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The art of discovery or how you found yourself here.


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I've been wondering how people "discovered" Ballet Alert!" and its "Ballet Talk"...

If memory serves me correctly, someone I didn't know sent me an email with several ballet related websites that had discussion boards. From there, I believe it was Vagansmom who introduced me to this site, and for that I am truly thankful. :) What else would I do with all my free time? ;)

But seriously, how did you discover Ballet Alert!?

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I remember myself just sort of "stumbling" across it, viewing some of the posts and then joining (August 2001). I initially did not post often, as I found people (in MY LITTLE MIND, at least) neither friendly, nor very "forgiving", it seemed to me a "I KNOW better than YOU attitude" (AGAIN, this is all relevant to ME!!). Actually, it was you BW, I believe, in an evening AOL IM convo that convinced me to "check it out again". I did, I LOVE it, I've gotten OVER my "childish" paranoia! :)

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I had just started ballet as an adult beginner, and was browsing the web for information. I happened on this board, and was utterly amazed by the combination of helpfulness towards beginners and wealths of expert knowledge. Such a combination is very, very rare anywhere and even more so on the web. I was hooked. :)

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I'd just been to see a ballet for the first time in years and realised how much I missed it, both doing and watching. I then spent a while trying to find info about adult ballet on the internet and found this! I've been here nearly every day since and I love it :)


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I recall Alexandra announcing on alt.arts.ballet that she was building a site of features and pages just for classical ballet alone. I viewed from the very earliest days, when all the pages were light blue, but Silja was already "our" ballerina, and I've been here ever since, now so involved that I hardly ever have time for a.a.b. anymore! But the friendliest and smartest of a.a.b.ers seem to make it here, anyway, so I'm definitely not deprived!

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I found all the cool people were drifting away from a.a.b, and I just assumed I'd driven them all away, so I decided to follow them to BA where despite my best efforts, here they remain.

(Actually, there are still cool people on a.a.b; they're just not as loquacious as they used to be.)

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I was searching the web looking for summer ballet programs and via another link from another site, happened onto this one.

I found the information to be so helpful to me, a novice ballet mom, and the people all seemed genuinely interested in sharing their knowledge and experience.

Since becoming "hooked", I have found this site to be a safe place to share concerns, get thoughtful and helpful answers and know that there are always "professionals" watching and participating in all that is being discussed.

The added bonus for me has been the many cyber friends I have made, many of whom I have had opportunity to meet and eat with since we all found ourselves here on Ballet Talk!:)

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Gosh, that's a toughie :)

I'd wanted to have a site for my magazines -- though not a message board at first -- but I couldn't get on line as I had an old computer. I finally had enough money to buy a cheap PC in July of 1998, and within a month of getting on line I'd designed this site.

The message board came later -- and was inspired by Giannina. She was a DanceView subscriber, and we'd corresponded. She mentioned that there was a dance newsgroup that was so argumentative, and occasionally nasty, that she felt uncomfortable posting there. I posted to the same newsgroup and was bothered by the nastiness too -- not from everybody; there are some terrific people there (many of whom now also post here!). But because newsgroups aren't moderated, some loony can come on and attack people, and some loony generally does. I also grew tired of arguments along the lines of "Boy, are you stupid. Of course Matthew Bourne's "Swan Lake" is a ballet." And the attempted explanations that yes, it's a ballet in the sense of the general use of the term to describe a theatrical piece using dancing, but not ballet in the way Petipa's "Swan Lake" or Balanchine's "Concerto Barocco" or "Agon" is. So I wanted to set up a site for people who wanted to discuss ballet and who knew who it was, or were curious about it.

I thought it would be a niche site, very small, a kind of side chamber to the newsgroup, where people could come and discuss ballet in some detail. I put up a little Frontpage message board -- there are only about 10 people still here from that one -- and some of the first posters -- God knows how they found us -- were kids. "Hi! I'm 15. I stopped dancing 3 years ago. Can I still become a ballerina?" I "knew" Victoria from the newsgroup and thought her answers sensible and asked her if she would be willing to answer their questions. She said yes, and I don't know what I'd have done without her! (Ban children, I think. :P )

I started looking for better message board software, found one in October 1998, and Ballet Talk as we know it dates from then. Slightly bigger than I'd intended, and still occasionally contentious, as people misunderstand the purpose of the site and sometimes thought it was anti-modern dance, or that we were making a silly, arcane artificial distinction by limiting discussions to ballet. But the vast majority of people have gotten it, and I'm very glad to have you all here. :D

Thanks for the kind comments!

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I had just bought a computer and one of the first things I did was to enter the keyword 'ballet' and discovered BA. I was immediately hooked on the 'quiz'. It was great to have found a group of people on my 'wave length' concerning ballet. Not since the days of my early years of ballet going as a standee at the old Met have I met a group of people who feel as I do about ballet. My family and friends listen to me politely but I suspect they think I am a bit daft on the subject of ballet.

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Originally posted by atm711

Not since the days of my early years of ballet going as a standee at the old Met  have I met a group of people who feel as I do about ballet.  My family and friends listen to me politely but I suspect they think I am a bit daft on the subject of ballet.

I know what you mean atm- even if for me it was a much shorter period... I started being interested in ballet around 1991, when I was 16, my parents accepted to attend a performance occasionally but weren't especially motivated, and neither my friends. What a relief it was to discover alt.arts.ballet in 1995, just after I had got some access to the Net in my university in Lyon (and in that period there weren't many web pages about ballet, most companies didn't have a web site yet), and to see that there were some other people sharing my passion! And I find reading this site much more convenient than reading a.a.b., thanks to the moderation and the existence of various sub-forums- I just regret that some a.a.b. regulars seldom post...

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I still don't remember how I found this site. But I think I may have found it from the BalletAlert or Dance View magazine since I subscribed to them first. And I found THOSE magazines at a local ballet studio while waiting for my daughter at a master class. I remember reading an article in my first issue of either one of those with some very witty quotes that originated as a thread here. So I suppose I searched out the website from there.

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I came across Ballet Alert while surfing ballet links. "Ballet Talk" caught my attention because it was moderated -- the other message boards I've come across for men who dance are the sort of sites I only visit once. BT is always a pleasure to visit.

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Thanks for the plug, y'all. I think DanceView (a quarterly review of dance, with long reviews, commentary, interviews) and Ballet Alert! (a bimonthly, more or less, newsletter, with news, previews, interviews, Victoria Leigh's column for young dancers) would make terrific Christmas gifts.

I don't want to mislead anyone -- these do not look like Pointe or DanceMag. They're black and white -- lots of photos, but black and white -- and no ads.

And, you can save a stamp :) Subscribe on line:


If you want to give this as a gift, drop me an email afterwards telling me who you are and who you'd like the gift to go to.

Back to discovery :) This is fun -- it's nice to know where everyone came from, and why.

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I'm here because I knew Jaana Heino who raved to me at a party about this great ballet-only message board which was moderated and had great professional people.

I lurked around for a short while, and then decided to join. :)

I'm really impressed by the wealth of knowledge on this board and the effort moderators put in.


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I also came across it as a sort of by-product of looking for qualified answers to some teaching questions.

(After dancing -ballet- professionally for a number of years, then having a two kids, I got the opportunity to teach and wanted to do that as well as possible and was quite hungry for responsible information.)

At another board one of the posters mentioned respecting what a certain Victoria Leigh said.

So I did what anyone does nowadays:

I "googled" Ms Leigh, and found this board. ;-)

Everyone is very courteous and knowledgeable.

The quality of the discussions is quite good; most people are able to express themselves clearly and thoughtfully.

I like that.



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