IMHO_ – The unremarkable explosion of ballet competition studios.. coupled with the Ridiculous Dance on TV

And you ask why I am clutching my Throat!!!!!!  

There is one type of dance I abhor-  BAD. 

Nefarious characters, fatal potions and or the  agonies and the ecstasies of young love may be frequent storylines at the ballet, but the art form itself is under a bewitchment of its own making .   In recent years there has been a significant explosion of ballet competition studios  “teaching ballet in the United States”  . These type of competition studios  provoke a gigantic grating sting  in me.  They  inflame a flood  of debated questions without answers. In particular questions about how much these ballet  competition studios  are  affecting contemporary & classical ballet  training as well as  performance practice in young professionals .  More fundamentally this business model  effects whether the notion of developing dance competitions may be adversative to dance as art. This is the type of evolution to me will only  explore the harms that are caused in young dancers training this way..  Only equating classroom ballet vocabulary with choreographed movement will not work. 

Like these new breed  studios,  I  am not a fan of the TV mega hit ” So You think you can Dance”. After watching this deplorable l show, I feel compelled to express my disillusionment in this much anticipated invention. The judges have no personality, with hardly any added comments, critical or otherwise . None of the dancers seem to have anything extraordinary to wow us with.. Maybe if F0X hear enough complaints, they’ll inject some “oomph” into this mess before it fizzles out altogether.

 I  guess I just don’t get this obsession with competition shows (or this obsession with producing competition shows-  American Idol too!!!!). Why not just have a show that showcases the MANY spectacular dance artists from all over the world instead of turning it into a meaningless competition. I think if the quality on all fronts is there, people will want to tune in. Stop underestimating and patronizing audiences!

Balanchine’s dominating power hammered ballet in the world, changing it forever. But here’s the problem: In his wake, ballet’s variety of expression is tapering, not expandeing I love him and I hate him. ….because  what I for one miss , in new choreographic work is  the  theater, display, satire, flesh-and-blood characters, the throbbing of real life, the escape offered by a sharp, piercing little story. Now more than ever, American ballet, artistically speaking, is a standardized entity. We are a thoroughly Balanchine nation. Born in 1904, created his streamlined, elongated leggy method by merging old-school Russian technique with modern-art principles as well as  the sex appeal of the Broadway chorus line. He was a product of St. Petersburg’s famed Mariinsky Theatre, whence would later come Natalia Makarova: whose performances set standards of artistry and aristocracy of dance which mark her as the finest ballerina of her generation in the West” as well as the ballet demi god  Mikhail Baryshnikov. Serge Diaghilev made Balanchine  chief choreographer of his Ballets Russes — the trendsetting troupe of expatriate Russians who counted Picasso, Miró and Stravinsky among their collaborators. After it folded, Balanchine landed in New York in 1934, where he founded the School of American Ballet, now the nation’s top ballet school.

Balanchine is the IBM  stock of ballet. A blue chip stock is the stock of a well-established company having stable earnings and no extensive liabilities. Blue chip stocks pay regular dividends, even when business is faring worse than usual. The term is derived from casinos, where blue chips represent the greatest value among the many colors of chips. It is still a stable investment. As the old saying goes, no one ever got fired for buying IBM — or for licensing a Balanchine work. After all, who can argue against the visual and musical joys behind his innovations in the speed, virtuosity and urbane glamour of ballet?   That’s pretty impressive considering that the New York City Ballet co-founder created his last work in 1982 and died a year later. Today, Balanchine isn’t merely a legend — he’s a hot property. His ballets circle the globe, and in the United States are being danced by chamber-size and larger troupes alike, from the Charleston Ballet Theatre to American Ballet Theatre.   We do them.. we need to .   

From a marketing standpoint, this is not a surprise people love it.    Some of my peers argue with me about my very strong opinion.   I just don’t want to  lose sights of the other glorious  obsessions that could to be lost in  the dance world. A wonderful example – The power of Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake has always been that its fierce male swans dance an invisible historical duet with the ghosts of the original ballet.  Not for me –  That’s thought provoking!    Matthew Bourne, artistic director of New Adventures Dance Theatre Company, is known for his ground-breaking shows in the world of interpretive dance, be it his sexy ’60s romp Play Without Words, the dancing male swan ensemble in Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, or his timely adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray.  Give me a ballet with some meat –   and   Turn off the TV !


One thought on “IMHO_ – The unremarkable explosion of ballet competition studios.. coupled with the Ridiculous Dance on TV

  1. Dewanda

    Bravo Jill! The art of dance is being demeanored by these competitions. Ballet has and always will be an art form. These fads will soon pass away!

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