In class, we’ve come across the formative beginnings of ballet already: court dances at Versailles, the palace of the kings of France. Out of this participatory dancing developed the theatrical, presentational dancing style called ballet, which emerged over the 17th and 18th centuries as the popularity of dancing in court bled over into other genres of music. Operas in the 17th and 18th centuries always included a few dance numbers — people liked to see dancing! — and these performances of dancers on stage eventually inspired their own independent productions.

The balletic tradition

louis-xiv-apollo
Louis XIV (1638-1715), costumed as the Greek god Apollo for a ballet

The “classical” style of ballet coalesced in the 19th century in France and Russia. It features both intense emotional stories (much like other 19th century music!) and a high degree of elegance in terms of the costumes, set design, and movements of the ballerinas (dancers). [The word “classical” here has nothing to do with the Classical period in music history; it refers to what is now considered the apex of the style and is taught in most modern studios as the fundamentals of ballet.] Ballet is both stylized and quite technical; a difficult and defining feature of high-art ballet dancing is complete control of body alignment: ballet dancers are constantly thinking about the lines that their bodies make, from toes to hips to fingers. Female ballerinas, once they’ve achieved a certain degree of competency in their training, learn a technique called dancing en pointe, going completely up on the tips (points) of their toes:

ballet-en-pointe

ballet-en-pointe-barefootThe effect is the illusion of floating across the stage, weightless and seemingly effortless. (The reality is actually quite painful, and dancers’ bodies are only at their peak until their mid- or late-30s, making their careers quite short.)

A composer whose style and career strongly aligned with classical ballet is the Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-93). He wrote much other music, including chamber music, opera, piano works, concertos and symphonies, but these works often sound like Romantic ballets: sweeping melodies, clear rhythmic accompaniments, and melodramatic emotions. Tchaikovsky was quite successful as a ballet composer, because, like Mozart and Haydn before him, Tchaikovsky was intent on pleasing his listeners. His music features beautiful and lyrical melodies, clear (but long!) phrases, rich sonorities and colorful orchestration, and sweeping emotional buildup. Most ballet companies in the US today earn their yearly revenue every November and December by staging his ballet The Nutcracker (1892). His other ballets, including Swan Lake (1876) and Sleeping Beauty (1890) are staples of the classical ballet repertoire and a good introduction to the ideals of classical ballet dancing: graceful gestures (pointed toes, curved arms and fingers), feet turned out, bodies that seem to float or fly across the stage (dancing en pointe, leaps, lifts), light colors, romantic pairs of male and female dancers, celebration of dancers’ physiques (tight-fitting clothes, slender bodies, flexing muscles), and traditional depictions of beauty.

 

When ballets are staged, there are several people involved in the process:

  • Librettist – person who outlines the story or plot that the piece will convey
  • Choreographer — invents the plan of the dancers’ body motions (called choreography)
  • Composer — the person who writes the music
  • Set designer — designs the scenery, props, and sets that are the backdrop
  • Costumer — people who design and sew costumes
  • Conductor — person who leads the orchestra and coordinates musical decisions with the action on stage

As with other genres of theater, including plays and musicals, there are several backstage or offstage jobs required to present ballet: house managers, assistant directors, producers, impresarios (who find or provide funding), marketing, make-up artists, and understudies.

Into the 20th century

Just as with music, poetry, literature, and painting, ballet in the early 20th century explored marked departures from previous traditions and standards. Experimentation was a common feature across all these artistic disciplines — artists often thought of their role in society as being the ones to shock, titillate, or liberate their audiences from the mundane, the ordinary, or the tame — and this brings us to a ballet from 1913, The Rite of Spring.

