I'm standing by the performing stage with the prima ballerina of Canada's Olympic team, Roberta Kandinski. Roberta, this is the first time that ballet has been in the Olympics. How do you feel about being here?RK
I'm incredibly proud, Phil. The Canadian Amateur Ballet Association, with its counterparts in other countries, has worked very hard to make this happen.PS
Does it bother you that it is only a demonstration sport?RK
Not at all, Phil. Many other sports have been introduced as demonstration sports and gone on to become part of the Olympic experience. Look at snowboarding!PS
As you know, Roberta, ballet has traditionally been considered more of an art than a sport. What would you say to people who say that it has no place in the Olympics?RK
That's just ridiculous, Phil. Ballet is one of many sports where grace and timing count as much as speed and strength. Look at rhythmic gymnastics or synchronized swimming: it's the same thing. The Winter Olympics already have a form of ballet, figure skating, and it's time for the Summer Olympics to catch up.PS
What does getting here mean for the future of ballet, Roberta?RK
It's very important for us, Phil. The only way that the sport can get the respect it deserves is to escape from the Arts section of the papers into the Sports section. That's where the money is.PS
And how do you see your team's chances?RK
We've been working hard on the compulsories, especially the pas de deux and the jetées. We've got a brilliant original short piece that should impress the judges. I think our chances for a medal are good.PS
Thank you, Roberta. This is Phillip Sycoph at the performance stage. Back to you, Bob, at the Chess finals.--------------------------------------------------
I wrote this and had it up on my former website in 2000. I intended it to be satire. Since then, ballroom dancing has changed its name to "Dance Sport" and has made efforts to become an Olympic sport. It succeeded.
I now understand how Tom Lehrer, the great musical satirist, felt when he commented that awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Henry Kissinger made political satire obsolete. How can we satirize anything when the world outdoes our satires?