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Miranda Weese

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#16 Steve Keeley

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Posted 04 October 1999 - 09:13 PM

I see your point Nan; perhaps I should have said her performances were yucky. I thought it was clear from the content of my post that I was casting no aspersions on MS. Weese as a person, but rather criticizing her work.

Having since reviewed my notes and discovered that on several occasions I've been impressed by Weese's work, I should have just said I have found her adagio work yucky.

I also wasn't complaining about her looks; she's certainly pretty enough. My major objection is the cold, mechanical way I've seen her perform adagios. She seemed to be going through the motions, with no attention paid to either her partner or the audience. At the last performance of "Theme and Variations" that I saw her in, I got the distinct impression she would rather be elsewhere. I squirmed through the entire adagio, and the performance left a bad taste in my mouth that still hasn't gone away.

Thus, my use of the word "yucky." (Although I've seen many disappointing performances, the only other ballerina who has ever inspired me to say "yuck" is Sylvie Guillem, for the same reason. Sylvie's technique is astounding, but I have always found a repellent coldness at the heart of her dancing.)


#17 Alexandra


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Posted 05 October 1999 - 12:21 AM

I found Lillian and rrfan's comments quite interesting (as one who believes that "it's the coaching, stupid!" should hang in every artistic director's office). One reads with increasing frequency from young dancers that there is no coaching there. They're not complaining, just telling it like it is, as they say. We have an interview coming out in Ballet Alert! with a young dancer who, in all innocence, and as a throwaway remark, says, (this is a paraphrase): "We're just told to get out there and do it." Who would have guessed?

rrfan, your comment about models is a good one, I think. Dancers can learn from teachers and those who stage the ballets as well as from actively dancing stars (one reads how Danilova and Doubrovska were an influence on their students).


#18 Guest_Cygnet_*

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Posted 05 October 1999 - 11:55 AM

I started following up on this thread last week and now have to jump in and say that it would have been wise if Ms. Weese used a couple of videos (maybe Plisetskaya for Odile and Mesentzeva or Asylmuratova for Odette as an example) if she didn't have any good coaching available for her roles.
Her lack of expressivity and her flamenco hands to portray a swan were an annoyance.
I can't discuss the rest of her work because I've only seen her on PBS but GOSH!!!!!

#19 Guest_rrfan_*

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Posted 05 October 1999 - 04:58 PM

In defense of the PBS showing. While it's not the greatest excuse, Miranda was thrown into the performance a mere 2 hours before the curtain went up. Now I know dancers have a lot of pressure performing live, but tv is a venue I don't think ballet should belong to. One of the unique things about live performance art is that every night is a new performance. To judge a dancer by a performance that, fortunately or unfortunately will remain on tape forever is not fair.
I've seen Katharine Hepburn flub her lines on stage and I doubt anyone will argue the talent of that woman!

#20 Nanatchka


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Posted 05 October 1999 - 06:38 PM

Thank-you for your interesting recasting of your "yucky" remark, Steve. I think it illuminates two different ways of writing criticism.(This being a public venue. In private conversation, anything goes, of course.) Were the ballerina in question to read your first post, she would simply have to regard herself asyucky. Were she to read your amendment,she would understand something about how she appeared in performance to a seasoned eye. I personally will say anything about a choreographer that I feel impelled to, ditto about theater directors and artistic directors. They are their ship's captains, and they ought to sink with them. (Although may a director has taken the heat for an intransigent actor not of his own choosing, and many a dim bulb has shone bright under a director's invisible hand.) Towards perfomers I usually feel much more kind-hearted. Whatever it is, they have to go out there and do it, and wear it!

[This message has been edited by Nanatchka (edited October 05, 1999).]

#21 Steve Keeley

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Posted 05 October 1999 - 07:43 PM

Since it has been mentioned that in the "Swan Lake" broadcast, Miranda Weese was a last-minute replacement and that this should be taken into account, I thought I'd be fair and add the following information regarding that horrible "Theme and Variations" performance.

That was a Sunday matinee, and Miranda Weese wasn't scheduled to dance that day; the program listed the cast for T&V as Wendy Whelan and Robert Tewsley. Due to illness or injury Kyra Nichols, scheduled to dance in "Diamonds," was replaced by Wendy, and Miranda replaced Wendy in T&V.

I have no idea how much notice she had.


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