This work depicts a pagan fertility ritual in an imaginary primitive society (the central young female character is a virgin who sacrifices herself by dancing herself to death) and was created by a powerhouse line-up of leading artists working in Paris:

  • Composer: Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) — His other ballets produced with this group of artists include The Firebird (1910), Petrushka (1911), and Pulcinella (1920), but he was a prolific composer who adopted many different styles across his long career.
  • Set designer: Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
  • Choreographer: Vaslav Nijinsky (1889-1950) — He also choreographed Claude Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun in 1912 and Maurice Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloe (1912).
  • Impresario of the ballet company, the Ballets Russes: Sergei Diaghilev — He is responsible for the existence of many seminal, influential musical works of the early 20th century, which he commissioned (i.e., paid the composers to write) for his ballet company from Claude Debussy, Manuel de Falla, Francis Poulenc, Sergei Prokofiev, Ottorino Respighi, Erik Satie, Richard Strauss, and Igor Stravinsky.

There are many things about the music and the dancing in this work that are “wrong” right from the outset: the eerie opening bassoon solo (that doesn’t sound like a bassoon at all), avoiding beautiful melodies, intense and aggressive rhythmic accents (e.g., around 3’00 in the first video), almost constant use of dissonant harmonies, dancers’ feet turned inwards, gruesome makeup, costumes that hid the dancers’ bodies, grotesque or contorted body positions, and the storyline is neither moralistic nor uplifting. The following video is a 1987 production by the Chicago-based company Joffrey Ballet that recreates the 1913 choreography and staging:

 

The premiere of this work was scandalous (May 29, 1913 in Paris) — audience members started to hiss and boo during the first notes, already displeased at the ugliness and un-balletic quality of the music, hecklers threw objects into the orchestra pit to disrupt the players, and a large fist-fight broke out between people who hated the ballet and those who appreciated it. Those who hated it felt their beloved balletic tradition was being mocked, parodied, and distorted; they found nothing in it to be beautiful, graceful, or harmonious. Those who loved it were drawn to its freshness, its newness, and its overt break with the stifling or hampering traditions of the past. In short, the work became a litmus test for where people fell on the spectrum between tradition and modernism.

matisse-1869-1954-la-danse-1909-10
Henri Matisse (1869-1954), La danse [The dance] (1909-10)
During the collaborative process, Stravinsky and Nijinsky both emphasized the necessity of novelty in their work. Stravinsky complained about audiences who wanted to hear music from him that sounded like his previously successful works, writing in a letter to a friend, “I cannot…compose what they want from me, which would be to repeat myself.” Nijinsky expressed similar concerns — and delight about the shock value of their work — in a letter to Stravinsky in January of 1913 after rehearsals for the premiere had begun:

Now I know what Le sacre du printemps [The Rite of Spring] will be when everything is as we both want it: new, beautiful, and utterly different — but for the ordinary viewer a jolting and emotional experience. (January 25, 1913)

Stravinsky, for his part, knew the immediate reaction to his work would not be favorable, saying that “we must wait a long time before the public grows accustomed to our language. Of the value of what we have already accomplished I am convinced, and this gives me the strength for further work.” Following the premiere, one music critic in attendance, Louis Laloy, similarly remarked that “The composer has written a score that we shall not be ready for until 1940.” The dancer Marie Rambert thought the work was “fifty years ahead of its time.”

Underlying the intentions of the creators of this work was also their perceived role in broader social history. Diaghilev and Stravinsky were both Russian, having moved west for more professional opportunities, but their progressive and un-traditional style of art was partly fueled by their participation in the contemporary political climate. In 1916, Diaghilev proclaimed in an interview with the New York Times that

We were all revolutionists…when we were fighting for the cause of Russian art, and…it was only by a small chance that I escaped becoming a revolutionist with other things than color or music.

In his 1989 book Rites of Spring, the historian Modris Eksteins argues that this ballet contains several themes that are sympathetic to or a product of empathy with a revolutionary political position:

The ballet contains and illustrates many of the essential features of the modern revolt: the overt hostility to inherited form; the fascination with primitivism and indeed with anything that contradicts the notion of civilization; the emphasis on vitalism as opposed to to rationalism; the perception of existence as continuous in flux and a series of relations, not as constants and absolutes; the psychological introspection accompanying the revolution against social convention (Eksteins, Rites of Spring, 52).

