And does choreographed dance provide dancers with the skills to be ‘in charge?’ The answers are yes and no.
What are the primary objectives of Ballet?
Ballet is most definitely a social dance. Ballet and its followers provide participants with a range of opportunities to connect socially. To this end, choreographed dance has evolved greatly over history. In the early years of the 1900’s dancers were usually trained in traditional dancing forms that consisted of the three-quarters leg movement, as well as a number of variations of the ‘ballet-gouge’. Dance with a purpose is paramount to an audience seeking fun and entertainment. A simple change of venue from an opera to a play can immediately change the audience’s reaction. A simple move in ‘Ballet Gouge’ can change a spectator’s attitude significantly. As such Ballet’s purpose in society is simple – to entertain.
At an individual level, this purpose is expressed through the dancer’s choice of dress, mannerisms, and body language and through the ‘ballet-gouge’ – that is, dances with an added element of spectacle, a more ‘professional’ style, that incorporates social elements beyond the three-quarters leg movement. These elements are of great value and are therefore a natural fit for many audiences. The performance by a ‘dancer’ of a dance performed by a group provides the audience with a social environment in which to be in control and a platform for social exchange (a social dance). These elements must be presented with care and attention in order to enhance the social environment created by the dancer’s personal performance.
Is dance a social dance? And does choreographed dance provide dancers with the skills to be ‘in charge?’
The first issue is whether Ballet is a social dance or not. It is often assumed that Ballet is a social dance because the role of the dancers is so central in the repertoire. But it is not clear whether or not this was the purpose of the development of the arts, as has been argued above. It is important to recognise this when we examine Ballet today. Despite some attempts by scholars, in general, to suggest that the dance itself can be seen as a social dance, dance has been viewed as a purely personal activity for the last millennium. In most social dances this focus is clearly on the performance of the dance itself rather than on the social context of the action.
Furthermore in recent years the debate over social identity has become very important in the history of
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