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Ashley Bouder Makes The Front Page of the NY Times


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#31 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 04:13 AM

Except that I can see a right for a director to demand that someone in that position be focused entirely on the performance while it's going on. Afterward is something else.

#32 DeborahB

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 04:25 AM

Nice example, kfw! I suppose your question is humorously meant, but, to take it seriously instead, it's been my observation, maybe flawed, that many young people -- and some not so young -- are virtually phobic about strange experience, preferring instead to try cautiously only what their friends find rewarding. So learning from an entry -- whatever you call it -- like that one might convey that this dancer-person is really very ordinary, just like most people, and that what she does is not so intimidating.

By contrast, when young I rarely thought there was any shock hazard to be feared from opening any book, tuning in any station, playing any record, seeing any film (except for those with violence) or trying any theatrical experience. I didn't live in New York, but I was curious about whatever there was within reach. So, "following my nose" but not just going everywhere at random, I went off to some ballets I liked the music for, when I had the chance. It wasn't at all what I had expected, and after a couple of these experiments, I didn't go back to ballet for a decade, though I continued to listen to some ballet music among other "serious" music. It didn't "take" at first.

I suppose there are some independent-minded, unafraid, curious young people today, too. I certainly hope so!

What still eludes me, to return to my own question, is how someone sees these tweets in the first place, without prior interest. When they do, it might -- aha! -- demystify the subject for them in this way. The people doing it are ordinary in some ways, have apartments to furnish like the rest of us, in your example. Makes it less strange, alien, threatening?

Whether it will then become strange in the sense of wonderfully strange, a little like Bottom's dream, let's say -- well, that still seems like a long shot for this approach. (Will it ever seem mysterious that this seeming improvisation -- Balanchine ballet performances seem to me to be dancing what the music tells them to -- can be so good for so long?) How does it start? Where does the initial interest come from, for them?


Jack,
Although I said I didn't want to represent the branding/marketing/publicity and PR point of view, your question about "how someone sees these tweets in the first place" is a valid, and good one.

There's no question that most people who read someone's Twitter feed have some connection to either that person, company or have an interest in what the person/company does. For example, one of my clients (not in the arts, but in the food world) is pretty well known. About a year ago he started tweeting (yes, I pushed for it but he loves doing it). It was a chance for him to get out from behind the stove (so to speak) and
talk to both fans, regular cooks, and people who are interested in cooking. We have guidelines for what he tweets (i.e. nothing too personal etc.), but mostly it's just fun stuff (even about things that have nothing to do with food, but instead his own interests). His "followers" (what people who pick up Twitter feeds are called) are probably 90% fans/cooking enthusiasts/food companies. The other 10% are people who are interested in anyone who is well known. This is just one example.

I'm guessing that 90% of any dancer's Twitter followers are people who:
1) Are genuine fans of the dancer.
2) Have seen the dancer perform and were impressed (perhaps at an out-of-town appearance or at a Gala?).
3) Have some connection to dance -- perhaps a student? It's a way to follow someone who has "made it."
4) Have seen the dancer in question (Daniil Simkin comes to mind here) in a general press (i.e. not dance media) feature. Perhaps they noticed the article because a friend likes ballet, or they thought the person was "cute" or the dancer featured has some pretty famous friends.. In other words there's a passing interest, but when they read that person's "tweets" they decide to check it out. Maybe they'll decide to go to a performance someday, maybe they won't.

The idea behind tweeting to "followers" is simple -- it's about building some sort of relationship (i.e. marketing and branding). Give out a little information and perhaps a follower will be more likely to want to buy your next book, or come to the ballet the next time you dance ______(fill in a ballet here).

I also want to mention that people "unfollow" Twitter feeds frequently. Once you sign on to someone's feed you can "unfollow" with a stroke of a key. It's that easy. It's not much of a commitment. Personally, my favorite Twitter feed is Roger Ebert's.

