Has anyone ever noticed that the most celebrated ballerinas in history would now be considered severely deficient in technical ability? When watching old videos, I can't help but compare those dancers to the dancers of today, which is far from fair. For their time, the ballerinas of the past were phenomenal, and I think in terms of artistry they still are.
In anything time brings advancements, improvements, and changes. Ballet technique should be pushed forward (although not at the expense of artistry), and witnessing the evolution of ballet excites me. One must remember though, that the accomplishments of our current dancers take nothing away from legends such as Margot Fonteyn, Anna Pavlova, and Alicia Alonso.
I'll sometimes see comments on Youtube that downplay the greatness of ballet dancers who deserve respect. They must not understand that what former dancers contributed to ballet helped bring this art form where it is today. Ballet couldn't start out the way it is now. It had to go through different stages in order to morph into its present state.
It's also vital to realize that the ballet dancers from generations past showed amazing artistry that pulled audiences in. They were musical, emotional, dramatic, gentle, transparent. I get goosebumps watching Anna Pavlova's dying swan, simple as it is. Let us never become disillusioned and believe there is nothing we can learn from past ballerinas. They have so much to teach us.