This is one of an excellent series of online ballet class lessons. It is certainly invaluable to a beginner like me, but I suspect also advanced students.
Archive for February, 2012
I am considering the notion of “development stages” of becoming a professional ballet dancer. Clearly, any career has developmental stages towards becoming a fully proficient professional. However, professional ballet dancers are somewhat unique in that their development starts at a very young age, even if they do not know they are headed in that direction. And somewhat ironically, their career as a dancer also ends at a relatively young age. For my research, I would like to identify a reasonable trajectory of these stages of a dancers career. Below is a list of what I think are some obvious stages of development. It would be naive of me to think that these are the only stages and indeed that these ones are necessarily an accurate reflection of a dancers reality. Would anyone like to comment on what they think of the list and offer additions, elaborations or modifications from their own experience? Would there be better descriptions to replace any of these?
The developmental stages I have identified in (presumably) chronological order are:
- Very young novice – first steps
- Young enthusiast – becoming enthusiastic in ballet as an art/discipline
- Advanced student – professional “in-training”
- Beginning professional – Apprentice or Corps de Ballet in a part/full-time capacity in a company
- Intermediate professionals – Soloists and Coryphées
- Senior professionals – Senior and Principal Artists
- Ageing (sic) dancer – significant experience yet on the road to retirement
Your input to this part of my research would be very valuable. Thank you in advance.
This post is not a criticism of anyone who has worked hard and eventually found it too much. It is just intended to provide a comparison to permit a discussion about motivation.
Former Lost star Emilie De Ravin was on course to become an Olympic gymnast as a child – but the gruelling schedule to maintain her talents became too much to bear.
The Aussie actress won a place in an Olympics training group when she was eight and had dreams of one day representing her country.But she tells WENN, “It was just too much and it wasn’t fun anymore.”
De Ravin became a ballet dancer instead and studied with the Australian Ballet School in Melbourne. She adds, “I went there until I was 16 and I was classically trained.” contactmusic.com
I do not think anyone would under-estimate the effort required to train for the Olympics. However, I find it rather strange that one would train as a professional ballet dancer instead and then give up at the age of 16.
Recently there has been a discussion on LinkedIn that is concerned with what is perceived in classical ballet as an increasing concern for athleticism and ballet as sport. However, my goal in writing this post is to question the motivation required to continue with professional ballet as a career and lifestyle. What is that special extra that is required to be a professional dancer?
After meeting this week with my future supervisor, I have changed the focus of my research into professional ballet dancers. My research question is tenatively now:
“How do ballet dancers accommodate changing motivations through a lifetime of changes, successes and disappointments?”
I will be arguing that each dancers’ experience is contextual and that no single theory fits all cases. Dancers have a biography that follows them through their career; from their first steps, to retirement from dance.
It will be my aim to identify contextually the career stages and possible associated motivations. I will explore how these motivations are articulated as well as experienced in reality? And importantly, how do dancers and those people they are associated with deal with these expectations and cope with success and failure.
I hope to be making more posts soon that will explore these ideas and seek contributions from anyone interested.
I have been accepted as a Member of the International Dance Council CID (The United Nations of Dance), a UNESCO organisation.
Here is an excellent video which shows some historical perspective of ballet costume, movement, and Degas’ paintings.
It is interesting how pointe shoes started as soft toe and dancers wore corsets. Both of course which when modified or discarded resulted in very different possibilities of movement.
Some time ago, I created a montage of Degas paintings, some of which are discussed in the video above.