Whilst some professional sports people, like footballers, enjoy a hefty price tag for their skills on the pitch and associated celebrity, it is a far cry from the comparative pittance most athletes and dancers receive for a level of skill that is arguably higher.
Controversial I know, but athletics and art are both no strangers to a bit of controversy – all good art should divide opinion, and merely voicing this opinion in itself may well generate some differences in opinion!
Well, this blog wasn’t meaning to court controversy, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion I guess and I do love a good heated debate!
Sticking with the theme of art subjectivity (and more importantly getting back to the whole point of this blog), I think that few people would argue with me when I say that classical ballet is one of the most sublime art forms created.
The grace and utter beauty of a ballerina ‘en pointe’ in contrast with the dynamic and supremely athletic performance of her male partner is just breathtaking and I think an experience that everyone should have.
For anyone who hasn’t already guessed, I do have a background in dance from the very distant past and given my love of ballet (although to be honest, as a contemporary dancer, watching the classical form has always been preferable to actually donning a pair of ballet shoes and tights, going to class and attempting to force my legs into turnout) I was thrilled to be able to take part in the launch of London 2012 Open Weekend by taking part in a ballet class with Seb Coe, Miss Dynamite and Akala with the English National Ballet (ENB).
The ENB are one of England’s most superb ballet companies. They consistently produce stunning classics like ‘Giselle’ and ‘Swan Lake’ but also open ballet to new audiences. They do this with their fun loving and brightly coloured adaptation of ‘The Nutcracker’ which heralds the festive season and is just perfect for kids (and big kids alike). Miss Dynamite and Akala were helping to promote Open Weekend and will also appear on the Southbank in ‘Hip Hop Shakespeare’ as one of the weekend highlights.
I think some of the company were a bit embarrassed to be doing the class with us (and rightly so as speaking for myself, I was rubbish!) but all in all a great time was had by all and whilst we are all hoping and praying that this stays off the nationwide news (but secretly all watching for a glimpse of our elbow or knee!) I think that the sprit of Open Weekend was captured in the studio and people from all walks of life were able to get involved, have fun and try something new.
If I can end with a plea to anyone who has never seen the ballet – Open Weekend is all about finding something new that you might never have seen or done before, and every year it is only going to get bigger, better and more exciting. Be inspired by the weekend, and if you missed out on an event near you this year, keep an eye out for next years' programme.
In the meantime, get yourself along to a ballet, or any kind of dance for that matter, because even if it turns out that it is not for you, remember that all great art divides opinion, and if you want your opinion to count, it needs to be an informed one!