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Archive for the ‘Questions for my readers’ Category

Here is an interesting look into the long day of a ballet dancer at The Australian Ballet (@TheAusBallet). Their love of dancing and performing is clearly behind their motivation. However, how does this “love” feel in the mind and bodies of the dancer?

 

 

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Over on LinkedIn I asked the question “Are there differences between different forms of dance which influence dancer’s drive to professional status?” Specifically,

This is a rather broad question. I believe all professional dancers have put in the hard work required to get to professional status otherwise they would not be there. But are there differences that help guide outcomes to direct dancers to one form or another. It seems with only a few exceptions, most dancers start at a young age and usually in ballet class. What do you think attracts only some to become professional classical ballet dancers and many others to branch into other forms of dance (contemporary, modern, music theatre, aerial, just to name a few)? Does opportunity play a large part, or are there many other factors?

I would like to say I have enjoyed the spirited conversation that the question provoked. The responses open up many dimensions of the original question that I posed.

If you want to join in the conversation please feel free.

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A friend at Macquarie University is running an introduction to human evolution course online as a MOOC. It runs for four weeks starting tomorrow and is called ” Becoming Human: Anthropology (BeHuman)” (link). Dancers may find this course of interest as it takes a look at how we “evolved from primates and became human.” I was a tutor for an extended on-campus version of this course several years ago and can highly recommend this online version to anyone with limited time available. MOOC courses are free and prerequisites not usually required.

UPDATE: Please note that if you missed it, this course is running multiple times, the next 27/05/2013 to 23/06/2013.

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DiabloBallet ‏@DiabloBallet recently posted on twitter:

“Don’t dance for the audience; dance for yourself.” Bob Fosse #dance #ballet

I imagine most professional ballet dancers balance their thinking between performing for an audience and dancing to meet their own desires. Do you favour one way of thinking over the other and how does this influence your motivation? Dancers often claim that they dance because it is part of their being, so I would expect that dancing just for an audience would be de-motivating.

Personally, I don’t think it is likely to come down to audience vs. yourself, rather both elements play an important part in a dancer’s life. What do you think?

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Susan, an online dancer friend of mine alerted me on twitter to this New Yorker article:

BRING IN THE BALLERINAS A.B.T.’s guest policy.
by Joan Acocella
JUNE 25, 2012
ABSTRACT: DANCING about American Ballet Theatre’s guest dancers. A.B.T. has long been known for bringing in foreign guest stars. The fondness for guest stars ruled out any unity of style within the troupe.

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/dancing/2012/06/25/120625crda_dancing_acocella#ixzz21DPtOHdq

This article started me thinking about dancer motivation when considering opportunities for promotion and acquiring coveted roles. Here in Australia, The Australian Ballet has a very strong company of full time contracted dancers. Only very occasionally do guest dancers appear in performances and looking from afar , it would seem these guest appearances would do little to threaten the motivation of company dancers. Indeed, I expect these guest appearances would have positive effect on motivation.

Of course, motivation is a fickle thing in any endeavour. An event that may threaten one dancer, may encourage another. This raises the question, at what point could you expect guest appearances in a performance to systemically affect the motivational well being of the company? It would be great to hear from professional dancers of their experience and thoughts in this regard. Either comment on this post, or if you prefer use the contact page to send me a message and I will make your comments known but anonymous.

 

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I am still making slow progress with finding a company that will agree to me conducting fieldwork. I have received rejections from two ballet companies regarding fieldwork with them. I still have two more proposals outstanding with other companies but I am having trouble making contact with the persons who may be able to approve me spending four to six months with their company of dancers. So far I have only tried ballet companies in Australia and New Zealand. There are any number overseas that I could consider but they would need to be English speaking since the degree I am considering has no time available to learn another language. Do any of my readers have any thoughts on the matter? Is anyone willing to suggest this proposal to their company? If so, contact me and we will chat. Research overseas will cost a lot more in expenses, so if anyone is aware of any scholarships that may support such research I would be very interested.

UPDATE: Mike Barnes – Fieldwork Proposal document. This proposal mentions the first half of 2013, but it may have to slip to the second half at this late stage.

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This video from “The Atlantic” shows a Pas de Deux from the visual perspective of the dancers. However, without experiencing other senses such as embodied movement, position in space, and the physical presence of the partner, etc, it is impossible for the viewer to substantially feel the dance. As a complete novice to dancing ballet (a few classes only), I find the video is jarring to my senses – as the introduction warns. It gives me no real feeling of what it is like to dance. I would expect the viewer’s sensual response to the video would depend significantly on their own experience of ballet dancing. It would be interesting to hear from professional and student dancers what they experience when they watch this video. Tell me how it makes you feel and what your level of dance experience is. Also, what do you think of the argument I have made?

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