I hope that helps a little.

Deborah

#33 abatt

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 05:34 AM

I think "free speech rights" might refer to Constitutional guarantees, such as those in the First Amendment, but these are protections against government restrictions on such things as speech, press, assembly and so on, which protections do not extend to businesses like the ones Mel refers to.


Apart from the federal constitutional right to free speech, each state constitution guarantees free speech rights for its citizens. Also, a private employer cannot interfere with the speech and other rights of its employees outside of the workplace. When we're talking about dancers using twitter, we are frequently talking about their speech outside the workplace. (Let's put aside the complication that a dancer might be using twitter on the premises of the ballet company.)

#34 canbelto

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 08:54 AM

The ethos of the great classical artist has no common ground with any Tweeter, or Tweet or whatever that thing is pronounced.


Oh come on don't you think you're being a little severe? Many athletes, actors, actresses, and politicians have facebook pages and twitter feeds. You can follow Hillary Clinton on her twitter, post on Sarah Palin's facebook page, etc. In this day and age social networking is the norm. Diana Vishneva has a fan page where she patiently answers questions from fans about her training, diet, upcoming performances, favorite ballets, and even how tall she is. This doesn't make any of these people less professional, or less dedicated.
The way I see it, as long as Ashley Bouder is giving her all onstage, what's the harm? (And she does give her all onstage. I've seen her enough times to know that. :wub: )

#35 papeetepatrick

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 09:31 AM

I do think that in a general sense there is 'loss of aura' across the board, which was noted pointedly by Walter Benjamin as far back as when he was writing about the 'aura of the bad cult of the film star'. I disagree with him, but I think I know what he was talking about: That was already at a remove from old mythologies, heroes, spells, beliefs in sacred places, etc,. you name it, and I even think for those who don't think the 'cult of the film star' is a 'bad aura', we do see that even that aura is not mysterious the way it once was, when a whole nation and world too, perhaps, looked at those screen luminaries with wonder.

You may not have read the tweets in question, but you've gone right to the point here, Patrick. Aura? How's this for enticing newcomers to ballet?

great massage! and my new tv was delivered today! this apartment is slowly but surely getting decorated and finished:)


Ashley Bouder is being a young woman in her mid-20's (I'm almost 53 so we're not in the same generation). Some people relate to the idea that a dancer of prominence does every day things. They might find this tweet charming. Then again, I think it's charming. I understand that Twitter
(a "tweet" is a post on Twitter. It's really as simple as that) may not be everyone's cup of tea but why be so negative? I don't get it.


I have to agree totally, Deborah, even if I have done no MySpace, Facebook, or Twitter. My discussion of 'aura' is one thing, but I think Twitter (and even old-fashioned blogs, for that matter) just give current biographical information, as opposed to getting the info much later.

kfw--frankly, I think that little 'tweet' is perfectly okay, and has no effect on how I'd see any young person. It doesn't interest me that much, but it's no different from the yogurt-eating jokes about Juilliard dancers, insofar as the tradition seems to be still alive and cute too even. These are young people, as Deborah says, and this just happens to be something young people are going to want to do, like text all over the place. Now ruining grammar and being unable to write decent sentences, which texting seems to invite is another thing--and I've heard that many young people can't pass certain academc tests due to this degradation of language. If they know how to make the difference in literacy and recreation, i have nothing against it.

And I agree with Deborah thatk, even if hearing about a dancer's great massage is not really quite intense enough for me, kids love this, and I just don't think it's a big deal. People use Facebook and MySpace to promote themselves all the time, and this is simply part of the new technologies. We're from an older generation, and although I used to be more opposed to some of it than I am now, while being only too aware of the very real pitfalls.

