Posted by Rebecca King on 04.15.2011
As I was reading Suzanne Farrell’s book, “Holding On to The Air”, an interesting passage caught my attention. Ms. Farrell talks about the publicity that a new Balanchine ballet would generate. She says that Balanchine did not like to give the press backstage information, as he believed that it ruined the magic of the stage; the details of the dancer’s lives should not be laid out for the public to see. He wanted the audience to see the dancers as elusive people they could only know through dance.
Publicity and press has changed a great deal since Balanchine’s time. Now we have the internet, social media, and blogs where we can discuss ballet and dance like never before. This allows us to pull back the curtain and reveal the details of company life to our audience. The press come to rehearsals and film video for the 10 o’clock news, backstage footage is posted on youtube, and dancers tweet and blog about their art form. These days, if an audience member wanted to know something about our work or our lives, all they have to do is ask.
Through these news venues, are we ruining the performance experience for audience members, or are we heightening it? By knowing what goes on behind the scenes, are we giving the public more to appreciate or just showing them that dancers are real people too? Should ballet dancers be seen as elusive people that seem untouchable to our audience?
What do you think?