 

Final thoughts

Apart from the entertaining tale of its premiere (fist fights over ballet and classical music, really??!) and its relevant social context (participating in revolution and the clash of traditionalism and modernism), The Rite of Spring is also a remarkable work musically. Not only is it unlike any of his other works — never repeating himself — but it’s also unlike any other work by any other composer, in terms of the way the instruments are used, the use of rhythm and accent, and the structure (form) of the work.

Along with the music of Arnold Schoenberg and Claude Debussy, Stravinsky’s music forges another path for 20th century composers. College- and graduate-level music courses that focus on the music of this century typically begin with this triumvirate or Richard Wagner — there he is, again — and then jump to this trio. In many ways, Stravinsky’s work still feels ahead of its time; his style or techniques haven’t been absorbed into the kinds of musical situations where the average listener typically hears simplified versions of classical music (e.g., movie scores, pop or rock music, musicals, or advertising) in the way that other earlier composers or even Debussy have been. Even for classical music composers, Stravinsky’s music still seems fresh and cutting edge. Alex Ross, a prolific modern music critic (see also here), notes that “Even the youngest composers coming to the fore today listen to The Rite and think, ‘my God.’ It still sounds new to them.”

-Dr. J.

 

Some questions to get the conversation going:

  • What would happen if Stravinsky, Nijinsky, and Diaghilev continued to create ballet productions that sounded and looked just like those of Tchaikovsky?
  • What kinds of artistic production today could elicit reactions from audiences as strong as those that The Rite of Spring did?
  • What does it mean for an audience or the public to be “ready” for a piece of music or an artistic idea? Should artists only create works that the public is ready for, or is the artist’s role partly to push the public forward (or at least in a new direction)?

 

102 thoughts on “Ballet (Online Class Discussion #5)

  1. I feel like artist should make music that the public isnt ready for only because it will open up peoples eyes a lot more than something that already has their attention.

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    1. I agree I feel it would be kind of pointless to make music that the public will already know about, but do you think it should be like a sneak peek to parts of the music?

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    1. I find ballet to be really beautiful, how all the moments have to flow into the next one smoothly. Making sure your body is perfectly aligned and straight.

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      1. I find ballet to be very beautiful and a good thing for young kinds .i use to say as a child is born especially girl she must do ballet.just love seeing people especially kids do ballet they so cute.i am wondering if I would be able to do ballet at this age and be able to be flexible enough to go on the tip of my toes or heels.

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    2. I think ballet is a gorgeous form of art. It expresses the beauty of the human body in ways that are unthinkable. The movement, syncopation and flexibility of ballerinas is jaw-dropping.

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      1. I honestly feel like ballet is something that you learn cause not everybody is born with that talent. It definitely takes a lot of practice and I feel like it’s better if you start at a young age because you’re more flexible when you’re young.

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    3. Ballet can be vey relaxing and enjoyable. It portraits a certain style of elegance when observeing the dancers. When viewing ballet, one should take the time to observe and appreciate all to little movements and sound effects that bring the dancers and piece together.

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    4. That it takes alot of talent to be doing something like that. The hours that they would practice to make their dance perfect have to respect their craft.

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    5. To me ballet is something I could watch on a calm relaxing day, the way their body moves so gracefully impresses me

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    6. I personal love ballet. I believe that this type of dance is another way to express the individual creativity. I always wanted to study balled but unfortunately ballet was crazy expensive years ago.

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  2. When the audience is ready they are about to be wowed with the performance. I think artists are suppose to make music that is not ready because the point of releasing music is to shock the listeners with something they never heard. And try and push the listeners toaward what artist is saying in their music.

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    1. Ballet can be associated with many musics since in the present day there are many different form of ballet. Ballet change and adapt throughout history in a way to fit the change in music, Romantic Ballet is associated with Romanticism while Classical ballet are more traditional and elegance which are associated with Classical music. As music became more modern there are ballet that breaks from tradition and incorporate technique that adapt with modern music showing that ballet unlike other dance genre are flexible.

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  3. Why do ballet dancers put so much time into ballet when they feet are going to be destroyed later on? Why continue on if their career’s end so abruptly?

