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Is the Volochkova story good for ballet?


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Poll: Is the Volochkova story good for ballet? (52 member(s) have cast votes)

Is the Volochkova story good for ballet?

  1. Yes (11 votes [21.15%])

    Percentage of vote: 21.15%

  2. No (31 votes [59.62%])

    Percentage of vote: 59.62%

  3. It depends, see my answer below. (9 votes [17.31%])

    Percentage of vote: 17.31%

  4. I hate yes/no polls. I abstain. (1 votes [1.92%])

    Percentage of vote: 1.92%

Vote

#16 Mel Johnson

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Posted 20 September 2003 - 02:38 AM

When my friends at the "day job" ask about this story, all I can characterize it to them is as a labor dispute. The sooner the matter goes to negotiation, mediation, arbitration, or to court, the better for all parties involved, including the world audience.

#17 BW

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Posted 20 September 2003 - 04:06 AM

I took the "it depends" way out.

Yes, it is "bad" since it tends to continue the stereotype of the whole ballerina thing, and even more specifically the Russian prima ballerina one. :yawn: Of course, I have to admit that I did get a few chuckles reading about it - the first time.

Still, it can be looked at as an interesting example of the more "corporate" side of the ballet world with its Byzantine intrigue. Unfortunately the world of the arts is frought with this, just as the nonballet world is - theirs is just more colorful with larger than life characters such as Ms. Volochkova, whether it be thanks to her personna or her press agent.

On the other hand, as many have noted, if she does go on tour as a guest performer I have no doubt that there'll be many new faces in the audience. And if her performance is really good, then all this will be good for ballet.

#18 atm711

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Posted 20 September 2003 - 06:14 AM

What's the problem. Volochkova says she weighs 109 lbs. The NYTimes measured her height as 5' 6". I voted Yes--and I think it is bad publicity for ballet for the right reasons. Perhaps ballet companies will re-think their policies of skinny dancers.

#19 Maxi3D

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Posted 20 September 2003 - 10:55 AM

I voted yes in the poll because like many others I think that any publicity is good publicity. Now days ballet has become so low key in the world press it's almost boring. There, that is my two cents worth. :)

#20 Amy Reusch

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Posted 21 September 2003 - 09:00 PM

Page One! Was it a slow news day?


It was the New York Times.
Baryshnikov made the front page when he defected.
Dance is important in NYC.
Unlike some other major US cities I've lived in.


Yes or No? I can't decide. It continues to characterize ballet as some sort of weird fine art form whose denizens are out of touch with the rest of the world's ideas of what a woman should look like... on the other hand, it might pique their curiosity to see her dance... but I think the "nay"s have it.

#21 coda

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Posted 24 September 2003 - 02:39 PM

Here is the opinion of an expert on eating disorders whose letter was published in "The Times" on 23.09.03:
"Anastasia Volochkova … turns out to be alarmingly underweight. From the information you give, she has a body mass index (BMI) of about 17. The healthy range for BMI is 20-25. Many adult women who are as thin as Ms. Volochkova will not menstruate, and could develop premature osteoporosis and fertility problems. If Ms Volochkova is regarded as "too weighty", this could suggest that her fellow dancers are even thinner, with greater consequences for their health. If the rigours of classical ballet are such that the female dancers have to take long-term risks with their health, perhaps the ballet companies, and even the audiences, need to think again."
Who will say after this kind of letters that Volochkova story is good for ballet?
What I really would like to check is the scales which showed less than 50 kg. :wink:

#22 Susanne

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Posted 25 September 2003 - 09:51 AM

What pops into my mind when I hear about Anastasia is that Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding figure skating story at the 1994 winter Olympics in Lillehammer.

Figure skating has never been a big sport here in Sweden and despite the papers were covered with the news about the attack on Nancy Kerrigan (done by her "rival" Harding's boyfriend, or was it her ex-boyfriend???) the sport itself didn't receive more broadcasting-time on television nor did more people start to figure skate. (On the contrary the public service channels cut down the coverage of figure skating a couple of years ago. )

This will only emphasize people's view of ballet as "shallow" and the only thing that takes to make it is to be thin. But there is no focus on all the years and hours of struggle and hard work in the studio which takes to make it.

