I hate the ballet.
I can’t stand it.
In fact, there are few things I would find worse than sitting through an evening at the ballet.
I’d rather book myself in for an elective and unnecessary root-canal procedure.
We need to save the Cape Town City Ballet.
Yes. I know.
But seriously: we need to save the Cape Town City Ballet.
You see, as much as I hate the ballet with the bouncing and the jumping, I love what ballet – and the other fine arts – represent. In those movements, both physical and musical, are captured the essence of our humanity, the most beautiful parts of all of us.
And if you’re OK with letting ballet die today, then you’ll be OK with killing off theatre, and opera, and painting, and poetry – in fact, all the fine arts – tomorrow. And because the arts are the roots of human self-expression, it won’t be long before we lose that littlest sliver of soul that separates us from barbarism…
That’s not OK.
You see, the fine arts may not be as headline-grabbing as Lady Gaga’s latest fashion fiasco or what Paris Hilton’s eating for breakfast or who Tiger Woods is shtupping today but trust me when I say that long after Paris, Lady Gaga, the latest American Idol, the winners of Survivor and America’s Next Top Model, or even you and I have been forgotten, these arts will still be around…
…but only if you help them.
This is your chance to do something real, to stop the advance of disposable “culture” and give the fine arts the protection they deserve to serve the purpose for which they were intended: to remind us that our aspirations are more than surviving until the next paycheque, finding the money to pay the mortgage or purchasing some cheap bauble touted as the next must-own by some glossy magazine.
Some say that we won’t miss the ballet or the opera, that these institutions are no longer relevant or important. That’s just ignorant. If you believe that, then you probably also believe that the fastest way we can heal a country is by changing road-names and renaming airports. As for importance, Matt Bellamy, lead singer of the band MUSE, has acknowledged the influence of Rachmaninoff, Liszt, and Chopin on his music.
The history of the fine arts is the history of mankind’s evolution into the sophisticated beings we are today. It charts our path as a species and our society’s development. And if you don’t believe in evolution, then the creationists among you must believe that there is something divine that guides the hand that creates such works as Handel’s Messiah, Da Vinci’s Last Supper or Michaelangelo’s masterpiece that graces the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
This is our history and it’s also our future. It’s up to you to make sure the next chapter gets written.
One last thing: if you don’t think you can be touched by the fine arts, I challenge you to watch the clip below. It features Benjamin Zander, the music director at the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, at a TED Talk he gave on classical music in February 2008. Go along with his experiments, especially the bit at the end – and I’m willing to bet that you’ll discover your soul and your humanity live in the fine arts…
How you can help:
Click the image below and you’ll be taken to the website where you can donate as large or as little sum as you wish towards saving the ballet. There are some really awesome prizes to be won too (the details are on the site).
The bit about the 16GB iPad: every blogger that takes part in this initiative is given a reference code. Mine is AM1. At the end of the campaign, the donations are tallied and should my reference number be associated with the highest Rand value of total donations I win the iPad.
I’m gonna change that slightly. If at the end of the campaign, the recon shows that I have indeed been selected as the blogger who wins the iPad (according to the criteria outlined above), every person who donated using my reference code will go into a draw for the iPad.
In short, if I win the iPad, it could be yours. If I don’t win it, well then at least you donated some money to a good cause.
NB: The Donations window closes on 30 April 2010. The winning blogger will be announced on 4 May 2010. The judges’ decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into. If you are selected as my winner of the iPad, you will carry the courier costs of the delivery of the prize to your door. Prizes are not transferable and/or negotiable. Any violation or attempt to violate any of the above rules will result in the immediate disqualification of the transgressor.
To get your name in the draw, all you have to do is (once you’ve made your donation) email firstname.lastname@example.org and supply them with your name, contact details, the reference code AM1 and the amount you have donated.
5 minutes of your time in exchange for centuries of priceless, irreplaceable human beauty…
Be part of something greater than you or I can see right now.
Get up. Make the difference.