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    1. Good question I wonder the same like I it worth hurting my feet ? Isn’t my health suppose to be more important? Unless am on some sacrifice things cause that crazy

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      1. I will gave you an example, if you really like something even if it will be broke later in the future, but you cant extricate you like, will you still going to buy this thing?

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        1. I understand what your saying but something is different from your body parts.your body parts are yours something’s or things they can break and replace.but your foot won’t be able to go back to way it was if it is being hurt especially if hurt badly

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      2. I think ballet dancers go into that field already knowing their feet will get destroyed. However, they do it because it’s their passion and drive. If someone had a second thought on ballet because of how their feet will turn out, i think they wouldn’t choose that path.

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        1. I understand what your saying .but it will also be worst feeling when they hurt they self enough got bruise feet etc and that might prevent them from doing ballet again they are going to still live being miserable because they can no longer do what they loved doing

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    2. My Mom was a dancer, she actually attended the purchase conservatory of dance. She became a dancer simply because of how passionate she was about it. She started young at like 4 years old. She went on a few world tours that allowed her to experience so much more than just the dances she was performing. The career can be very rewarding outside of the studio & off of the stage. Her feet aren’t completely destroyed, she actually teaches dance at a local studio nowadays. She finds it incredibly rewarding to pass on those skills to kids who are just a passionate as she was.

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    3. Maybe they have a passion for ballet, some people have passions for sword eating and they still do it for fun, so maybe the person is really into dancing ballet lol

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    4. I think when you have a passion for something you sometimes rather deal with the enjoyment for the moment and then suffer at the end.

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    5. Love for the art. The adrenaline rush you get with every performance. To go through with something like this you have to have passion and be dedicated.

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  4. we should produce more artistic like The Rite of Spring 。I think we should do some of the more creative works will let the audience appreciate, combined with some modern music and classical music, combined with some new elements. I feel that this innovation will have more attractive.

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    1. No ballet and modern dance are two different things, although i do believe that the modern dance that we have today must be derived from ballet dance. I remember taking a dance class, and they were teaching some techniques that ballet dancers use. Ballet dancers also move with grace to actually move with that much grace and hopping and swirling takes a lot of skill i believe, modern dance does it as well, but it also depends what kind of dance and music we are talking about.

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  5. If they continue to pursue ballet production that sounded and and look like Tchaikovsky then there won’t be any innovation in their composition due to following a “classical style” of ballet that had been premiering for many years. The ballet of Tchaikovsky which features intense emotional stories and elegance that many are used to seeing since it’s what consider traditional ballet. Stravinsky “Rite of Spring” is an attempt to break that tradition by introducing something new and refreshing in ballet but the audience reaction shows that what they view as a proper ballet is the traditional and classical ballet first introduced by Tchaikovsky. This shows that it’s wrong to continue create ballet that are traditional since without any innovation or new ideas all of the ballet will continue to be the same as before and nothing will be refreshing or new.

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  6. What influence do you think ballet have on other dance genre? How do you think contemporary music was able to change the way classical ballet works?

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  7. I think incremental changes, or changes in one or two aspects of a piece, are easier for audiences to accept. If everything changes radically at once, this has some attention-getting shock value, but makes the piece more difficult to understand initially and more likely to be disliked. “New” can be “better” or involve “intriguing combinations” rather than “shock,” and still be innovative. In my opinion, people like to see or hear at least some of their expectations fulfilled, so they can identify with an artist’s attempt at communication.

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  8. I believe that the meaning behind an audience or the public being “ready” for a piece of music or an artistic idea is to figure out if the society or public will be welcoming or opposed to being introduced to something new. I think this would all depend on the type of society,community or era you live in. Is it a diverse society or one where change isn’t so welcoming? Just like in the ballet from 1913, “The Rite of Spring” the people’s ist impression of this was anger and thought that their idea is ballet was being ridicule.

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    1. you’re right. But also i think its based on how that individual sees art/performing art. Although you are amongst the diverse group, you can have the same effect as the audience as “The rite of Spring”.

