This is a question we should all ask ourselves if we are dancers, choreographers, teachers, studio owners and/or company directors. I recently saw an article by one of Vero Classical Ballet’s competitors. In the article this teacher said that he focused on speed. While, as a teacher, I would like to build my student’s ability to do petit allegro steps at a quick tempo, I am aware that this is likely not what will give the audience the most pleasure. They will be more impressed with the beauty, grace and presence of the dancer. The audience will likely be more impressed with big jumps than small ones. So why the emphasis on speed? Could it be the Balanchine influence? Quite possibly, since one of the hallmark traits of Balanchine choreography is speed and attack. But, Balanchine was a genius and he had millionaires supporting him. With that kind of money backing him he could have just as easily convinced audiences that they wanted to see very, very slow dancing!!! Audiences are followers, not leaders, as audience members. Still, audiences have preferences and “Russian Ballet“ on an advertisement would be almost sure to attract a larger audience than “Balanchine”. Nothing against Balanchine, he was a genius and his work is brilliant. So, why is “Russian Ballet” (Balanchine was half Russian by the way) a big draw. The Russians are known for their beautiful dancing, passion, artistry, virtuosity and big jumps. Ballet fans crave the performances that they create and perform.
To anyone involved in performing ballet I challenge you. Set up a poll at your next performance and find out what the audience really wants to see!! Here is a poll suggestion:
Why do you come to see Ballet? Place a number – 1 thru 10 – next the entries below with 1 being the highest preference and 10 being the least.
- Pretty Feet
- Pretty Legs
- Beautiful Arm Movements
- Big Jumps
- Small Jumps
Try this simple poll and see what people think. Let me know your results:-)