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Acocella on Ballet and Sex

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#31 sandik


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Posted 07 March 2005 - 11:22 PM

With all this talk about Balanchine and the crotch, what I found most disturbing was the clip from Ashton'sMonotones.  The female dancer, clad in a white long-sleeved, long legged leotard, with a white cap on her head, and white pointe shoes, raises her leg to 6 o'clock while being slowly turned by two men---I thought, How Grotesque!  she looked like a flag pole.


I know the moment you refer to -- I don't really think of it as grotesque, but it's very disctintive, in part because Ashton's physicality is usually less manipulative. I think the the Monotones are his most Nikolais-like works -- exploring the body almost without reference to ballet, and yet finding moments of pure classical technique

#32 Herman Stevens

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 02:22 AM

-I thought, How Grotesque!  she looked like a flag pole.


I think that was J.A.'s point. Ninety degrees and a little tutu is arguably more sexy than the six o'oclock position.

I wouldn't call the Ashton clip "disturbing;" rather the reverse, kind of dated. But I haven't seen the entire piece.

The funny thing is, when you look at the next clip (forgot the names) and turn down the loud punk rock music, what you see is beautiful slow hushed gliding pdd. As J.A. suggests, people were strange in the eighties.

#33 Guest_nycdog_*

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 02:47 AM

Herman Stevens wrote:

"We live in a world where we're 100% surrounded by the most brutal sexual imagery, and ballet would be a completely chaste art? And what's so good about that anyway?"

What's wrong is that looking to the woman's crotch in the ballet is the LAST thing on my mind, I would never have thought to do so and I'm not gay. There's something much higher than mere sexuality in the art form that I want to see.

#34 Farrell Fan

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 02:41 PM

At the risk of identifying myself forever as a dirty old man, I must say that looking at a woman's crotch in ballet, particularly in Balanchine ballets, while not the first thing on my mind, is definitely not the last. I never look through opera glasses, however. :wub:

#35 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 03:35 PM

From an article for Dance View on Arthur Mitchell coaching Agon

Unlike many of the other people in the Interpreters Archive, Mitchell regards the people watching and reporting on the filming not just as observers, but as an audience.  He addresses us directly and more than once he works the crowd, giving one of the writers a very elementary lesson in partnering, showing her how to place her hand in his.  She is enthralled when he asks if she senses how this grip works.  “Yes!" She enthuses. "That means you’re in charge.”  Mitchell smiles.

I didn't identify the writer at the time, but since it seems to add to the context here, it was Acocella.

#36 Guest_nycdog_*

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 01:53 PM


Would you expand on how this story you wrote about Arthur Mitchell coaching dancers in Agon adds to the context here, does it tell us something about Acocella?

I love Arthur Mitchell, he seems to have been in my consciousness from childhood, I don't know why I guess he's just been out there a lot in the media over the years. Diana Adams was so beautiful I think she's my favorite dancer, how nice that Agon was made on Adams and Mitchell I didn't know that.

Edited by nycdog5734, 09 March 2005 - 01:59 PM.

#37 ninjarina



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Posted 12 March 2005 - 02:23 PM

unfortunately i cannot politely type what i think of this stupid lecture .....

#38 kfw


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Posted 14 February 2011 - 11:20 AM

The Berkeley website has a webcast of this talk, which Rachel Howard mentions in her blog.


That link is expired but there is a working one here. Look for lecture # 4, Ballet and Sex.

#39 sandik


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Posted 18 February 2011 - 10:30 AM

Thanks so much for posting this -- I haven't thought about this lecture in quite some time, but will be glad to go back and re-view.

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