Audience expectations of and responses to the image of the classical ballerina in contemporary society
University of Wales
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The study aims to discover audience expectations of and responses to the image of the classical ballerina in contemporary society. The study was prompted by the current ballerina image that displays a shared, narrowly defined body aesthetic and aims to help inform the dance industry on what their current audience really wants to see when attending the ballet, thus attempting to bring ballet back to its audience. The investigation turns to the history of ballet and the powers of spectatorship to discover how the ballerina arrived at her current position, focusing on technical demands, aesthetic qualities and historical traditions. The study was carried out via online questionnaires of mixed methods (quantitative and qualitative) and spectators of ballet were invited to complete the survey over a period of two weeks. The balance of technical ability versus traditional ballet and the classical aesthetic resulted in a complicated divide of opinion between participants, indicating that ballet technique requires certain elements which are of traditional importance to the genre and its audience. However it is suggested that it is not only the current narrowly defined body aesthetic that could display these requirements and the accepted range of ballet physiques could be widened to include the average sized female without losing the traditional aspects of ballet that the contemporary audience desires.
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