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  9. After viewing the ballet from 1913, “The Rite of Spring” I thought that it was appalling and didn’t like the idea of viewing ballet like this. I think if I was apart of the audience then, I would also throw things into the stage and then walk out rather than sit there and destroy my liking and impression of ballet. To me, ballet should be calming, relaxing and enjoyable to look at and to experience. What woud you do if you went to a ballet show and ended up experiencing a horror show ?

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  10. If Stravinsky, Nijinsky and Diaghilev continued to create ballet productions that were similar of Tchaikovsky, the people would probably get bored and not be as interested as they would be, but since they were thinking outside of the box, its a fresh new musical art that no one really though about, the public would be twice as interested then if it was similar. Maybe if they kept following Tchaikovsky’s ballet productions they wouldn’t be as important as they were mentioned in this article because they would just be looked as admirers of Tchaikovsky work instead of people who were looking to have a different perspective of themselves.

    What kinds of artistic production today could elicit reactions from audiences as strong as those that The Rite of Spring did?
    Well honestly the artistic production today that could elicit reactions maybe would be a modernized theatrical setting, like instead of the same drama that they have, people could make a musical production for teens today and try to create a sense of identification with the teen today.

    When the artist says that the audience or the public is ready for a piece of music means that maybe the public couldn’t find a connection for the piece of music but now they do have a connection based on a historical event. Now the public can connect to the type of music that artist just wrote. I think the artist can also push the public forward as same as making music the public is ready for. You can’t always please everyone so might as well make a piece that you think is great and beautiful, and there will be certain people that would like it and certain people that you can move with your artistic piece.

    What I liked about this article was the ballet shoe, I heard that ballet shoes have a block of wood inside to help the dancer balance their foot on the stage. How many years do ballet dancers need for experience to dance at a professional level?

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  11. If Stravinsky and company hadn’t tried to go against the grain and create something original, ballet, and probably art in general, would have stayed stagnant. Kendrick Lamar’s 2015 album “To Pimp a Butterfly” elicited a similar reaction from the public as rite of spring did. I don’t think people were having brawls over it but many hip hop fans were turned off by Kendrick’s musical evolution. His previous album was very accessible and featured very modern electronic production so the switch to live, progressive jazz instrumentation was too much for people. Like with Stravinsky’s work, people weren’t ready for it. However, it doesn’t matter if the common listener isn’t pleased with a difficult listen, art must progress even if it has to leave some people behind.

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    1. I agree that art must progress through time even though some individuals may be ready for this or not. Sometimes people may never know if they like or don’t like something unless they give it a try.

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      1. that is ture where you say, sometimes there are some people ready for it and some dnt. so just give it a try to see what the outcome will be so they will know what to improve with to make it better next time.

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  12. If a piece of art is groundbreaking there is no way for the general public to be ‘ready’ for it. This is because the whole point of groundbreaking art is that no one has ever seen anything like it. This does not mean that art always has to be groundbreaking. For example I much prefer Native American masks to Jackson Pollack, but a Pollack painting is much more groundbreaking than a modern artisan recreating ancient masks.

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    1. i think art is given to us so we can get creative and take an adventure in your mind and be creative. if it wasn’t for art, people’s lives would be dull and plain.

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    2. for me i think art is something that you create or a plan that you draw out to give you an idea of what you are going to do and expected.

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  13. The two ballet performances were total opposites from each other. One was the ballet we all think of and the other one, I didn’t even expect watching. I can see why people would hiss and boo at this performance because in their minds, it’s not ballet. However, when you watch closely, the dancers are all wearing bsllet shoes and does moves that ballet dancers do. I feel that if Stravinsky, Nijinsky, and Diaghilev all did productions like Tchaikovsky, they wouldn’t have earned their fame. Even though a lot of audiences booed and hissed, I feel like it’s their style in ballet. Just because it’s a different type of ballet doesn’t mean it’s not ballet. We just haven’t explored deeply into the ballet world.

