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Can ballet help us?

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After the terrorist attacks, poet laureate Billy Collins told the New York Times, "In times of crisis it's interesting that people don't turn to the novel or say, 'We should all go out to a movie,' or 'Ballet would help us.' It's always poetry."

Not to take anything away from poetry, but personally I've always found ballet a big help in times of sadness or crisis. What do you think?

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Welcome, Farrell Fan! What a wonderful quote -- thank you for posting it.

So that more people will see this, I'm going to move the topic to the Anything Goes forum. (The Welcome forum is primarily for introductions, and not everyone checks it every day.)

(I hope this doesn't turn into a debate as to whether or not ballet is always poetry, at least in this thread, but to the sentiment the author meant to convey smile.gif )

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Welcome Farrell Fan - I saw first hand this month that ballet can be a tremendous source of comfort. I took a friend who is going through a painful divorce to the ballet and she said that it was the first time in weeks that her problems left her mind and she felt relaxed. She actually fell asleep in the back of the car going home afterward even with the rest of us chatting away. I find it's beauty to be a blessing in my life no matter what my mood is.

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I think that in a sense he's right but maybe not for the reasons intended. It's an inherently unfair statement. The importance of novels, movies, and ballet can't be compared to poetry in this fashion. Poetry is something immediately available to all, something that can be instantly quoted, a quick "sound bite". We all have bits and pieces of poetry floating throughout our brains, if only vestiges from grammar school. Anyone know the children's poem "Keep a Poem In Your Pocket"? In a sense, we all do have a line or two of a poem in our "pockets". So, yes, in times of great crisis or happiness, most of us could probably very quickly recite a bit of poetry to express what we're feeling. And in that sense, we DO turn to poetry SOONER than the other choices he mentioned. But that's only because of how instantaneously available it is to us.

If I were going to argue as to the form of expression most people turn to in times of crisis, I'd agree with Joan Oliver Goldsmith, author of "How Can We Keep From Singing?" and say that people turn most often to song. I was reminded of this many times over in the first days and weeks following Sept. 11.

We all feel a more insistent need, I think, to turn to whatever art form can express the very deep emotions we're feeling, or that can provide some welcome levity. For those of us familiar with the form, it's ballet.

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Although not comparable to the terrorist attacks, I have had a physical problem for over 40 years. I discovered Ballet some ten years ago and since then have found attending ballet and watching the elegance and sheer beauty so uplifting as to take me into another world. A concept difficult to put into words since it is an emotional thing.

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