In her book Apollo’s Angels, Jennifer Homans infamously announced that ballet is dying. Though the statement ruffled a lot of feathers in the ballet world, it’s not unreasonable to wonder what direction ballet will take in the 21st century.
Now, Homans will be in charge of a new center for academic and artistic research, focusing specifically on ballet. The organization, the Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University, is designed to create academic inquiry around the future of the art form.
Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the center will offer research fellowships to a variety of artists interrogating the role and future of ballet, including documentary filmmakers and former dancers. The center is not designed to serve students, per se, but will offer public lectures starting in 2015.
Despite the contentious tone of her book, Homans hopes to address questions that should unite dance lovers: Why is dance absent from general arts education? What can we do to tackle its enduring inaccessibility? Hopefully Homans’ organization will help to generate the very ideas that she sees as lacking.