50th Anniversary of the Australian Ballet

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This weekend the Australian Ballet held it’s 50th Anniversary Gala at the Arts Center in Melbourne, with companies from all over the world coming and delighting me with their dance. Me and all the peasants in the room…

The evening started with a bit of classical ballet by the Australian Ballet, then continued with a marvelous modern piece on the songs of Elvis done by Elisa Badenes and Daniel Camargo from the Stuttgard ballet – it was funny and very well done. Then! Then came the Chinese (Zhu Yan and Sun Ruichen from the National Ballet of China) whose technique was truly incredible.

 

There were also representatives from the Tokyo Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and the American Ballet, everything ending with a lovely performance from the Australian Ballet (one of the male leads… I want to marry him).

The audience seemed to be mostly quite old (40/50+) which I found to be quite sad – not because I don’t appreciate people that go to ballet no matter the age, but because there seems to be quite an obvious lack of interest among the younger generation here for going to the ballet. And I do not understand why – it’s such a great experience. Sure, if you go in my hometown where the ballerinas almost stumble during performance, it might not be so interesting. But the Australian Ballet has a great troupe, and it is such a shame that people dont just go. Go to ballet people, GO!

Something that pisses me even more is people that do not understand the culture of ballet: meaning when they start clapping in the middle of the dance because one of the dancers did something supposedly impressive. This is not a circus act, dear public (for someone that has gone to Circus du Soleil and practices acrobatics, I’m allowed to comment). At one point people started clapping every 10 seconds.

 

Now why is that wrong? Arent people just enjoying themselves? They should enjoy themselves in quite. There are specific moments in ballet and concerts as well when you are allowed to clap if you liked. The reason for such prescriptivism is that it otherwise interferes with the show. It also does not permit members of the public to immerse themselves in the world of the ballet/concert. If I constantly keep hearing claps and people shouting…

Also, I find it wrong to clap for “impressive feats”. The reason for this is that ballet is much more than just impressive feats. It’s that as well, but much more. Technique might not seem as impressive, but it can be so beautiful. Did anyone clap when the Chinese ballerina did that wonderful dance, technically perfect? No. When did they clap? When the Americans kept doing jumps and pirouettes. In a horrible world, this might encourage ballet companies to look for impressive dancing rather than telling nice stories and having great technique.

 

That’s about it.

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