This month’s Dance Blog Spotlight is one not to be missed! Hip, fun and full of great content, The Ballet Bag is one of the top sites out there on the web when it comes to dance. If you don’t already know them, meet Emilia & Linda.
We asked the ladies to answer a few questions about what it’s like to serve the online dance community…and they were kind enough to oblige!
Can you tell readers a bit about each of you and what your backgrounds are in dance?
Our backgrounds in dance are mainly through years and years of watching: I attended my first ballet (Giselle) when I was only 7, but Linda also took ballet classes (RAD) for several years.
When did you begin the blog-and why did you start it?
We started The Ballet Bag in 2009. Both of us had more general personal blogs but soon found that we were spending a lot of time writing about ballet, mostly about the performances we were watching at the Royal Ballet at the time (around 2007). We wanted to spread the word about ballet as a fresh, original art form and show, from an audience perspective, that there were young people who went to the ballet and who were inspired by it. We also felt that the more traditional ballet websites and forums had a more restrictive format. We wanted to show cross references between dance and pop culture, to share our favorite ballet sites and reviews. We also wanted to leverage off the new trend for social media.
What does the blog cover?
We try to focus on well-researched content, but without losing sight of the visual elements (photography, graphics) packaging all this together, and throwing into the mix a diverse range of personal interests. Also, we try to keep a dialogue going with everyone: from dance critics to other bloggers, from dancers to audiences. We have also been featuring a whole range of different contributors: from Kris Kosaka and Germaine Cheng in Asia to Harper Watters, a young dancer with Houston Ballet as well as Alice Pennefather’s amazing ballet photos. It’s great to have all sides of the debate and to give link candy. As the saying goes: give and you shall receive.
What has been the best part about participating in the dance community online?
The online dance community has made it possible for us to connect with the art form in every part of the globe. Twitter has become a space where critics, dance writers, bloggers, dance fans, performers and choreographers come together to share stories and discuss the past, present and future of dance. It has broken down geographical barriers and made it possible for dance audiences to be “virtually there”. It’s great to be connected to all of that!
What other dance blogs do you ladies read?
We have always enjoyed reading about dance and even more so now: we do subscribe to most newspapers feeds and also read zines like Dance Tabs, Dance View Times and too many blogs to list!
Ballet: likes ballets that taste like 85% cocoa: pure, extra bitter, dark or intense. Her favorites are La Sylphide, Manon, Mayerling, Dances at a Gathering, Ondine, Symphonic Variations, plenty by Balanchine, quite a few by Alexei Ratmansky and some of Wayne McGregor’s pieces for the Royal Ballet.
Non ballet: literature, theatre, opera, rock, art, food, travel, fashion
Ballet: her favorite ballets feel like good books – one can see them 1,000 times and they always feel fresh. Linda loves Giselle, all full-length MacMillan plus Song of the Earth, Robbins’s Dances at a Gathering, Balanchine’s Serenade and Agon, Ashton’s Scènes de Ballet and Symphonic Variations.
Non ballet: books, music and podcasts, science and maths, travel and photography.