Advancing the Value of Ethnography

Show Must Go On: How Can Ballet Help Us Strengthen Ethnographic Practice?


Cite this article:

2022 EPIC Proceedings p 99, ISSN 1559-8918,

This PechaKucha is drawn from research conducted as an organizational ethnography at The Dutch National Ballet (DNB), a renowned professional organization in the culture and arts sector in the Netherlands. However, just like most research trajectories, mine was also full of hurdles that I needed to overcome, the biggest being Coronavirus and the disruptions it created. While constantly adapting myself and my research to the circumstances of the day, I agree with Marcus and Fischer’s description of ethnography being a “messy, qualitative experience” (1986, p.22). I have come to recognize how resilience is very much engraved in the ballet as a profession with opportunities to observe its manifestation even before (or during) adversities; and its learnings can be useful for other (cultural) settings and/or disciplines. In this PechaKucha, by proposing a new perspective to understand ethnographic practice, I suggest that what we learn from ballet can impact the resilience of researchers and the trajectories we take. Keywords: ethnographic practice, embodiment, mind-body coordination, corporeality

Colorful footprints on an A0 paper done by moving around using paint. The first footprint is the one at the bottom left corner, also giving the sharpest image. Footprints get blurred once moved along the paper

Photographed by the presenter.

Almina Karya Odabasi is a Teaching and Research Assistant at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, currently working on embodiment and identity building. This interest is fueled by her dance background as a licensed sportsperson. She is also involved in designing teaching innovations and learning activation initiatives. She has undergraduate degrees in international relations and business administration, and a master’s in cultural management. She previously has worked in creative industries, also in different companies’ brand partnerships, public relations, and project management departments. Contact:

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