Category Archives: Ballet

Contemporary Ballet: Exchanges, Connections and Directions May 20-21, 2016

Call for Papers Contemporary Ballet: Exchanges, Connections and Directions

May 20-21, 2016

An SDHS Special Topics Conference at the Center for Ballet and the Arts,

New York University, and the Department of Dance, Barnard College, Columbia University

Contemporary ballet is undoubtedly a recognizable genre for most dancers. It is identifiable and it appears to be flourishing. But, what is contemporary ballet? Does it need classification and definition so that we can historicize this moment in dance?

The 2015 issue of Conversations across the Field of Dance Studies: Network of Pointes began to articulate some of the features of the genre. This conference will further the discussions emergent from the publication and broaden the scope with new voices. NYU’s Center for Ballet and the Arts and the Department of Dance, Barnard College, Columbia University will serve as the locations for this special topics conference. As it stands to initiate conversations about ballet that develop from the theme of exchanges, connections and directions, the conference offers an opportunity for those interested in contemporary ballet to meet in one of the presumed cultural capitals of ballet: New York City. We seek to bring together scholars, dancers, historians, critics, choreographers and teachers. The conference aims to address the following questions:

• What is contemporary ballet?

How do contemporary ballet bodies differ and are they redefining the genre?

What makes a ballet or company ‘contemporary’?

Is it a deviation at the level of style, form, or composition?

• How is contemporary ballet interpreted internationally?

Which choreographers/companies are working in this genre today?

• Is contemporary ballet a hybrid form?

In what ways might discussion be framed that does not reify unproductive categorizations, but helps explain the transitions being shaped?

• How are new ballet histories addressing contemporary ballet and its choreographers and practitioners?

• Has the role of women as ballet choreographers changed when it comes to contemporary ballet?

How are women (as choreographers) inserting themselves into a historically patriarchal medium of ballet choreography?

Has the vehicle of contemporary ballet done something to instigate or reimagine their role as ballet choreographer?

• “Diversity” is often used to explain the look of contemporary companies…is this at the level of body image/physicality, race, ethnicity, quality of movement?

Does contemporary ballet seek to move ballet beyond its Western European hierarchical organization or does it simply re-present in different ways?

• How do choreographers/artists/pedagogues speak about their practices and the current state of ballet?

How do the connections between various balletic styles and schools impact the notion of “contemporary ballet”?

Is there variation when it comes to training, if so, at what stage?

• How does the contemporary designation shift the discourse in terms of practice, performance, and historicizing?

• How are women’s bodies represented in contemporary ballet? Are women’s bodies represented in ways significantly different from men?

• How do contemporary ballet choreographers approach issues of emotion and/or music?

• How might new histories of ballet be written?

What are the challenges that surround re-naming in the genre of ballet and how do artists and audiences respond when such changes occur?

Please send your proposal of no more than 200 words, accompanied by a biography of no more than 100 words, to the program committee chairs at by January 18, 2016 stating any technical requirements.

For more information, please access or follow on Twitter @ballet2016 Program Committee Chairs: Jill Nunes Jensen, Ph.D., Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles) and Kathrina Farrugia-Kriel, Ph.D., Faculty of Education Royal Academy of Dance (London) Local Arrangements Chair: Ariel Osterweis, Ph.D., Skidmore College

Dance for Parkinson’s Evidence of Impact – Moving Forward, 27 Oct

On Tuesday 27 October 2015, English National Ballet and research partner University of Roehampton will hold a symposium, Dance for Parkinson’s Evidence of Impact – Moving Forward, exploring the case for dance in health programming with presentation of new research arising from ENB’s Dance for Parkinson’s national programme and opportunities for creative dialogue through a moderated discussion with partners involved in ENB’s programme, and representatives from the health and cultural sectors. The afternoon will be live-streamed and can be accessed by going to the ENB website

Dance for Parkinson’s Evidence of Impact – Moving Forward

English National Ballet’s (ENB) Dance for Parkinson’s programme was inspired by the work of Mark Morris Dance Group’s Dance for PD® in Brooklyn, New York. Since initiating the programme in 2010, ENB’s model and approach has been artistically driven, encompassing the practice and repertory of ENB. The programme has also included a structured training programme for practitioners wishing to engage in developing Dance for Parkinson’s classes, providing a model for practice, professional development and cultural engagement across the country. Since 2012, and with the support of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, the model has been rolled out nationally through four strategic hub partnerships: Oxford City Council, MDI, DanceEast and National Dance Company Wales.

