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Questions and Answers

What is ballet?

According to "The Oxford Definition of Dance," ballet is: "A form of Western academic theatrical dance based on the technique known as the danse d'école (the classical school) usually presented with elements of music and design to dramatic or lyric effect."

Why not just "dance"?

While the root of the word “ballet” means “to dance,” ballet is a type of dance based in a specific technique. The words are often used interchangeably, particularly in the popular press -- even sometimes in the specialist press -- and in the names of dance companies who do not perform ballet.

Ballet is a specific type of dance with a specific vocabulary and a specific tradition. Ballet Alert!’s founder, Alexandra Tomalonis, a dance historian and critic, created Ballet Alert! as a place to discuss it within that context, to shine a spotlight on ballet as a distinct art form and to help preserve its traditions. There are other discussion groups on the Net that discuss all forms of dance, and we think that approach is very valid, and needed. Our site has a different purpose.

Is ballet better than other kinds of dance?

That is not the position of the site. There are a lot of bad ballets and a lot of great modern dance works. Our only interest is to provide a place to discuss ballet.

Isn't ballet dead?

flowers.gif Seriously, we don't believe that ballet is dead as an art form. The language is still being taught, and taught well, to thousands of eager students, and dancers trained in ballet continue to give excellent performances in the classical and neoclassical repertory. We wish the works of more choreographers who use the classical vocabulary were presented by ballet companies.

Is Ballet Alert! associated with any ballet company or dance professionals?

No. We are an independent site primarily for the ballet audience. Ballet professionals are welcome to join in the discussion on the same terms as fans. We have forums for many major and mid-sized ballet company in the world in which our members have shown interest, but they're not connected with those companies in any way.

We ask members to remember that other dancers and company personnel regularly read our forums, too, and that tone should reflect courtesy, but we want to provide a place for the audience to discuss performances and issues freely. Posts that question company policy are welcome as are, of course, posts that celebrate a company's dancers and repertory

Who/what company/what production is the best and greatest?

The site takes no position on this. That's for our members to discuss! Our only interest is that this be done courteously and follow board rules.

Do you provide forums to discuss classes, including adult classes, pointe shoes, summer intensives, schools, careers in ballet, and parents’ issues?

Ballet Alert! does not, but we have a sister site, Ballet Talk for Dancers, where dancers, students, and parents can discuss learning and performing ballet and ballet careers.

Where does the name "Ballet Alert!" come from?

Our founder and Director Emeritus, Alexandra Tomalonis, gave this site its name from a New Yorker article by Arlene Croce (with the permission of its creator), when she founded the site in 1998, as the web presence for a print publication by the same name. Alexandra publishes Dance View, a quarterly magazine she founded in 1979, whose website, DanceViewTimes, hosts supplemental weekly reviews, interviews, and articles on dance by a great list of critics who span the globe.

I thought your name was "Ballet Talk".

It was for a number of years. We've gone back to our original name because many people confuse us with "Ballet Talk for Dancers", and the two sites have different missions.

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