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Scholars Day: April 15, 2009

Traditional Ballet Meets the Modern Mind: A Look at What Makes Ballet Choreography Innovative.

What makes ballet choreography innovative? Ballet is traditionally defined as a theatrical form of dance which uses codified steps and poses, and often a large company of dancers, elaborate scenery and costumes to convey a story, theme, or atmosphere. Given this historic structure, how is it possible for choreographers to present classical ballet in an original fashion? This paper will look at both past and present choreographers who have worked in the idiom of classical ballet and have developed a distinctive style. Examples will be drawn from three choreographers: 1) George Balanchine, who has been credited with infusing modern concepts into classical ballet, 2) William Forsythe, who works with deconstruction of classical ballet through a geometric approach, and 3) Alonzo King, who fuses various cultural dance forms with ballet. Through exploration and comparison of these ballet choreographers, this presentation will seek to determine what defines originality within a traditional form.

Presenter: Vanessa VanWormer (Graduate Student)
Topic: Dance
Location: Hartwell Dance Theater
Time: 9 am (Session I)