New York City Ballet journal.
* I cannot agree with the complaint about the ruinous cost of attending American Ballet Theatre performances at Lincoln Center [Readers' Forum, April, page 8]. Orchestra seats at the Met cost $65 and $48, not "about 100," and the Dress Circle ($40) is neither uncomfortable nor distant. ABT's prices are the same as last year's; subscribers also received an extra performance free. And $80 for commuting and parking? Try public transportation. The writer would have been more helpful had he specified the "large suburban arena" that ABT could fill to capacity.
* In the April Advice for Dancers [page 68], a dancer who wanted to avoid products made by companies that use animals for testing was told by Dr. Linda Hamilton to use Vaseline to keep her hair in place. Wrong! Chesebrough-Ponds, maker of Vaseline, performs tests on animals; also it uses petroleum which is distilled in a process that creates pollution.
Health-food stores carry products that have been made by cruelty-free, unpolluting methods. For a list of such producers, your readers should write People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, P.O. Box 42516, Washington, DC 20015-0516.
I am pleased to report that Maria Bj[phi]rnson's lovely costumes for the Royal Ballet's production of Sleeping Beauty, which I saw at Kennedy Center on April 6, used neither fur nor feathers. Now if only shoemakers would stop using leather!
DANCE - EXTRACURRICULAR?
* As a dance educator [Hobart and William Smith Colleges] I was shocked to find Muriel Topaz representing dance as an extracurricular activity ["A Liberal Arts Degree: What Does It Offer the Dancer?" March]. Dance can be considered as such only if students participate in it as recreation, divorced from academic study. It is one integral aspect of a college education. Because so much must go on in the mind of a dancer, many dancers become good students and vice versa.
In a liberal arts institution, dance courses are designed to be "intellectually enriching" and an artistic experience. Although I don't believe it was Ms. Topaz's intention, her article underscored the misconception that these studies are merely activities done in students' free time.
* Muriel Topaz replies: As a former director of the dance department at an educational institution and a longtime crusader to have dance considered worthy of study, I share Dr. Davenport's frustration and goals.
My article, however, was addressed to dance students who want to become professionals and was intended to help them choose institutions best suited to their special needs. A liberal arts college presents particular challenges to the aspiring professional because students are allowed to earn only a third of their credits in their major field. For the dedicated dancer this is usually an inadequate allotment of time to acquire the needed skills. Most serious dance students, therefore, must enrich their programs by adding noncredit, i.e., extracurricular activities.
I certainly did not intend to imply that dance was unworthy of credit, nor did I assume that only amateur dancers would be attracted to a liberal arts school.
I did, however, present the facts as they are, not as I wished they were. I firmly believe it is important for students dedicated to dance to expand their horizons; liberal arts are one way to accomplish this goal.
* I appreciated your May article, "Ballerina Moms." Though not a professional, I have been taking class for sixteen years and found ballet training to be a major aid to stamina, discipline, and creativity. Last February, thanks to ballet class, I became a chum (at age forty-six) to my own baby ballerina daughter, Giselle. Whether she actually becomes a ballerina is not as important as the fact that she is reaching for that fartherest star, to become what she wants to be.
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|Title Annotation:||Young Dancer; journal entries of an apprentice ballerina|
|Date:||Jul 1, 1994|
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