Category Archives: General Dance Discussion

Danse Macina


The concept of ‘Keep on Dancing’ or ‘Just Keep Dancing’ must not be new ideas-there are periods in most dancer’s lives when they have to break down the value and incentive required to keep dancing. In business, you learn that in economics there must be opportunity cost, incentive, making choices (trade-off), and return on investment. Value is not only subjective, it results in a trade-off-when you choose one thing, you give up something else. This is also a variable in the opportunity cost. Usually, the dancer requires incentive, but rarely considers the return when beginning training. As the years pile up, and training costs escalate, the dancer (or parent) begins to wonder if there is value in dance education, and what the return on their investment will be.

Sometimes, when ‘enough’ seems to have been spent, parents create a cut-off, and the whole world seems to pressure the dancer to ‘do something now.’ Ironically, this means put yourself to work-become a professional dancer, because that is what it really means-good enough to get paid. No one teaches dancer economics, but, like history, or math, there should be guidance for parents, teachers, and dancers to understand and follow this ramshackle method of transitioning from a student to a dancer, but there is not. Not only that, but unless dancers have been tutored under business professionals, or exceptionally frugal people-and perhaps not even then, it is often very difficult to ‘reach’ a dancer. Mine, for instance, feels responsibility now, but when she was younger, she did not, preferring to ‘keep in dancing’ and her mind off problems, like money.

Out of sight, out of mind  As long as a dancer is kept away from the realities of cost, away at school, in a program, in school, busy all day, one does not share or learn responsibilities of costs and keeping up the education of dancing, clothing, pointe shoes, and the many other necessities of classical ballet. Sometime, I think, that as a student, I leaned toward modern and contemporary because the cost was affordable to me (more) as a working minor. I often weighed the cost of pointe shoes, costumes, and other things, relative too my budget, trade-offs, and returns, at an early age. I have heard practical students leave ballet due to cost (or their parents). But it is not unreasonable to understand that the market for ballet dancers, hard-working students, and passionate dancers is effected by these very things. Would the ballet we are seeing be better if programs to train dancers were not born by the whims of finances, but the discrepancies in art quality that result from the very hungriest of dancers not having any opportunity to dance, or to learn ballet.

It does nothing to tell someone who dances that they may not if they really want to-one only has to watch a Gene Kelly movie, Stormy Weather (1943), the disabled, or my daughter-and many others like her. But the considerations to a middle-class family are just as numerous and devastating for someone who has been told, “No.” There is self-promotion, but many ‘sensitive artist’ types, and good dancers, just do not have the ability to do that-or the time. Many personalities would just not have been as successful without an alpha in the mix, like Diaghilev, or Mysylph, etc…it doesn’t have to be a big manager, but it needs and advocate, and without places to go to obtain funds, even advocates are useless. It does not help that services exist, such as gofundme, which take some of that funding, lose the rest of it and common business/money-making principles apply-and they should not, in donations or in dance. An attorney once told me, never pay a fee to cash a check. Your employer should cash it for you-you have to find a way to cash it, preferably without a fee, and sometime bank accounts cost money, too. Even simple things like this can eat away at the incentive a dancer has to put toward what they do, the fabric of everyday life. But we have to teach them to survive, and for some students it is a continuing series of disappointments resulting in being forced, or causing them to hate what they do, their parents for making them love this thing, and themselves, for not being able to surmount the difficulties associated with continuing it.

 

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Complexions Contemporary Ballet to premiere David Bowie tribute


Complexions Contemporary Ballet interprets two incomparable Rock Music innovators who both transcended the limits of Rock And Roll music.

Source: Complexions Contemporary Ballet to Premiere David Bowie Tribute at Music Hall Today

‘Edgar Degas-At MOMA through July 24


Love Degas? Artist? This is a rare and beautiful opportunity to view Degas’ work from a different perspective….it’s hard, surreal, enchanting! At MOMA through July 24, 2016

Source: ‘Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty’ Review – WSJ

Ballet Summer Intensive in France by Aingeal Packes – GoFundMe


Source: Ballet Summer Intensive in France by Aingeal Packes – GoFundMe

Choreographer Andris Liepa: Fokine’s ballets can be compared to Avatar | Russia Beyond The Headlines


A hundred years after the triumph of Russian Seasons on the European stage, Andris Liepa, representative of the famous dynasty of dancers and son of the choreographer Maris Liepa, recreates the performances of Sergei Diaghilev’s repertoire.

