This thought-provoking volume is an edited collection of papers and presentations from the conference Ballet, Why and How? Illuminating the role of ballet in the vocational education and the professional life of today’s dancer, held in Holland in 2012. In her introduction Gaby Allard of the editorial board movingly describes her own experience as a dancer transitioning from ballet to contemporary dance, her realisation of being “locked in” to her balletic bodily practice, and her search for new knowledge and approaches. The conference addressed the need she perceives for the on-going work of research and innovation in “best practice” that is integral to dance culture to be shared in dialogue, here specifically considering “the position and value of classical technique for the dancer today” (Allard in Brown & Vos edit. 2014, p.20).  A wide range of speakers with differing perspectives including historians, pedagogues, psychologists, practitioners and dance scientists contributed, to build a revealing picture of the current state of the art. (more…)

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