But I did also say that 'mystique' and 'aura' can seem to disappear and then come back to one's surprise. While the evolved technologies have changed the world, there is more left over from the old days than one might often expect: For example, about a year or so ago, I read that people were getting tired of ordering online because the computer 'seemed like work', so they started going back to the brick-and-mortar stores, which 'seemed more fun'. I was surprised at this, even though the percentage of online sales did keep growing somewhat, but much more slowly. So one can lament, but you cannot turn back the tide completely; but my main point here is that the 'aura' and 'mystique' do come back. Frankly, if I was in my 20s, I might think of Ashley Bouder as having these qualities. I don't look for the artist to have 'untouchable qualities' any more; I look for him/her to do his job, and once in a while it will just be somebody who is able to do something that will make me say 'I have no idea how s/he thought of that'. In fact, a blogger just writing osme informal thoughts was recently able to make me think that, her thoughts were so profoundly original. I had no access to these thoughts at all before she enunciated them, and yet this was the same kind of 'wonder' that I have usually gotten from more conventional media and performance.

Edited to add: I think canbelto's point is good too, along the same lines.

#36 Simon G

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 09:42 AM

The ethos of the great classical artist has no common ground with any Tweeter, or Tweet or whatever that thing is pronounced.



Cristian, do you think the public see ballet as something mystic or are merely indifferent?

As Deborah B rightly pointed out despite being front page news on a World-leading publication with a circulation of over 1,000,000, daily, Bouder still has barely 1,000 followers.

That says far more about the state of the modern art and society's relationship to it, than a ballerina tweeting at all.

#37 dirac

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 09:49 AM

Ashley Bouder is being a young woman in her mid-20's (I'm almost 53 so we're not in the same generation). Some people relate to the idea that a dancer of prominence does every day things. They might find this tweet charming. Then again, I think it's charming. I understand that Twitter (a "tweet" is a post on Twitter. It's really as simple as that) may not be everyone's cup of tea but why be so negative? I don't get it.


I think itís good for ballet and ballet dancers to have a presence on Twitter. I donít think it will bring in hordes of new people but itís a nice idea all the same. As for tweeting between acts Ė I donít see why this necessarily constitutes some sort of major distraction for the dancer. From what I read about Bouder it doesnít seem to affect her focus at all. :wub: I don't see anything to get excited about, really.

#38 abatt

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 09:54 AM

I think that understanding the internal workings and politics of a ballet company (for example, in Sophie Flack's interview in Time Out about being let go from NYCB, and a subsequent nYTimes article re the dismissal of various NYCB corps members) does more to destroy the "mystique" of ballet than Tweeting. Those interviews and articles showed the ugly side of the ballet world. Tweeting is comparatively harmless.

#39 papeetepatrick

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 10:09 AM

[ I think itís good for ballet and ballet dancers to have a presence on Twitter. I donít think it will bring in hordes of new people but itís a nice idea all the same.


Yes, I don't either believe it will bring in that many people, although it might bring some. Think this is a good point though, because one thing about aura and mystique that definitely remains in toto with ballet, is that everybody agrees you have to see the real, live, physical thing in person (at least some of the time; a DVD or TV broadcast is better than nothing if you're too far away, but still iit's important to see the real bodies at work in a real theater some of the time when possible). Witt barely 1000 tweets we are not talking about something that can produce phenomena like Susan Boyle YouTube numbers, etc., and Bouder has definitely been around long enough to become a mainstream 'household word' if she were going to become one like some of these Reality TV people.

#40 Simon G

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 10:29 AM

Witt barely 1000 tweets we are not talking about something that can produce phenomena like Susan Boyle YouTube numbers, etc., and Bouder has definitely been around long enough to become a mainstream 'household word' if she were going to become one like some of these Reality TV people.



Patrick,

Susan Boyle???? Boyle is soooo last year. Now it's all about Jedward, the latest Irish twin sensation to come out of X Factor and now fast becoming world wide stars in their own right.

This was their seminal rendition of Oops, I did it again. I see it as performance art on a level with Pina Bausch, Cunningham/Rauschenberg, as transporting as the greatest ballet.