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    1. I agree, the first ballet seemed more traditional to me and the other one seemed more modern. The modern ballet was preformed in the 80’s where people were usually more free thinking,, and the other ballet was originally preformed in the 40’s where there wasn’t much “out of the box” thinking. When I was little my grandparents took me to see the sleeping beauty ballet. I thought it was boring and the music put me to sleep.

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  14. How about in pop culture? people probably never had an idea about rapping before but now the society we live in, rapping is just a thing. If it was never introduced to us, we probably would have thought it was weird for someone to just say the lyrics and not sing it. I think there are people who rap over violins today( which i think is pretty weird.). What about you guys? do you guys think rapping over violins or other instruments are weird? like “The rite of Spring”?

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  15. I think for the audience and the public to be “ready’ for a piece of music is to understand the work and the reason behind why they created the song. Also I believe it’s the artist’s role to push the public forward because if they always created the same piece of music we wouldn’t be able to learn and explore different styles of music to see what we really enjoy.

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  16. i believe to be ready for a piece of music or an artistic idea, one must know the meaning and concept behind to why it was created. In addition, it also means that you are ready to accept the idea that is being presented to you. The artist should push the audience forward to a new direction because the new piece of music may provoke a different reaction and emotions to the listeners than they did with the old music.

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    1. i agree with your thought here. if the audience is not willing to be understand the circumstanced behind a pieces creation, i don’t think they will truly be ready to experience it.

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  17. From what I’ve observed, it looks like it must take some serious muscle to be able to have the support to stand and balance on just your toes. It also looks pretty painful and uncomfortable. That to me looks like one of the hardest things to do

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    1. I think that the “ballet style” is still growing today but audiences as favored as it was in the early 17th century. Today, not that many people would enjoy seeing ballet productions over like broadway productions like “Stomp” or “Rent” because these shows value what the audience wants. Now people want shows that are going to be relatable and something they could understand, classical production such as ballet productions can really audience most modern day satisfy.

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  18. The public being “ready” for an artistic idea means that they can be open minded enough to accept the story of the whole meaning of the song and to be able to appreciate it. Everybody should be ready to listen to new songs rather than keep listening to old songs because trying new things will open your eyes to a more vibrant world. Being ready for a new song is like being ready to accept a new change being brought to your life.

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    1. Do you think being open minded helps the art grow or can it hinder it by straying to far from the original concept?

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  19. What does it mean for an audience or the public to be “ready” for a piece of music or an artistic idea?
    Should artists only create works that the public is ready for, or is the artist’s role partly to push the public forward (or at least in a new direction)?

    I believe artists use their music to convey their ideas or thoughts on a topic, maybe he/she sees or notice something that may ruin their public image. Therefore they delay the time period hopefully that someday society will see things from their point of view. Artists should keep the aspects of being mysterious towards the society, don’t promote every move or board cast everything. I believe artists should reveal a little bit of everything cornering work, certain ideas or messages individuals may get up set with. However individuals may view that idea or message different base on age or time.

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  20. I’ve noticed that the music that accompanies ballet dancing is almost always very peaceful, just like in the video. Not sure if the music varies in other ballet dances though.

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  21. If Stravinsky, Nijinsky and Diaghilev continued to create ballet productions like Tchaikovsky then each of the artists differentiate really have any originality. In the past, all the composers followed the idea a composer before them did but they would tried to add something that would differentiate it from their previous composer. Even though the audience may not like it, the composers create music that would be memorable not really like-able. If an like-able likes it then they like it if they don’t then they don’t. But composers jobs aren’t to create a piece that an audience would enjoy, but to create a piece that would set them different from every other composer.

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  22. Should a composer take into consideration the audience’s opinions on one piece and use their opinions to create their other pieces? Would it make them better composers?

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    1. The point of ballet varies from it being a source of entertainment, to a political statement every ballet can mean different things. Similar to opera ballet has story behind it and with all the elements of ballet combined( dancers,music, storyline) can be a very effective way to express oneself.

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    2. I personal think that the main point of ballet is to show the qualities and abilities that every human being has.!!

