Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Dance
It’s probably safe to say that we take the word “freedom” for granted here in the U.S., and as a society, we have a lot of freedom. We have freedom of speech, freedom of press, and yes, even the freedom to dance. However, some are not so lucky; a 14 year old boy was taken into custody after publicly performing the Macarena in Saudi Arabia.
The boy was accused of “improper public behavior,” and was detained by the Saudi police. In the video, you can see the boy walk out to a stopped traffic light and begin his routine. He very joyfully performs about three rounds of the infamous social dance, and then the video stops. The boy was then arrested, and we have yet to discover if the boy will be formally charged.
You’re most likely thinking to yourself, “how could they do this? He’s just a boy!” Well keep in mind this is the same country that arrested Saudi singer Abdallah Al Shahani for performing the “dab” dance move on stage. It’s also the country that arrested a girl for wearing a miniskirt at an archaeology site. Could you imagine if Saudi police came to the United States! They would have to arrest almost everybody in sight, considering almost all U.S citizens are either dabbing, wearing a mini skirt, or doing both at the same time. So take a moment to appreciate your situation; we may have a lot of crazy going on here in the U.S, but we can still dance anywhere and anytime our heart desires.
This Little Dancer's Got Talent!
Merrick Hanna has taken the country by storm and has stolen our hearts. This little 12 year old boy has a talent you need to see to believe. His style is best described as robotics meets contemporary, and he is one of the most unique acts currently on America’s Got Talent!
AGT has a lot of great performers, but sadly, so far the dance groups have not been doing very well. Several have already gone home, but last night Simon Cowell declared that Merrick was the best act of the night, bringing hope to the dance community.
It’s no secret that singers usually take over this competition (in fact, we could probably rename the show to “Singer’s Got Talent”) but this year it looks like a dance act has the potential to pull through. Here's the exciting part: the vote is now in our hands, and we have the power to support our fellow dancers. Tonight we will find out if little Merrick made it through, and everyone is holding their breath. Tune in to make your voice be heard, and see if dance prevails!
World Ballet Day Returns
After an incredibly successful event last year, World Ballet Day will return on October 5th.
2016 was a record-breaking year; through a partnership with Facebook LIVE, over 700,000 people watched the live stream from major ballet companies, and over 6.7 million watched afterwards through on-demand.
2017 will see a continuation of the partnership with World Ballet Day and Facebook LIVE. Five of the world's most well-known companies will join forces (for the fourth time!) to provide 20 hours of behind-the-scenes live footage: The Australian Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, The Royal Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, and San Francisco Ballet. Their goal is not only to celebrate the beauty and athleticism of ballet, but to show the perseverance it takes to be a ballet dancer.
The videos will showcase a variety of things; morning class, rehearsals, and backstage prep for future shows. Show your excitement buy using the hashtag #WorldBalletDay , and keep an eye on www.worldballetday.com for the full schedule as we get closer.
Photo credit: World Ballet Day, San Francisco Ballet
Ballet is Bigger in Texas
Lately, the news has been pretty bleak. But there's always a silver lining; even in a world overrun with negative media, the arts community has a way of rebounding and generating hope and excitement in the world. Our friends in the Wild West are helping to do just that by expanding their company!
The Texas Ballet Theatre will be adding four apprentices AND five new company members this season. The 55 year old company is considered to be extremely prestigious and growing in popularity. In this day and age it can be hard for a ballet company to compete with alternative forms of entertainment, so it's refreshing to see that ballet is still alive and well within our communities. You may ask: in a world where more and more dance companies are struggling to get by - how DOES TBT do it? Well, they have some key strategies when it comes to staying relevant.
In order to maintain their popularity, the company performs new and innovative works, while also performing the classics. This means that they cater to all ages and types of audience members. For example, in the winter you can go and see "The Nutcracker", or you can go see "The Nutty Nutcracker." This season they will be performing Beauty and the Beast, along with Swan Lake and several others. In truth, this company covers the spectrum, and the Texas crowd loves it. So maybe the ballet world can learn a thing or two from this company... y'all better start giving the audience some options!