Source: Choreographer Andris Liepa: Fokine’s ballets can be compared to Avatar | Russia Beyond The Headlines

Continuing the Conversation


Ballet Portfolio gofundme 52916 Pierre Bonnard 1867 to 1947 The Converation at Arcachon

I haven’t posted in quite a while, call this being extremely busy! So much has happened this year in terms of personal responsibilities: moving back to New York, working for several months as Director of The New York Ballet Institute, re-starting ballet programs, commuting, working, personal goals, college preparation for all of my children, and just generally running, that I haven’t really had time to post at all, or the inclination. I didn’t forget about you, but at times I was just too exhausted to post and other times the well seemed dry.

I had hoped to start a school (really continue one this year) and a lot of work went into that project which was not recompensed, but that was a gamble, really, and though the signatures for the grant program were obtained through over three thousand hours of promotion, we did not get the grant in the end. The proprietors moved further upstate due to necessity and comfort, and my daughter sought training elsewhere. There will always be good training available, and I believe I brought a lot of attention to their expertise and historical importance, but after everything was said and done, they did not have the drive to pursue a full-time education program without substantial injections of cash into their school. I suppose it will go unused, and though they promised me the use of it, I really did not have the desire to proceed without them-what would be the point?

I do have a ballet and dance background, undergraduate degree, and teaching experience, but compared to theirs, my knowledge and abilities pale drastically; I would not wish to take over in areas where I have no such expert knowledge and acumen. I still believe they are two of the finest teachers I have ever met, and despite age and encumbrances are quite able to teach. They are quite dear to me, despite our having to basically call it quits. Oddly, I received an email this year that we were in the running again and had enough votes to qualify again-I ignored the email recently.

Quite a lot of schools have popped up over the past year and many of them are doing quite well: French, American, and Russian, in the city. Some are taking grand steps forward based on my promotion scheme and I am happy to see that this is working for them. It is important to speak up and self-promote; a lot of fine teachers go unrecognized because they do not have the foresight or gumption to do blatant self-promotion, but this is sometimes what is needed to get students.

After NYBI, I went right into another possible project with Ken Ludden of The Fonteyn Institute, and Ken is a very fine person and good friend. He really did not need assistance which I could provide, but he is developing the institute in his own design which has worked very well for him in the past. Sometimes, there is just not a resolve to achieve an end by two people, with both in charge in varying degrees, so I do not think there was a place for me there, as he had originally thought. We did attempt a couple of things together and now he is commencing new and exciting projects.

My daughter had her last year of high school this year and this took some very arduous work to overcome all the obstacles and to achieve her graduation and continue ballet, which she has done, but not without a feeling that the year was not as progressive as she had hoped. But, she did do some remarkable work, and has made some friends, and met some teachers, whom she will probably retain as lifelong friends. She learned alot, and a new passion is the French style of ballet, a yearning for international travel, and the desire to obtain a four-year degree as well, so I cannot fault her verve or gradual maturity. I am sure she is going to make a great lady one day, and no one could ave a fairer view of the word, I think. I am extremely proud of her and hope that she will be able to continue dancing for as long as it moves her. She has a current campaign for study abroad here Education Campaign: Dance in France  I hope you will check it out and consider contributing to her dreams!

After a long year of working, my sons have returned to college, determined to succeed, so in all, I couldn’t be happier at the outcome, even though the going was, at times, pretty rough this year. We survived and have plans for the future all around. I hope your ballet and dance studies have continued, that you have made contributions of relevance to you, and that your work is motivating and inspirational. Above all, I hope you Keep on Dancing!

Female Character Artists: from loving mother to bloodthirsty baddy


These expert dancer-actors are as important to the drama as the leading lady.

Source: Female Character Artists: from loving mother to bloodthirsty baddy — News — Royal Opera House