Dance Day 6 : What has changed in ballet?

Since a lot of people seem to search for information about what’s changed in ballet, I decided to do a better post about it than I did here. Please keep in mind that I’m not a professional dancer nor an expert. It’s but humble me, okay? Okay.

What’s changed? Well, the most important thing I guess, is the technique. Dancers have seriously improved their technique. For example, 32 fouettés are sort of obligatory in Swan Lake now, while some dancers (Maya Plisteskaya) used to do piqués as well. Ballet has, just like any other artform, imposed greater requirements. Lots of people on YouTube claim it’s a pity all dancers have become robots instead of charismatic actors. Watching dancers from let’s say 1940 you can indeed tell their technique would no longer suffice today. Are they really better actors? Are they really more charicmatic?
Who are we to judge that? I mean, stage presence was probably more important than it is now. Our view on ballet has changed – we want to see the 32 fouettés – so we expect a good technique. But nowadays, there are still dancers who are good at acting as well. Marianela Nunez as Odile is what I consider to be a good example of that. Not all dancers are good actors, agreed, but remember as well that there used to be lots of dancers, and not all of them were recorded. These days it’s easy to record a performance, you throw it on the Internet and everyone deems. But that didn’t use to be the case. Maybe only the best dancers were recorded. If you’d only record the best dancers of these years, you’d get a totally different view of the ways ballet has changed…

But yes, technique has become the most important aspect of ballet today I believe. Those who do not meet the physical requirements will not get a job. Stage presence will not get you there. But it’s definitely a pro if you’ve got it. I believe so at least. All of us deem these days. YouTube is full of people who claim to have the right to judhe and the knowlegde to do so. Ballet is no longer for an elite, it’s become something everyone can watch. But it’s not really a part of our culture anymore I think. At least here, in Belgium, people rarely go to the ballet. Especially now with all the crisis stuff, this cultural associations if I may say so, have a lot to suffer. Maybe wev’e changed ourselves, maybe we care less about this now. Has ballet become old-fashioned, Perhaps a bit. The stories are old, the music is very different from today’s music, etc. For me that’s charming, I like that a lot. But once, this was contemporary, and that’s no longer how it is. Okay, there’s this ‘neo-classical’ stuff as well, but I’m talking about Swan Lake, La Bayadere and other diamonds of ballet. Perhaps this world has become too different from our current world to really appeal to all people.

Still, there’s a lot going on in this world, it’s definitely not dead. It has changed, but change is normal and so is criticism. Have I answered your question?

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Marianela Nunez as Odile in Swan Lake