As a dancer, you may think my interests are different than yours. Movies such as Center Stage depict dancers to be obsessed with weight loss and competitive by nature, but this is most certainly not the case. As a dancer I enjoy feeling the music, mesmerizing scenes, admiring athletic abilities, getting lost in thought and dreaming of my perfect little world. Whether you love football, finance or marketing, I am certain you have listened to a song, watched a video, admired celebrities, got lost in thought and dreamed of your perfect world, just as I do.
When I was a little girl, I used to dance ballet. Traditional “pointe your toes” ballet. Now that I have graduated, lost focus and injured myself too many times to dance, ballet has evolved into a revolutionary modern-contemporary dance. It’s truly incredible how an entire genre has changed so drastically within the past 10 years. (Guess which one is me! Here’s a tip: bowl-cut).
I believe this change has a lot to do with the inspiring and passionate, Karen Kain. Karen is well known for her compelling and poised years dancing but her most significant role in the industry has happened during her role as Artistic Director at The National Ballet of Canada. She has turned the ballet world as we know it upside down.
Karen Kain. Photo by Aleksandar Antonijevic.
Back in my day (yes I just said that), our opportunities were concentrated to Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Giselle, Romeo and Juliet and Sleeping Beauty. Now, if you have no idea what that means, I’m essentially saying the classical, tutu-wearing, Tichavsky playing, ballet you picture coming from a little girl’s music box. Personally, I love this kind of ballet, it reminds me of my childhood, perfect scenes, true love, true hurt and all the grace and beauty in the world.
However, recent dances and the transformation of ballet from the aide of Karen Kain has really captured my attention. The first “new” ballet I saw was Cinderella by The National Ballet of Canada. I went in expecting a traditional ballet and left completely shocked, in a wonderful, beautiful way. The dance was ballet, but it was humorous with all the beautiful aspects I desired. The music was the same, but sets were incredible and the characters were colourful and inspiring. Who knew such a dated and traditional industry could change into something completely the same yet totally different? It’s amazing!
I went back to see The Rooster. Another National Ballet of Canada piece danced entirely to songs by the Rolling Stones. It’s sexy and dark. If you can imagine a sexy and dark ballet. Now, I may not have gotten what I wanted, but I definitely got what I needed (see what I did there): lost in thought with pictures of a perfect, new, modern world.
The Rooster. Photo by The National Ballet of Canada.
This made me realize, as we grow, so do our tastes. We experience life, mature, maybe we reconnect with the child in us, but no matter what happens or which way we go, we change. Change is the only constant in our lives.
So I went back, now addicted. There are Johnny Cash ballets, revitalized traditional ballets any (my personal favorite) a ballet called Cacti (yes like a Cactus, you’ll understand if you see it… or you won’t. I’m still confused).It’s more of a modern dance but we’re all changing right? So I can call it a ballet for arguments sake.
The Cacti. Photo by The National Ballet of Canada.
The moral of the story is maybe we should all try new things, even if we don’t think well enjoy them. I still appreciate and love my traditional ballets, but I am always trying to mix it up and find new kinds of dance. I feel as if my world has exploded and I have found hundreds of new worlds. Maybe you can find something new in your world. Embrace change as it embraces you.
For a little taste of Cacti and how dance have changed so drastically watch this promo to probably confuse you even more:
– Your Heather