Archive for the ‘Blogs’ Category

Hi, I am Mike and I am pursuing anthropology as an interest in my retirement. In September 2011 I started this blog and have been calling it a research blog. The purpose was to engage with professional ballet dancers and ballet companies to get a feel for developing a useful research question and potentially find contacts to make proposals to for research fieldwork before enrolling in a research degree. With the passing of time I have discovered a lot more about ballet dancers but have also come to the realisation that doing a research degree at my age is just not going to happen. As a result, my blog has become largely inactive. One of the problems I have wrestled with is the fact that many people seem to read the blog but very few comment. I have invited guest posters from the field of dance who have authored for me with some small success. I am now in the process of looking at how this blog may look going forward; how to engage with its intended audience; and how to find motivation to write more and relevant posts.

cheers… Mike

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Catherine Tully (see link below) has asked me to promote a new resource for dancers. I am happy to post this information.

Who are we?

Nichelle Suzanne – from Dance Advantage

Catherine Tully – from 4dancers

Lauren Warnecke — from ArtIntercepts

Maria Hanley – from Maria’s Movers

Tiffany Kadani Braniff – from Dancing Branflake

Here’s the link to the purchase page: http://www.danceadvantage.net/start-a-dance-blog/

And some info about the resource:

We are dancers who started dance blogging when there were no examples to look to. We learned things the hard way. We persevered through writing ruts and technical blunders and have significantly grown our readership, our web presence, and our connections.

Getting a blog, writing stuff, and figuring it all out as you go along like we did takes a lot of time. We know you don’t have time to waste.

So let us give you what you need to get started right now…

We want to help you make decisions about your blog without all the trial and error. So we’ve written a guide to starting your dance blog.

UntitledWe’ll tell you all about…

  • Things you need to know to set up your dance blog quickly.
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  • Getting discovered using social media and SEO basics
  • Taking those next big steps like monetization and traffic analysis

We wish we’d had this when we were starting out.

There’s really nothing to lose.

Five experienced dance bloggers will walk you through all of those first blogging questions and frustrations for just $7.75.

Even if you already have a dance blog, or have started… and stopped… and started a blog in the past, you will learn something new from this guide.

So get it and get your dance blog moving today!

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I haven’t posted here for a little while. I have been busy with other things like completing an online university course. And now that is finished, I have to worry about last year’s tax returns. But it has not all been work, we have just returned from a ten day holiday in the sun 🙂

I have to admit to having a little writers block at the moment which I will strive to overcome and write soon. If you have anything you would like to discuss here, feel free to mention it.

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Mike writes about social networking and dancers for “Bulletinpointe”


Guest post by Mike Barnes (“Anthropology En Pointe”)

Mike is an independent researcher who as a mature age student in Australia was awarded an honours degree in 2004 with a major in cultural anthropology. Mike has until recently been active teaching tutorial classes for “introductory anthropology”, “human evolution”, and “sociology”. In 2011, Mike started research with an interest in professional ballet dancers.

Dolly has been very kind and shared her experiences of dance and career in a guest post for my blog  http://wp.me/p1OYEJ-cc). We decided it would be a good idea for me to write for her blog about my experience as an independent researcher.

I have been asked how this all started (http://wp.me/p1OYEJ-bx). My interest in ballet is a fortunate amalgamation of two interests. I have been a subscriber to The Australian Ballet for a number of years. I have very much enjoyed their performances…

View original post 1,422 more words

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A reader recently asked me how I developed my interest in ballet. It is not that I ever danced when I was younger, so why the sudden interest? The answer I gave him has reminded me how much I have missed out on by only now discovering the joy of dance. Last year, I took some absolute beginner ballet classes and really loved it. Unfortunately I have left it a bit late in life and my co-ordination is not up to taking my dancing seriously.

But that is not the end of my interest since my research will enable me to live vicariously through the dancing of others. Here is a version of how I answered the reader who I mentioned earlier.

My interest in ballet, is a fortunate amalgamation of two interests. I have been a subscriber to The Australian Ballet for a number of years and have seen every performance of theirs’ in this time. I have very much enjoyed it. However, it took on a far more interesting turn when I decided I could blend this interest with my other love, cultural anthropology. As a very mature age student, I received an honours degree in anthropology in 2004 and started tutoring undergrad courses in the subject. All this time I was looking for a cultural setting I could research for a postgrad degree. After a number of false starts looking at topics that led to little interest on my part, it occurred to me the middle of last year that I could study professional ballet dancers as a cultural group. I started doing a lot of reading and working through social networking groups and this blog and discovered that as a cultural grouping, professional dancers in general have not received the attention they deserve from ethnographic research. By this I mean, a great deal can be learned from spending an extended period of time observing and interacting with dancers in an extended fieldwork setting. With this in mind I have contacted local full time ballet companies and I am looking at others overseas.

