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Posts Tagged ‘anthropology’

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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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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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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I have been wrestling with the meaning of one word related to my dance research for a while now. “Motivation”

There are many sources that describe motivation from a psychological perspective. But I don’t want to go there. Often when I speak about motivation, people tend to think about how one individual can motivate another. Certainly when I use the word as a # tag I seem to draw in plenty of commercial enterprises trying to flog motivational blogs, presentations, books and speeches. Again this is not what I am really wanting to look at.

A little closer to my interest is how dancers motivate themselves. Discussions I have had on social media would suggest that many dancers don’t think consciously about what motivates them. This is hardly surprising since most of us think about what we are doing a lot more than why we are doing it. So one little question could open up the whole point I am trying to make, when a dancer says they dance professionally because “it is their life”, “it makes them feel good”, or “it is in their being”; I ask myself why? They are motivated to feel this way and I would like to discover what various forms this takes.

 

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About this time last year, a wonderful gentleman from The Australian Ballet named Colin Peasley welcomed me to the Sydney Opera House to watch the company behind the scenes. I spent three hours or so talking to him, and watching the dancers in class and rehearsal. And whilst I did not know it at the time, I was watching Darcey Bussell from the Royal Ballet conducting the class – more here. Twelve months on, it is time for me to take stock of what continues to motivate me to do research into professional ballet dancers. Since motivation is the theme of my study, it stands to reason that I should examine my own changing circumstances.

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Mike writes about social networking and dancers for “Bulletinpointe”

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…

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