Before you read this amazing post, check out Lana’s page here:
Here is Lana’s amazing post on ballet education, both in public schools and in specialized ballet instruction. Enjoy!
Who cares about ballet?
It turns out a lot of people do! What does a lot mean?
In doing my research I found a statistic that shows number of people who visited dance or ballet performances in the US from Spring 2008 to Spring 2017. So, within a period of 12 months prior to Spring 2017 15.98 million people in the US visited a ballet. I guess that can be considered a lot.
I always wondered, who goes to see a ballet. Is it mostly parents of the ballet dancers? Is it old people? Maybe younger generations? Is it elitist? Is it mostly women?
Based on a simple poll (83 people/mostly dancers) we did:
· 70% of participants go to see a ballet more than 3 times a year
· 90% of participants indicated that their father is less interested in ballet than their mother
· 73% think that ballet-goers are old people
· 65% indicated that their younger friends are not interested in ballet
So how do we get more people interested in ballet? How do we get younger people – millennials and youth (non-ballet dancers) interested in ballet?
I think it can be as simple as educating them on the importance and the influence the art of ballet has. More emphasis must be placed on teaching kids about ballet, its art form, the history of it, because ballet is remarkable!
Why is it then, that no school teaches about ballet? Kids learn about a lot of different art forms in school, they have music, art, dance, acting, coding and technology – but nothing about ballet. It is a big part of our history and it deserves a mention. It originated in 15th and 16th centuries yet it gets no reference whatsoever. If this is not changed, ballet will become a dying art. And that cannot happen!
Ballet used to be linked to aristocracy and that impression may still be attached to it, but it is time to transform that. It is time to teach our children to go see a ballet just like they would a concert, basketball game or a play. A lot of people associate ballet with its complexity but learning about its history and methods will help with the understanding of the form and in turn create an invitation to visit more performances.
Using media that appeals to the younger generations is also something that is not as evident with ballet companies. No live streams of performances, no ‘dance cams’, ‘kiss cams’, fireworks, popcorn or on-stage giveaways! Maybe, that is the what needs to be changed as well. We are all aware of what these things are associated with; Popcorn – movies; dance and kiss cams – basketball and soccer games; same with giveaways! And what association do people have with ballet? There must be one!
Make it more interactive! Invite a local dance school to perform during intermission! Live stream the ballet and interview ballet-goers! Let the audience get to know the dancers – show their history of work on a big screen during intermission, so little girls and boys who are dreaming of becoming one of them can get an idea of what it takes to do that! Offer backstage random giveaways!
As I said a lot of people care about ballet, but still not enough. Ballet is not dying art nor should it be, but if we do not change something, it may very well become one.
Thank you for reading! You can read the article here on Lana’s website and check out her other succinct, thoughtful articles on raising dancers and learning all about ballet education:
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