Survey of Arts Management

Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014

88-years-old and going strong

I was thinking a lot about the role of the artist in audience engagement when I stumbled across this BBC news piece on Dame Gillian Lynne.  After watching the segment, I couldn’t help but feel inspired.  The Bafta and Olivier award-winning choreographer known for her work on shows such as Cats and Phantom of the Opera, now 88-years-old, is resurrecting and choreographing a dance piece she performed over 70 years ago.  Even then, she and her fellow artists were finding ways to engage audiences that would not have typically chosen to attend a ballet, by bringing the performance to them.  Lynne mentions how the group of soldiers they were brought in to perform for during World War II were probably pretty unreceptive at first, but “the results were wonderful and then they became fans.”  This is a really great example of what the arts can do, of how an artist can turn a skeptical crowd into believers, and how old material can be resurrected and redefined for new audiences.

Lynne also has a list of 10 tips for choreography that I think can be applied really well to most areas of the arts.

When asked if she’s going to retire anytime soon, Lynne says, “No, no, I dare not.”   I sure hope I look that good at 88!

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About Jenni

My name is Jenni. I am a writer, dreamer, and theatre enthusiast. I love life. I love to travel. I love to laugh. And I think life is beautiful. Follow my Twitter: @imRoseNCrantz

2 comments on “88-years-old and going strong

  1. gormleykimberly
    September 15, 2014

    I love this quote: “I was a dancer before I became a choreographer. You have to understand the element of movement in the core of your being, but you could do that without being a fantastic dancer, I think.”.

    While I rarely make art any more, I am thankful every day for my fine art degree. Its indispensable in fostering connections within the art world and with artists directly, and I think all of my classmates can probably agree. I joke that I ” speak artist”, but its true. Arts management is nothing without the artists themselves and too often they are taken advantage of. Its important for us all to understand the craft we hope to manage. I think this is the key to Gillian Lynne’s success, and hopefully to ours as well!

  2. shrulala
    September 19, 2014

    What a wonderful inspiration!!! I would love to be like a full life like her! I do think believing and being passionate for the arts must create a special hormone that keeps you mentally young. The more and more I study aging artists, despite health issues their mind is always active and show their passion! Its a life lesson for all of us who complain!

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