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Tall vs. short ballerinas


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#31 Premabalrina

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Posted 19 February 2005 - 09:02 AM

A lot of companies use the shorter dancers to do principle roles...especially in more classic ballets. There is nothing wrong with the principle character being smaller than the rest of the corps. In fact, it seems to usually be that way. Still, I doubt 5'1'' looks that short next to a 5'3'' corps de ballet dancer...unless the company is full of amazons or the 5'1'' dancer is overweight for her height. (Which is doubtful)

#32 carbro

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Posted 19 February 2005 - 04:28 PM

Megan's about 5'2", and NYCB tends to cast tallish women for the Theme ensemble.

#33 Marga

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Posted 19 February 2005 - 04:49 PM

Megan's about 5'2", and NYCB tends to cast tallish women for the Theme ensemble.

Do you mean Megan Fairchild? Her height is listed in her Discount Dance profile as 5'3". The questionnaires that make up these profiles are answered by the dancers themselves.

#34 carpar

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 06:52 PM

It just does not matter though.I have one daughter who dances with the Richmond Ballet.She is very good,very pretty and has the height.My youngest daughter is very pretty and just as good as the other,but just does not have the height.They take the girls with height,regardless of looks or talent.Very sad,but thats the way it is.

#35 jm278

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 03:25 PM

Richmond Ballet kindly specifies that they want females of 5'4" to 5'7" for auditions. Funny, but as the mother of a 5'9" DD, I've always considered Richmond for short dancers! I agree with above posters...it's all in the proportions and fluidity. I describe it as the ability to "melt like butter". And yes, body proportions are important. Whether short or tall, I love long arms and long legs, long fingers that flow, and if I'm allowed to say it, big heads make me crazy. It seems to defy the physics, and disrupt the line. Expression and musicality are also so important. Technique means nothing without it.

#36 Helene

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 09:26 PM

The two companies I see most that routinely have tall ballerinas on the roster are Pacific Northwest Ballet and Ballet Arizona. San Francisco Ballet has some tall women as well. Are the larger companies less heterogeneous in size?

#37 Colleen Boresta

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Posted 14 August 2010 - 04:17 AM

As has already been said, I think it depends on whether or not the ballerina is in proportion to her partner. I think a short dancer can dance Odette/Odile or Aurora just as well as a tall dancer. Gillian Murphy is just perfect in Swan Lake, and she's only about 5'5 or so. And the last two Auroras I saw - Alina Cojacaru and Tiler Peck are both on the small size, and they gave the two best performances of the title role in Sleeping Beauty I have ever seen. And Natalia Osipova is tiny - but she eats up the stage with her incredible technque and artistry. With regard to Giselle, I think Giselle should be on the short side (or at least very frail looking).

#38 Marga

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Posted 15 August 2010 - 12:55 AM

Gillian Murphy is just perfect in Swan Lake, and she's only about 5'5 or so. And the last two Auroras I saw - Alina Cojacaru and Tiler Peck are both on the small size, ... And Natalia Osipova is tiny...

Just to get technical (sadly, I've been very aware of dancers' heights ever since my short (5'2") daughter became a professionally-minded, then professional ballet dancer - I wish I could stop because I believe it matters little!): Gillian Murphy is 5'6" and Tiler Peck is 5'5". I wouldn't call either dancer "short". Alina Cojacaru is 5'2". Natalia Osipova is not so tiny in height, either. She is 5'5", too.

Personally, I think of Aurora as a shorter dancer. I don't much like to see the role danced by Amazons. Same with Giselle - I agree with you, there! I also prefer a small to medium-sized Odette, although it's a role that works with any height. Some Latina Odettes are incredible and many of them are on the short side.

I would rephrase your sentence "I think a short dancer can dance Odette/Odile or Aurora just as well as a tall dancer" by reversing your words "short" and "tall"!

Chacun à son goût!

[size="2"]Rereading this thread, I saw my earlier posts from 5 years ago. I'm still singing the same tune! Even reused the word "Amazons"! :)[/size]

Edited by Marga, 15 August 2010 - 01:11 AM.