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  23. This sheds some light on ballet. However, even though it’s impressive I just don’t like it. I don’t really get the appeal.

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    1. I don’t think there was a need to practice before a show, they seem to have good discipline as artist so there would be no need to go over anything just warm up.

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  24. If Stravinsky continue the tradition role that Tchaikovsky created with ballet. He never give different people something to like and talk about people that don’t like the normal form of ballet may appreciate Stravinsky form of style.

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  25. Why would you do ballet if it hurts your health? Even if you do love it. Putting that much pressure the tip of your feet can really do damage to you and hurt in the long run. Don’t you think this is something to worry about?

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  26. I found the blog to be very interesting. The most interesting thing I found was the amount of pressure and damage that can be done to beallerinas feet. I love the illusion it creates when ballerinas dance. The image of them floating across the stage is satisfying to watch.

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    1. I agree, I had never thought about the damage done to the ballerina as she dances. It make you think of the sheer amount of practice and effort the dancers put into their craft to be able to perform their dances en pointe, much less make it look as effortless as they do. The ballerinas look weightless as they move across the stage, and this is also a testament to their skill and desire to perform their dances to the best of their ability. It is truly something to be admired, as they must put themselves through a lot of pain and effort to get to such a level, and thinking about this while watching the performance helps me appreciate it even more. I know that I, personally, would not have the patience or determination to attempt this level of ability.

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    1. I don’t have an exact answer to this question. But for me in my dance classes. We started around the time school starts ( September) and we didn’t perform until about July. And some of us were still not “perfected” .. so I’m sure it takes a lot of dedication. Not to mention rehearsals were only on Saturdays for months until we go closer to the actual recital.

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  27. I enjoyed reading about this because I used to do ballet and everything seems to come all together after reading this. I think out of all roles for the process of staged ballet librettist and choreography are the most important when it comes to the performance. I also think that they are the most creative and make the performance what it is throughout the dancers. Being ready for a piece of music or an artists idea should mean ready to hear whatever it is they play and regardless of whether it’s of your liking or not … try to find the best out of it. Artist should never only create what their audience is expecting of them. Artist should always push for more in a different direction for the public. If an artist doesn’t push for different directions music probably wouldn’t be as creative as it can be. It would just be the same and boring.

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    1. I don’t have an exact answer to this question. But for me in my dance classes. We started around the time school starts ( September) and we didn’t perform until about July. And some of us were still not “perfected” .. so I’m sure it takes a lot of dedication. Not to mention rehearsals were only on Saturdays for months until we go closer to the actual recital.

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    1. For some it’s the fame and glory others it’s the money and still for others it’s tradition and a sense of statesmanship that urges them on.

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  28. i was never a huge fan of ballet. The idea that all little girls want to wear tutus and learn how to stand on “Pointe” is not something i agree with. It wasn’t until i was a bit younger and saw a Prince performance on television where he had this dancer performing with him. That dancer was introduced to the world that night and her name is Misty Copeland. i have since been following her and admiring the skill and incredible discipline required to become a ballerina. The strength required both physically and mentally is something we all could learn from. I hope to one day be able to see The American Ballet’s production of Tchaikovsky’s ‘The Nutcracker’.

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  29. Is ballet an art form so worthy of encouragement and reverence if the techniques requires (ex. standing en pointe) are dangerous to the dancers? If their careers wind up being so short, is the art form so impactful that it is worth putting the dancers through the pain of the performance?

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  30. In my mind, if Stravinsky. Nijinsky and Diaghilev continued to create ballets in the exact style of Tchaikovsky, then there would be no musical innovation. If they continued to create performances with the same style, sound and movements, then at a point, they could no longer be considered “creative”; rather, they would just be going through the motions of what is expected from a classical ballet. If there were no variations in the ways that the ballets were written and performed, then ballets by different composers would appear very similar to each other. By innovating and experimenting with the pre-set formula, they are able to create something new and interesting, despite the critical reception in some cases. Some listeners are set in their ways and only wish to see performances which stick to the same standards which they are accustomed to. In this case, they are not “ready” for a new piece of music. This can lead to disagreements over whether innovation and changes are a necessity or not. However, artists should continue to innovate and create new ideas in their works, for while some listeners may not be “ready” for an artistic change, there are many others that are open to a push forward with new artistic ideas. While some may not be ready for a push forward and for new ideas to be introduced, it is important that artists continue to create and try new ideas to influence and inspire the artistic minds after them.