#23 LMCtech

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Posted 25 September 2003 - 10:47 AM

I think any publicity is good. I just wish this particular story didn't make us all out to be high-strung anorexic obsessive compulsives with no foothold in reality. I don't think weight is what this story is about, but you wouldn't know that listening to or reading the American media. This story is too complicated for most newscasts to accurately report given their shortcomings.

#24 Alexandra

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Posted 25 September 2003 - 11:10 AM

Now, now, LMCTech, be fair. You're not ALL "high-strung anorexic obsessive compulsives with no foothold in reality." The media went to great pains to point out that some were, instead, hysterical, self-promoting, bulemic prima donnas who would stop at nothing to further their careers. :wink:

#25 dirac

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Posted 25 September 2003 - 01:43 PM

The Kerrigan/Harding analogy is an interesting one, Susanne, but in America the story played out a little differently. It actually did get non-skating fans to start watching. Men – not generally part of the figure skating constituency -- followed that story, too, and caught a little more skating action than they would have otherwise. The high profile given the sport by Tonya-and-Nancy coincided with a boom in skating coverage that lasted several years. It's quite true, as you say, that the coverage of skating has dropped considerably in recent years, but there's no question that in the U.S. at least, T&N were good for the sport (in one sense), a genuine example of bad publicity being good publicity. Perhaps the Kirov will hire goons to take out one of Volochkova's knees, and then we'll really have something.:wink:



Our present drama isn't really about weight, true, but one reason it's captured so much media attention is because the story in outline conforms to preconceptions about women and ballet, and so those aspects are emphasized because they're in line with what viewers expect….it's kind of a vicious circle.

#26 LMCtech

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Posted 26 September 2003 - 03:45 PM

Alexandra, I stand corrected. You are absolutely right. :)

I agree with the vicious cycle comment. The media wants to give us what they think we want to hear even if it isn't really the story or even if it isn't really good journalism.

#27 Alexandra

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Posted 26 September 2003 - 03:56 PM

I agree with the vicious cycle comment. The media wants to give us what they think we want to hear even if it isn't really the story or even if it isn't really good journalism.

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. :yes:

#28 Funny Face

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Posted 02 October 2003 - 12:26 PM

Alexandra, forgive me if this gets slightly off topic, but I did want to respectfully disagree about the BMI factor. BMI is very, very, very relative. There are men such as Mel Gibson or Sylvester Stallone whose BMI factors are greater than what is considered healthy/normal, etc., due in large part to the fact that they are more well muscled than the average Joe. At the same time, there are BMIs that might be considered too low, but remember that percentages for figures such as body fat have been raised in conjunction with the American AVERAGE going up, not because it's necessarily healthy. Not too many years ago, the norm or desirable range for women was 20-25%. Then it was raised to 30% due to increases in obesity in this country.

For the past 12 years, since I first started having these measurements performed on an annual basis, I have remained at 15%. I assure you I have more than enough meat on the bone, and that it has not affected my female functioning in any way.

The point I really want to stress here is that this story and others like it should not get us riled up to the point of creating extremely polarized choices here -- i.e., that the very real problem we do have with some dancers's quest for a dangerously thin body induce us to forget that there is another very real problem in this country -- that of obesity with its concomitant problems of diabetes, heart disease, etc. There is room for low BMIs, the same as there is for higher BMIs, when the individual circumstances warrant.

I don't think the media even knows what story it wants to tell in the first place. It just wants ratings/viewers no matter how garbled the story. Let's not play into its misdirected hands by choosing 'sides' with regard to an issue that is relative, and is not even the real issue with regard at least to this particular dancer.

#29 Guest_LaraF_*

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Posted 17 October 2003 - 01:54 PM

ITA with dirac. The Tonya/Nancy saga definitely helped create a major skating boom, at least in the US. It didn't hurt that the attack coincided with a number of succesful American skaters (ex. Brian Boitano, Kristi Yamaguchi, Paul Wylie, Scott Hamilton, and eventually Canadian Kurt Browning) being at the top of their game in the pro ranks. Unfortunately the pro scene has drastically declined since, with more skaters choosing to remain in "eligible" competition, and those who have turned pro not performing up to par (especially the ladies).

I guess time will tell about Volchkova (following current skating, I have a hard time thinking Anastasia instead of Victoria). :unsure:


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