is up there with the greats. He has great moments and some great works but some of his stuff is contrived and some is ill-written for the media he chose. He doesn't have the effortless genius of JSB or WAM. But, that's just MY personal opinion.


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violindancer2001

22-08-02, 07:56 PM (GMT)
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20. "RE: "Is Muti-Purpose dance training a good idea?""
In response to message #18
 
   As far as classically-based society I meant within the often small worlds of ballet or classical music in which some of these people believe that the only good dance is classical ballet and the only good music is classical music, definitely not society in general. I am sorry that I didn't make myself clear on that point. I whole-heartedly agree with you on the degeneration of overall society in general, especially in the US (can't speeak for Europe).
That was definitely my point when you wrote that the label "classical" does not necessarily tell the whole truth. It's good choreography that withstands the test of time, to be enjoyed by those who still view dance, ballet, modern, whatever, as a legitimate form of entertainment. Is it really fair to the dancers themselves to not be able to perform works that push the envelope or what the audience expects, especially ballet dancers who's training is so particular, because of their lack of training in other areas of dance? Times are changing and so are the trends in the dance world, especially as each ballet company constantly fights for a younger audience. To not be able to equip dancers in general with the training needed to prepare them for this type of choreography does a disservice to not only the dancers but also the audience. The quality is lost, especially if the dancer is constantly fighting their ballet habits instead of incorporating them into the choreography. Therefore, the dancer only improves as they are able to easily transition from performing the works of Bournonville to the works of Twyla Tharp.


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katharine kanter

27-08-02, 02:09 PM (GMT)
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21. "RE: "Is Muti-Purpose dance training a good idea?""
In response to message #20
 
   Violindancer,

The fact that you take the issue seriously, is in itself most encouraging.

One has got to forget semantics and get down to basics, to try and approach the concept of what "classical" might mean.

For example,the turnout. That lil' critter has been with us for several thousand years. Without it, there is no such thing as "classical" dance. Of course, nowadays, when one walks into certain schools and finds the students with the feet pointing backwards, while their knees sweetly stare ahead, people have started to entertain doubts about the legitimacy of turning out.

But, when taught in a reasonable way, one appropriate to the individual body, there is nothing more "unnatural" about the turnout, than reading a book (think what it does to the eyes, focussing upon such a narrow area for hours !) , writing (what contortions that hand makes in holding the fountain pen ! ) or playing the bassoon (ho ho ho ), for that matter.

The keyboard on this computer does not work properly, which makes communicating difficult. Must sign off for the time being.


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moderndancer

01-09-02, 09:38 PM (GMT)
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22. "RE: "Is Muti-Purpose dance training a good idea?""
In response to message #21
 
   Katharine

I think that classical is an historical term that we ascribe to current ballet practice to acknowledge its heritage in the frameworks of classicism, as translated by 19th century choreographers. Much of ballet today is probably not classical in the conceptual sense, in that the elements of classicism are subverted, challenged or turned on their head. Forsythe, Tharp, Mcgregor come to mind as examples of choreographers doing this.

Students in ballet training should be encouraged to investigate the history of the art that they are studying and they should investigate the connections of the classical forms to their present cultural experiences. Perhaps then those in ballet will be able to relate the past and the preservation of the form to the future and continued relevance of the form. To know that the use of turn out and elaborate gesture is embedded in a heritage that locates ballet largely as entertainment for the elite in society. What does the classical vocabulary say about society today? I think that the Prix de Lausanne's decision to include contemporary forms may give permission for greater risk taking from classical choreographers who are investigating the frontier of their art form.

I am young and idealistic and I consider myself an advocate for democracy, equal access and freedom of expression. I have experienced the perpetuation of elitistism in classical ballet, prejudices against physique and a proclomation of classical ballet as the high art form, the epitomy of dance as art. I am afraid that I find that your article achieves little in the democratizing of classical ballet as an artform and in so doing you give ballet a questionable relationship to a society that we define as democratic.

As noted by ViolinDancer, there has recently been so much crossing over by modern and classical choreographers in both worlds that it is sometimes hard for me even to label dance as classical or contemporary. I find myself just wanting to connect to the choreographer's idea. Dances confined by their forms are stifling and laborious to watch. Surely any choreographer worth their salt is going to start their work from an idea, rather than with the form itself?

These discussions raise many training issues. In a climate of such diversity what exactly constitutes a rigorous dance education? Physiological, neurological and psychological systems are faciliated differently in different training regimes and the refinement of artistic skills needs a framework - such ballet - to guide that refinement.

I do not think that there is one answer. I have found intensive bodywork practice has helped me immensely in sorting out the artistic expressive from the functional anatomical. Understanding the systems of the body and how they relate and interact with social and cultural phenonema such as forms like ballet, modern techniques, the ways we walk, move and communicate are empowering tools for any artist.

An artist must choose how they train, be aware of the aims of the training - know that a particular system will educate them in a particular way of moving, a way of moving that has cultural and social signification.

It is not possible to tolerate every view as that would lead to a nightmare of politically correct inactiveness. But I do feel that it is not necessary to condemn the perspective by which one feels threatened and I find that your article does a great disservice to classical ballet in representing it as elitist and non-tolerant of other forms.


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