Posted by Rebecca King on 09.19.2012
Last night, the popular Fox TV show, So You Think You Can Dance, made history by selecting not one, but two ballet dancers as the winners of Season 9. This of course is exciting news, but I think it has a deeper message. Is it possible that maybe, just maybe, America is starting to appreciate ballet?
It all started a couple of years ago with the blockbuster film “Black Swan,” that portrayed a warped picture of the ballet world. Now when the subject of ballet comes up in social conversation, many people will say, “Oh you are a ballet dancer? Like Black Swan?” Well no not really. But I suppose we should be glad that the movie gave people like this the exposure and understanding of at least one classical ballet, Swan Lake. Fast forward a year or so and television has jumped on the band wagon, with the likes of Dance Moms, Breaking Pointe, and Bunheads. Everywhere you turned, ballet seemed to be trying to push it’s way into the minds of average Americans.
We have had extensive conversations here on TENDUS about what all this exposure means for the ballet world. Amazingly, many of us don’t see eye-to-eye on the issue. But is it possible that last night presented us with an answer? After the judges combed through thousands of entries, it came as no surprise to me that three ballet dancers were chosen to be in the Top 20: they were simply the best and most well rounded. These judges do have “experience” in dance and like to say they have a “trained eye.” Qualified or not, at least they have been to a live dance performance before. We can’t say the same for the rest of America. Yet, they still chose two ballet dancers as “America’s Favorite Dancers.” Could it possibly be that they are appreciating the art form?
Check out this video from last week, when Eliana and Chehon performed the “Nutcracker Pas de Deux.” You will see the audience cheering and clapping for classical ballet! You can tell that the general public does not yet know that nude colored pointe shoes don’t work with pink tights, but hey, baby steps!
So what do you think? Is America learning to appreciate our art form, or is it just a coincidence? Sound off below!