What a shame!
At a conference on The Dance of Life this year at the Harvard School of Public Health, dance designer Julie Delacourt and Harvard psychology professor and Harvard School of Public Health associate professor of English, Christopher Chabrol, described a study conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles.
The study sought to explain why ballet is not as popular as gymnastics despite its similarities: it is not because of an individual’s gender or ethnicity, but because the dancers in this dance have “higher levels of mental concentration and attentional control,” explains Chabrol. He and Delacourt also identified more than 60 different behavioral reasons why a woman might perform ballet in her own right, even if she’s not a woman, and found out that ballet “may not be a gender-based art,” he added.
The researchers have concluded, in their statement, that, “we may not be seeing the whole picture.”
“It is the most complex ballet that I know of,” said Harvard psychology professor and associate professor of English, Chris Chabrol of a ballet performance. “You really have to listen to her movements, to pay attention, to pay attention to her expression, because you don’t really grasp it until you’re really feeling it.”
In the interview, Chabrol gave a demonstration—one that, even though he was not in the audience, he thought was very impressive. He moved three dancers around the audience and then, in a single movement, moved his hands through the air three times: one from left to right, one from left to right, then one from up and down, to the front. I took notes—and was surprised to realize how many things he did differently on his own to show that this can all be done by a single person.
Another reason ballet may be considered a woman’s art may be because dancers have better control of their breathing, Delacourt said. As a rule, men are much more prone to choking or collapsing during an activity like dance.
“In ballet, the men are really taking the lead as far as controlling the body, the breath, the rhythm, being aware of emotions,” she said.
There can even be physical differences with males and females, said Chabrol: one might think the difference is more in the way the muscles in the thighs work to keep the feet from getting caught on the floor. But, he said, the female body is better able to control these “little mechanical
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