In 2011, ENB commissioned a ground breaking piece of research to provide evidence of impact on the benefits of dance for people living with Parkinson’s led by Dr. Sara Houston and Ashley McGill (MSc), from the University of Roehampton. Their initial findings have resulted in a new piece of research English National Ballet, Dance for Parkinson’s An Investigative Study Part 2, and provides the first longitudinal piece of evidence on the impact of the programme over the past three years, examining the long term benefits of dance, physically, socially and as a contributor to quality of life and well-being.

Roehampton research seminar: The Beauty of Tchaikovsky’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’ – Maureen Gupta, 27 Oct

Centre for Dance Research, University of Roehampton

The Beauty of Tchaikovsky’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’

Dr Maureen Gupta, independent researcher, USA
27 October 2015, 1-2pm, ED111 Cedar, Froebel Campus, University of Roehampton Free, all welcome, no need to book

Tchaikovsky’s music for ‘The Sleeping Beauty’ is unquestionably one of the great – if not the greatest – of ballet scores ever written. But what is it about this complex work that merits our accolades? In this presentation I aim to delve deeper into the music of ‘The Sleeping Beauty’, showing how Tchaikovsky’s understanding of the ballet world of ‘The Sleeping Beauty’, and his ability to expand – through music – the meaning of the ballet, distinguish his score. Focusing on the music related to Aurora – her adagios and variations – reveals much about the young princess. The Lilac Fairy’s harp timbre supports Aurora at times; and at others its absence enables her fledgling steps. As with Aurora’s choreography, her music gradually incorporates some of the fairies’ musical attributes. In her adagios, Tchaikovsky highlights Aurora’s essential strengths: her royal status, the powerful shelter of the Lilac Fairy and her sister nymphs, and in the finale, the love of Prince Désiré. Aurora’s three variations employ different solo instrument timbres to epitomize beauty and technical accomplishment. Further, Tchaikovsky structures the variations differently and offers a nuanced interplay between what lies on the surface – the texture and shape of the melodies – and the music’s harmonic underpinnings.

Maureen Gupta, an independent scholar, is a musicologist and dance historian currently writing a book on ‘The Sleeping Beauty’ and its establishment in the West. Her doctoral dissertation, from Princeton University, focused on Diaghilev’s ‘Sleeping Princess’ of 1921-22. She has taught at Columbia and for the Dance Theatre of Harlem.

New book announcement – When Ballet Became French: Modern Ballet and the Cultural Politics of France, 1909-1939

When Ballet Became French

Modern Ballet and the Cultural Politics of France, 1909-1939

Ilyana Karthas

“Ambitious in scope and focused in argument, When Ballet Became French offers a compelling account of the rise and fall and rise again of ballet’s fortunes as an exemplary French cultural, and implicitly, political form. Integrating dance history into a broader narrative of French cultural and gender history, Karthas combines an internalist understanding of the transformations in ballet’s choreography, technique, staging, and institutional form with a broader, externalist analysis of its symbolism, social location, and cultural and political resonance.”—Judith Surkis, Rutgers University

“Karthas unearths the history and lineages of the balletic tradition and how it moved from its monarchical roots to the flowering possibilities in republicanism. On the whole, it is an interesting study and a rewarding read in an under represented area.”—Publisher’s Weekly

For centuries before the 1789 revolution, ballet was a source of great cultural pride for France, but by the twentieth century the art form had deteriorated along with France’s international standing. It was not until Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes found success in Paris during the first decade of the new century that France embraced the opportunity to restore ballet to its former glory and transform it into a hallmark of the nation. In When Ballet Became French, Ilyana Karthas explores the revitalization of ballet and its crucial significance to French culture during a period of momentous transnational cultural exchange and shifting attitudes towards gender and the body. Uniting the disciplines of cultural history, gender and women’s studies, aesthetics, and dance history, Karthas examines the ways in which discussions of ballet intersect with French concerns about the nation, modernity, and gender identities, demonstrating how ballet served as an important tool for France’s project of national renewal. Relating ballet commentary to themes of transnationalism, nationalism, aesthetics, gender, and body politics, she examines the process by which critics, artists, and intellectuals turned ballet back into a symbol of French culture. The first book to study the correlation between ballet and French nationalism,When Ballet Became French demonstrates how dance can transform a nation’s cultural and political history.

Ilyana Karthas is associate professor of history and affiliate faculty of women’s and gender studies at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

McGill-Queen’s University Press

September 2015 14 photos 412pp Hardback 9780773546059 £27.99 now only £22.39 when you quote CSL915BALLwhen you order.


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