In many ways Jedward remind me of Lynn Seymour's dancing. The sum of faults only went into creating a model of such perfection it transported art to a hitherto undreamed of level. Think Les Sacre du Printemps at Le Theatre de Champs Elysees 1913, or Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon 1908 - think Jedward.



#41 papeetepatrick

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 10:35 AM

Sooooo right, Simon, but you can't expect us all to be properly au courant even if we approve of Twitter by ballerinas. :wub: To wit, I only heard of Ms. Boyle two days ago, I know, I know, it seems impossible, so thank you for catching me up on the newest trends! I look forward to viewing your linked YouTube the moment I am able to vouchsafe the time!

#42 Simon G

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 10:53 AM

Sooooo right, Simon, but you can't expect us all to be properly au courant even if we approve of Twitter by ballerinas. :wub: To wit, I only heard of Ms. Boyle two days ago, I know, I know, it seems impossible, so thank you for catching me up on the newest trends! I look forward to viewing your linked YouTube the moment I am able to vouchsafe the time!



Patrick,

You might also want to check this out, Jedward's collaboration with Vanilla Ice:



Jedward have also been featured four times on Perez Hilton, twice in Entertainment Weekly & Rolling Stone, and wait for it, Forbes.

You'll also be delighted to know that they've been taken on by one of the US's biggest concert/tour promotors. What an embarrassment of riches.

#43 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 11:37 AM

The ethos of the great classical artist has no common ground with any Tweeter, or Tweet or whatever that thing is pronounced.



Cristian, do you think the public see ballet as something mystic or are merely indifferent?

Depending on which public are we referring to. Ballet lovers already "hooked" won't be in any special need for all this. If the issue is the current urgency to do some "recruitment" work among potential newcomers in order to boost audience numbers, then there are many other ways that will be more appealing and helpful to them-(live ballet viewing, great performances videos, ballet personalities biographies, etc). About the "merely indifferent" one...do they need ANYTHING at all...?
And yes...I would bet on the fact that many of us still like our ballet with an aura of mystery and mystique.

#44 Simon G

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 12:00 PM

The ethos of the great classical artist has no common ground with any Tweeter, or Tweet or whatever that thing is pronounced.



Cristian, do you think the public see ballet as something mystic or are merely indifferent?

Depending on which public are we referring to. Ballet lovers already "hooked" won't be in any special need for all this. If the issue is the current urgency to do some "recruitment" work among potential newcomers in order to boost audience numbers, then there are many other ways that will be more appealing and helpful to them-(live ballet viewing, great performances videos, ballet personalities biographies, etc). About the "merely indifferent" one...do they need ANYTHING at all...?
And yes...I would bet on the fact that many of us still like our ballet with an aura of mystery and mystique.



The problem with this model of widening the appeal, (and I do agree if it were feasible it would be wonderful) is the bottom line of cost.

Live performance, televised performance, video production costs exorbitent amounts of money, rights, performance rights, royalties, broadcast costs etc running into hundreds of thousands of dollars, for niche products which won't be viewed by large audiences and could never justify the costs of broadcast and production. Especially nowadays where all broadcasters and producers are facing huge financial difficulties.

Bouder on twitter, "dishing the dirt" which let's face it wasn't that dirty, or Kristen (forgot surname) on the winger, reaches a potentially huge audience and all anyone has to do is log on.

That wonderful fifties era of ballet can't exist within the modern world and hope to stay alive - live art is a limping wounded beast, anything that dares and tries to reach a wider audience by connecting on a human, "catholic" level can only be good. It is good. Without the audience "mystified" or not, paying to sit in seats all we'll have are pictures from bygone golden eras.

#45 canbelto

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 12:16 PM

And personally I find it less reprehensible for a ballerina to tweet that her leg hurts after practice than for ballet dancers to be used as figureheads for totalitarian regimes. :wub:


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