Friday, June 29, 2018

Generational divides

The instructor for my Thursday evening ballet class has found new recorded music. Most of the recorded music used in ballet classes is nondescript, sometimes taken from famous ballets. This, though, is a collection of modern, popular music played on a piano without vocals. It's become something of a game to see who can name the original artist and the title.

For example, last night we heard "Material Girl" by Madonna and "You're So Vain" by Carly Simon, among others. I can name most of them, though if the combination we're doing requires focus I'm less likely to be able to recognize the music.

The funny thing is to watch the older students react to familiar music while the younger ones show no signs of recognition. For example, a week or two ago we heard the title track from the movie "Fame" by Irene Cara. The instructor said this music was significant to her because it led her to pursue dance as a career. Not only did the younger folk not recognize the music, but they had never heard of it or the movie it came from. Not totally surprising, given that many of them were born a dozen years or more after the movie's release.

This weekend my other regular instructor got into the act. She was providing feedback on some centre combination we were doing when she announced, "You have to stick your landings. Just like Nadia Comaneci!" The younger folk showed no recognition of this name. Not terribly surprising, given that Nadia was an outstanding gymnast in the 1976 Summer Olympics. I remember the '76 Olympics -- I tried speedskating for a brief period as a result -- but I was 15 at the time. Nadia retired from competition before many of these students were born.

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