canbelto

Tall vs. short ballerinas

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Having seen both Maya Plisetskaya and Natalia Osipova a number of times on stage and off, I am as certain as I can be, that Miss Osipova is not the same height as Madame Plisetskaya. There is something quite ridiculous in the suggestion that she is. After all it is only a statement in a newspaper article.

The best dancers tend to have that unusual ability to make one forget all about their size, and 'eat space'.

Recently, SFB's Jahna Frantziskonis, proudly posted a shot of the costume tag for the costume she was wearing in Cranko's Onegin - formerly worn by Natalia Osipova, Isabella Boylston, and Elena Lobsanova. So that tells us something about their heights. ;) Jahna seems quite small to me, and in this photo with Wanting Zhao, Wanting is at least 2 or 3 inches taller than Jahna (I would never have thought of Wanting as being particularly tall). Jahna is, I believe, still taller than Kochetkova.

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Today in the dress rehearsal for Sylvia I saw Blaine Hoven (tall) dancing with Maria Kochetkova (tiny). They were a sight, so poorly matched for height.

I prefer the long-legged dancers in ballets that show off the legs, e.g., Swan Lake, because there is more beautiful leg to look at. On the other hand, there is plenty of room for well-matched shorter dancers. But the ill-matching of Hoven and Kochetkova can only be a casting of desperation.

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NO ONE should judge a dancer by how they look (height,weight, hair color, skin color, etc.)

To some, attributes like height and weight make a difference to how they see the role, and ballet has a long tradition of emploi. While I'm personally on the side of diversity, mine is not a universal view.

We're a discussion board, not a fan board, and blanket statements are often challenged here. However, one of our board rules is that discussing the discussion is verboten.

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Does anyone have a definite preference for tall vs. petite ballerinas? For me, I have this insurmountable (it seems) prejudice against tall ballerinas. Pace Mr. B. For me, they arent able to create the illusion of weightlessness and "floating" nearly as well as the tiny ballerinas, like Natalia Makarova or Gelsey Kirkland or, today, Alina Cojocaru and Alessandra Ferri. Having such long arms and legs also makes it harder for me to focus on the face, and I think the face of the ballerina is the most important thing. I stare endlessly at Maya Plisetskaya's flashing, glamorous red hair, Irina Dvorovenko's mishevious flirty smirk, Altynai Asylmuratova's shy smile and Oriental eyes, etc etc. These ladies are all short or medium height. But with the tall ballerinas, I'm so busy looking at their legs or arms and being short myself I can sometimes barely see their heads in performances.

I recently just realized this. Why I could admire Svetlana Zakharova, Darcey Bussell, Michele Wiles, Olga Chenchikova, Maria Kowrowski, and all the other very tall ballerinas, but I couldnt love them. I want to be blown away by their incredible extensions, their majesty, but I can't.

How about Uliana Lopatkina? She's tall but fantastic in the right roles (she very selective about them and for instance never danced Aurora because she thought she was too tall. But she still my favorite O/O.

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