#39 slcmom

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Posted 15 August 2010 - 10:17 AM

Ballet West is also known for its tall dancers. Most of the Women are quite tall and the Men are mostly all well over 6 feet.

#40 leonid17

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 12:00 AM


Gillian Murphy is just perfect in Swan Lake, and she's only about 5'5 or so. And the last two Auroras I saw - Alina Cojacaru and Tiler Peck are both on the small size, ... And Natalia Osipova is tiny...

Just to get technical (sadly, I've been very aware of dancers' heights ever since my short (5'2") daughter became a professionally-minded, then professional ballet dancer - I wish I could stop because I believe it matters little!): Gillian Murphy is 5'6" and Tiler Peck is 5'5". I wouldn't call either dancer "short". Alina Cojacaru is 5'2". Natalia Osipova is not so tiny in height, either. She is 5'5", too.

Personally, I think of Aurora as a shorter dancer. I don't much like to see the role danced by Amazons. Same with Giselle - I agree with you, there! I also prefer a small to medium-sized Odette, although it's a role that works with any height. Some Latina Odettes are incredible and many of them are on the short side.

I would rephrase your sentence "I think a short dancer can dance Odette/Odile or Aurora just as well as a tall dancer" by reversing your words "short" and "tall"!

Chacun à son goût!

[size="2"]Rereading this thread, I saw my earlier posts from 5 years ago. I'm still singing the same tune! Even reused the word "Amazons"! :)[/size]


19th century Romantic and academic classical ballets were generally made for dancers around 4'10" to 5'2" in height.

Alina Cojocaru has a balanced physique in relation to length of back and legs which lends to her achievement of an extended line in both poses and lyrical movements.

For all her gifts, which are real, Osipova has by comparison a short back with restricts a longer lyrical line and she is in my opinion, shorter than 5'5" inches tall and on stage appears to be much shorter than Cojocaru.

Generally speaking I want to see leading dancers in Romantic ballets and Petipa ballets performed by dancers between 5'2" and 5'5" in height. However, I would not want to have lived my life without having seen Toni Lander in La Sylphide, who was seemingly taller than 5'5".

Other comparisons might be Dame Margot Fonteyn who was short in stature but achieved a great line and lyricism in her performances and the shorter Lucette Aldous, who had bundles of technique and often a thrilling dancer, but did not in my opinion, possess either a truly academic or true lyricism in her line.

Tall dancers can essay first soloist roles effectively and in the case of Deanne Bergsma for instance, more than effectively.

#41 sunday

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 03:12 AM

I'm 5'10" myself. Last weekend, I found Anna Nikulina about 4" shorter than me, at least. Both Vasiliev and Osipova of comparable height to me, and taller than Tamara Rojo in 3" heels. Alexei Loparevitch (Don Quixote in DQ) looked 6' tall.

Osipova could have been wearing high heels (I did not look), and/or I could have been unconsciously bowing before her, of course. On stage she seemed a little bit shorter than Alexandrova, it should be said.

#42 Mashinka

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 04:19 AM

I don't buy Ivan Vasiliev being 5'10". When I saw him in Le Corsaire it bothered me that he was the shortest pirate on stage and frankly I found the scene where he fights off the other pirates faintly absurd. Comparing him with the other dancers on stage I would guess he is around 5'6" or 5'7" (about the same as Baryshnikov) and Osipova about 5'3".

#43 Simon G

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 06:02 AM

Vasiliev is 5"6" he stated his height in a recent interview. In which he also joked about his beautiful long classical lines.

#44 sunday

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 07:31 AM

:dunno:

Perhaps a question of shoes. I was wearing my lowest ones.

#45 Marga

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 10:11 PM

Osipova ..... is in my opinion, shorter than 5'5" inches tall and on stage appears to be much shorter than Cojocaru.


http://entertainment...icle2027206.ece

Here is a quote from the above article (from 3 years ago):

At 5ft 5in, she is the same height as Maya Plisetskaya, the 81-year-old Bolshoi phenomenon still dancing (more or less) last year. In her heyday, Plisetskaya was considered a giantess. These days, Osipova is one of the shortest ballerinas.




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