For our second Blog in the series of The A-Z of Grace and Poise, Beauty seemed the perfect ‘B’ to discuss and contemplate, particularly as it is seen as so integral to Ballet.
Beauty is defined as "a combination of qualities, such as shape, colour, or form, that pleases the aesthetic sense, especially the sight". Historically, beauty within Ballet and the Arts has always been of significant importance. In more recent times Beauty is often questioned, challenged and sometimes downgraded as audiences critically evaulate and dispute the importance of Beauty. Many argue that Beauty may been seen as as a superficial product, lacking in meaning and perhaps being oppressive of natural expression, suffocating and eliminating originality.
So WHERE is its place, WHY is it important, is it RELEVANT in todays society and how does BEAUTY apply to the future of Ballet and of course Ballet at Grace and Poise?
As John Keats once said (in Ode on a Grecian Urn 1820) ‘Beauty is truth, truth Beauty.’
Natural landscapes from the Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon, to the Hoh rain forests, the Negev deserts and most idyllic sunsets in Bora Bora are nothing short of Sublime and Beautiful. In fact, they are just like an extended masterpiece existing for us to be enchanted and beguiled by every day.
Artists and poets like Wordsworth, Keats and Blake all had a profound relationship with nature and only through their connection with nature they were able to produce the most popular literary canons of their times like The Prelude and A Poison Tree. Similarly, choreographers like Marius Petipa took inspiration from the form of snowflakes and designed the entire patterning of movements, pathways and placements of Ballerinas to reflect the form, movement and quality of it. Interestingly, throughout history, Beauty has been integral in developing Ballet Practice, and Ballerinas took pride in the perfection of movements in all its intricacies and subtleties, thus making Ballet a performative Art which people delight in observing.
So what do we learn from Petipa, Keats and Wordsworth?
They teach us that one must harness that inner curiosity and wonder for the world, and thereby appreciate the worth of Art and Beauty. Moreover, they lead us to ask the following: Shouldn’t we likewise seek to embrace true Beauty and share what we learn through Art? Do we not need more Artists, Choreographers and Creatives to offer their audience the Art of contemplating in greater elegance and depth?
Making Art Beautiful does not involve reducing its worth, meaning or intention. Instead, by embracing meaning and communicating through something beautiful, we enact and bring Beauty to life, and as we know, Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so let’s make the beholder not only see, but feel, think and be moved by Beauty. After all, To look at Ballet is to not to look at Art, but to see Ballet is to see into someone’s soul. Once we appreciate the principles and drives of Ballet, Beauty will hold greater value in Ballet and reclaim its place within the Arts.
To conclude.... At Grace and Poise we consider Beauty an integral part of our work as its the means to translate our emotions and stories through the connection of Poetry and Movement. If we undervalue Beauty, we undervalue life. And what is life when it is less valued and worthy in our eyes?
Grace and Poise
Edited By Articulately (www.articulately.co.uk)