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    1. Ballet is a beautiful form of expression. Because many are passionate for this art form I believe that ballet is worth the the physical pain for the artists that pursues it. That being said, I am not a dancer by any means so this I do not know for sure. However, I am friends with many dancers and to some, the form of physical discipline is something that they enjoy. I belive it should the dancers should be given a choice whether or not they would like to learn point.

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  31. How does the shift from the traditional way to the “modern” way speak to how art can never stay stagnant? Do you think that this sort of progression takes a way traditional aspects or simply adds on to them?

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  32. I am not sure if an audience can ever truly be “ready” for whatever it is the artists express or create. That being said I think that some audiences are more open minded to new forms expression than others. Some audience members thrive off of experimentation and others are reluctant to let themselves enjoy it because tradition is something they value. It basically comes down to the question of experimentalism or tradition. In my personal opinion experimentation is needed for any sort of progression in an art. If we stuck traditional ways, art wouldn’t be relevant; and isn’t that the beauty? Art is always relevant. So when it comes to saying if an audience is ready for something new, it is impossible to tell. However, as an audience it is important to keep an open mind to experimentation even if it is uncomfortable and seemingly strange.

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  33. I personally believe that all art forms can be influenced by anything its all up to the artist interpretation of experiences. So if they keep ballet classical like Tchaikovsky then there won’t be anything difference in their compositions. Although, the reason why people would rather keep the traditional classical ballet is because ballet has been around for so long and its intertwined into their culture. Tchaikovsky compositions has emotional stories and beauty that everyone is used to seeing since it’s traditional ballet. “Rite of Spring” is an attempt to break that tradition by adding something new and contrary in ballet. However, the audience weren’t very accepting of this new idea and preferred the old traditional style unfortunately for Stravinsky.This can be compared to classical music in America, we still follow rules from Bach’s time and we are not really open to any changes. Honestly, artist have the power to create anything they want but what they create is usually inspired by where they come from, any hardships in life, or even just their culture.

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  34. While reading this blog, my only question is what enjoyment did the dancers get? All they seem to do is dance with the same style doesn’t it get boring?

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  35. I feel that artists should produce their art regaurdless of what their public might think as recreating art that they are not comfortable with making prohibits a lot of their creativity. The audience should be ready for anything when they step into the theater and should keep an open mind when approaching this art as it seems that ballet requires an open mind to fully comprehend. The audience also should not start fights and try to prevent other patrons from enjoying a type of art they do not like as it is a form of censorship that only rides on a personal opinion. Recreating music and not trying to innovate not only prevents the art from moving forward but also causes the art to become repetitive as the same themes, music, and costume set ups eventually become stale and require some innovation to revitalize the art.

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  36. i am not a fan of ballet, but reading to this blog post makes me learn and get to know alot of idea what a ballet is and how it is play. And as for me i think all artist are doing art before they drop a new song because they have to ensure its something good before they send it out to the world and they dnt want to send a message to the world that is not good and then they will not be rated because of the kind of song they had sing.

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  37. I believe it is the artists role to push the audience forward and introduce them to their own expression of a style. That being said, most people don’t like change and are comfortable with what they’re used you, rejecting anything that is not “classical.” New artists in particular are judged more harshly when introducing new style since they are believed to have no experience in the matter. A well known artists is more likely to bring new stuff to a genre and be accepted.

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    1. Ballet can be expensive over time, it adds up. Its not something that you become perfect in, in a few months but maybe in years. Also it take a tremendous amount of practice ( hours of practice) and hard work weekly. When my daughter was younger she was enrolled in ballet but became overwhelming or her and took away from other activities. Its alot if hard work and requires alot of dedication.

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