Tweeting Ballerinas

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March 31st, 2010

As a former ballet dancer, having spent 18 years of my life devoting over three hours of each day and both days on weekends to the craft, I was particularly interested in Monday’s front page article in the New York Times chronicling how professional ballet dancers are utilizing Twitter to humanize the trade – “Ballet Stars Now Tweet as Well as Flutter.”

Since the 1800s, when Maria Taglioni was the first dancer to go en pointe, ballet dancers (both men and women) have worked to cultivate an aloofness, an ethereal air, showing that what they were doing was effortless. Believe me – it’s far from effortless.

Now, professional dancers at New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and others are airing the dirt and showing the human side of dance, blisters, broken toes and all.

Ashley Bouder, a principal dancer at NYCB, is one of the dancers featured in the article and makes a great point as to why Twitter is helping attract new audiences to ballet. Ashley tweets about her injuries, during intermission, between Acts, and even criticizes aspects of her own performance (something those of us watching would likely never have even noticed). She says that “her tactic is not to make followers feel bad about what they can’t see, but to show them how to look more closely.”

Another great point she makes is: “We don’t have celebrity status like actors in magazines…that’s the main reason people get interested in something – you get all the dirt, you get to know someone and you become attached…”

The word “engagement” is so frequently used when discussing social media strategy with our clients.

If tweeting ballerinas tells us anything, it’s that engaging and humanizing yourself can attract a larger audience than you ever imagined. By allowing people glimpses into the inner workings of your brand and those running the company, you are allowing people to become attached and invested in you, with the end result being loyalty.

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