Re: ballet in cyberspace

Dawn Stoppiello (
Tue, 20 May 1997 11:16:12 +0100

I am feeling so behind on the topics of late, so I will just jump in here:

>I feel modern is way ahead of the game on going forward. Modern dancers
>inherently explore.

I think ballet choreograhers are also "exploring" it's just that in order
to remain in the catagory called "ballet" they are confined (or have chosen
to confine themselves) to a certain set of codified steps and transitions
which then make all dances in the catagory called "ballet" look very
similar. In this same vein, the themes that are explored in this catogory
also feel restricted. I'm not sure what that means but it seems to me that
modern choreographers do not feel restrained in the topics they choose to
make dances about. I have always struggled with catagorizing my dances. For
me "modern" dance happened in the first chunk of the century then we added
a catagory called post-modern dance. Each of those titles evokes a certain
kind of dance image for me that is not what I think my dances look like. is hard to be original when you are always having to define
yourself in relationship to someone else or a predefined style.

>Most artistic directors I talk to think ballet is going through
>a transitory period and will eventually merge with modern in some form
>to go forward. (forward in this sense choreographically)

I think if ballet choreographers would allow themselves to just do whatever
steps feel right and stop worrying about whether they fit into the catagory
called "ballet" (which is already happening) then they could move forward.
Point shoes = ballet and flexed feet = modern??? I don't think so anymore.
Maybe if they take it too far out they are afraid they will loose some of
their audience? This is an interesting topic, I'd like to hear more.

>As to why I think modern is more hip than ballet in computers it is for
>that reason, that ballet dancers and professors of ballet that I know do
>not know how to access the internet, don't use, communicate on it and
>reluctantly regard it as useful.

The myth/truth(?) has always been that many/some ballet dancers are
somewhat stunted in thier emotional/mental/life skills growth because at
such a young age they have to totally commit to the ballet training and
that this kind of dedication shuts them out from other "non-ballet"
learning. Maybe some of these teachers who have lived their entire lives
on/back stage at Lincoln Center are simply affraid to learn something new
at a later stage in their lives. Sometimes it is easier to write something
off as useless instead of making an effort to learn about it and then
decide if you think it is useless.

My final comment today is to say that not everyone has to embrace
computers. My dad doesn't have a TV and he is really just fine without it.

Hope to hear more from you Cynthia. Thanks for listening.

Dawn Stoppiello / Artistic Co-director / Troika Ranch /
416 W. 23rd Street #3D New York, NY 10011 / 212.691.9547