Educating the Dancer as an Agent of Change in the Cultural Evolution of Ballet

Paula Salosaari’s doctoral dissertation posits the ballet dancer as an experiencing artist into the core of the evolving tradition and dancer’s artistic identity. The dancer is seen as an experiencing agent of change within the art of ballet, rather than an object, material or an instrument to perform the dance.

The research proposes a way to teach ballet which acknowledges and gives space to this agency by introducing divergent teaching and structural images of the dance as tools to create with. The teaching provides a continuum from revitalising the performing of the traditional vocabulary to creating with it. It enhances interpretation and expansion of the tradional vocabulary as well as composition of new dance material having the tradition as a starting point.

By juxtaposing tradition with the developing forms of contemporary ballet, it illuminates the connection between them and shows a way to include both in the education of a contemporary ballet artist.