Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014
The New York Times reported yesterday on “dancer turned historian” Jennifer Homans and her new academic center at NYU – one dedicated to the study of ballet and other dance forms. In addressing the need for this center, Homans sites her fear that ballet is a dying art form, saying that she hopes her center will bring attention to ballet not just as a form of dance but as “a serious subject of academic inquery” that expands beyond the dance world. She states, “‘We’re in the middle of a completely changing world, and where is this art form? What is it going to become?'”
One of the chief responsibilities of arts and cultural organizations is the preservation of the arts. Highly specialized centers, like the one proposed by Homans, fill an extremely important role in todays world by helping to maintain the study of the arts. Looking at the front page of nearly any major newspaper, one infrequently sees stories about the arts, instead finding headlines about financial crises, war, and terrorist acts. While these stories are certainly extremely important, it is also important to maintain the study of arts – a field that has been relevant to human culture for thousands and thousands of years. Centers dedicated to specializations within the arts do not merely further knowledge in the field, but also help to keep the arts relevant in today’s society.