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Thank you to Dolly Williams for this post on her iamdollywilliams blog. It brought to our attention a video that I have included below from The Royal Ballet on the subject of motivation. Since my research interest is in the various forms of motivation through the career of a  ballet dancer, the video makes a good starting point from which to discuss this subject.

It has been my observation that when you ask a dancer what motivates them, two possible approaches are given as answers. The first is mostly reflected by this video and many of the interviews that I read. The question is answered along the lines of what motivated them to start thinking of becoming a (professional) ballet dancer. Interestingly, this approach addresses a snapshot in time and the video talks to the subject of how dreams turn into hard work.

The second approach to answers to this question look at what keeps a dancer motivated and will be a larger part of my research. This form of the question/answer usually result in responses that refer to a dancer’s perceived need to dance. Answers in this category include, “I need to”, “provides me with meaning”, “it is how I communicate”, “movement is a part of my life”, “it is my true self, my spirit”. All of these answers internalise how they feel and consequently I could suggest they have in common that they make the dancer feel good. Many careers make their practitioners feel good, but many more are ambivalent on this point. Even when they do make a person feel good, it may vary with degree and through time. For dancers, this may be more constant.

However, to be respectful to those who choose dance as a career, I suspect there is a lot more to a dancer’s motivation than a simple addiction to feeling good. What makes a dancer keep going when they fail to get that role or promotion that they have been working so hard for? More so, what keeps them elevated after the initial euphoria of successfully getting a coveted role or promotion? All of these ideas are central to my research and I welcome any thoughts or anecdotes that readers may have. Anonymity is possible if you want to contact me directly.

The Royal Ballet on Motivation

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I have renamed this blog which was previously known egotistically as “Mike Barnes Anthropologist (Ballet)”. The new name reflects the real purpose of this resource and that is to follow research into ballet and ballet dancers.

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If you are a dancer and feel a need for a new year resolution with a difference, why not participate in my research. It really is not difficult. All I want you to do is talk freely about your experiences as a dancer. In 2011 a few joined in, but I would welcome many more. Let’s make this a vibrant dancer’s blog that has many wanting to return time and time again, or simply subscribe by email.

To make it easier to actively participate in this blog, I have created a “Participation” box at the top of the right hand menu. Here you will find links to categories of posts that ask questions you may wish to comment on. The questions are hopefully about topics dancers would love to be able to talk about. So why not join me in my research and tell us what makes your world of dance a special type of personal endeavour. Even propose a question yourself.

Happy New Year to all my readers and participants – I look forward to “meeting” you all through my blog.

cheers… Mike

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If you like this blog, please vote for it in “Dancer Musings” category of the Top Dance Blogs of 2011 being conducted by DanceAdvantage.net

To vote, simply comment on this post in my blog (not on DanceAdvantage). I encourage you to share why you read my blog, and what makes it special, or which are your favorite posts. Readers’ votes will be tallied by DanceAdvantage.net and the results posted during the first weeks of the new year.

IMAGE Top Dance Blog Contest logo IMAGE

DanceAdvantage is sponsoring this list through: http://danceadvantage.net/2011/11/29/top-blog-2011

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I have always thought the term creative process as being something of an oxymoron. According to Wikipedia, process means:

Process or processing (verb) typically describes the action of taking something through an established and usually routine set of procedures or steps to convert it from one form to another… A process involves steps and decisions in the way work is accomplished, and may involve a sequence of events.

I have just read a blog post Creative Process: 10 Ideas for Moving Beyond the Steps which I found interesting and certainly did what the title suggests, that is, listed steps for moving beyond the steps. I am not writing this as a critique of that article, which serves a useful purpose. However, the article did prompt me to think about how we use language. Language can direct you to thinking in a fashion that may be intended but often has other consequences. I am not saying that in creative pursuits such as dance and choreography that there is no process. I am suggesting that we should be careful not to privilege thinking about the task over the creative output that we are trying to achieve.

For example, a simple device such as listing steps of a process rather than describing the “how to” in narrative form immediately places the brain in a structured context. Is this what we want when describing how to be creative? Maybe it is, but I suspect more would be achieved creatively if the reader is asked to think about what is gained by behaving in a particular fashion. This is not easy, it takes quite a leap to move from a report type / how to style to a narrative analytical style that is still accessible to the intended audience. In fact, my posts on this blog attempt to achieve these ends – and they are not always successful.



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