Patrons, West australian Ballet,
His exCellenCy Dr Ken MiCHAel AC,
GOvernOr OF Western AustrAliA
AnD Mrs Julie MiCHAel
Patron, Ballet CirCle,
Ms Alex WriGHt
the giFt oF giving
FrOM BACK stAGe tO trAil-A-stAGe
Behind the sCenes
An AMeriCAn in PertH
balletnewsCover photography by Frances Andrijich
WAB’s General Manager, steven roth, recently drew my attention to an online blog discussing the merits of the arts in our
communities, particularly during an economic downturn. One correspondent was adamant that, in times such as these,
the arts should ‘take a back seat to necessities’. On the surface, his argument seemed compelling. How can the arts take
precedence over food, shelter and jobs? But to me, this begs a bigger question: how does our economic environment,
whether boom, bust or something in between, define what life’s necessities are?
long before complex economies and global trade relationships existed, societies managed their own sources of food,
built their own shelter, and created ‘jobs’ by sharing out the tasks required to keep their society physically alive. However,
they had more purpose to life than just subsistence.
What we today call ‘the Arts’ is a commonality amongst most indigenous cultures past and present. Drawing and
painting, dance, music and drama are vehicles for people to tell stories about their history, culture, beliefs, and spirituality.
A society’s rituals and ceremonies also generally involve one or more of these artistic tools whether it be for the
welcoming of a new season or for a funeral. Whilst i am no anthropologist, i could imagine that some of the ‘jobs’ in these
pre-industrialised societies included artist, dancer, musician and orator, just as they had a medicine man, cook, farmer,
hunter and perhaps even security guard.
those of us lucky enough to come to the ballet, live in an industrialised world where it would appear the necessities of life