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allegromezzo18

Height of Typical Female and Male Dancers

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What was/is the typical height of female and male dancers

who are principals or soloists for the NYCB and ABT?

Were the dancers much taller in the days of Ballanchine?

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Principals and soloists at ABT and NYCB are and have been of widely varying heights. There is no typical height.

NYCB:

In the days of Balanchine (one "l", not two), for example, principal dancers Suki Shorer (5'1"), Allegra Kent (about 5'3"), Suzanne Farrell (5'7"), and Gloria Govrin (5'9") danced at the same time. Male dancers from the same era, Edward Villella and Jacques d'Amboise are short and tall, respectively.

These days one of the tallest males is Charles Askegard, Joaquin De Luz one of the shortest. Megan Fairchild, shorter side, Wendy Whelan and Darci Kistler, tall.

The other principals and soloists are all different sizes. Several new corps de ballet dancers are as short as Suki Shorer.

ABT:

Xiomara Reyes, Erica Cornejo, Herman Cornejo: short

Marcelo Gomes, David Hallberg, Michele Wiles, Gillian Murphy: tall

Ethan Stiefel, Angel Corella, and Julie Kent, for examples of the middle of the road, are of medium height.

A few ABT dancers of the 1980's:

Natalia Makarova and Gelsey Kirkland: short; Martine van Hamel and Cynthia Gregory: tall

Fernando Bujones, Mikhail Baryshnikov: short; Kevin McKenzie: tall; Patrick Bissell: very tall

And spanning the 1980's to the present, Alessandra Ferri: short; Julio Bocca: short

Would you like some more examples? :blink:

You seem to be doing a comparative study of some kind, judging by the kinds of posts you make. Is it purely for personal reasons or are you writing some kind of interesting thesis on the comparison of ballet dancers, and, if so, what is your thesis statement, if I may be so bold as to ask?

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It's funny. I always thought Wendy Whelan was about 5'7". But she's tiny! She has very long feet and is tall en pointe. Standing flat, I look down at her and I'm only 5'51/2". She's actually quite a bit shorter than she appears. I'd estimate she's only 5'4" max.

She has some ballet magic that makes her look tall. :wub:

Maria Kowroski on the other hand is actually very tall. About 5'9" ...maybe more.

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I'm surprised that Wendy is short. She always looks so tall.

Many years ago during a NYCB performance I purchased a pair of corps de ballet pointe shoes for sale. I purchased them because they were so tiny. Does anyone know how tall Elizabeth Walker is? I imagine she must be petite because these shoes are the smallest adult sized pointe shoes I think I've ever seen. They are very short and very narrow.

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She (Wendy) always looks tall in person, too. One of my friends pointed out that she's actually short. I didn't believe her, so I made a point to pay attention next time I was standing beside her. I was surprised! En pointe, she's tall, but not flat.

Most people guess I'm about 5'7" or 5'8" (and they guess I weigh much less than I actually do). It's all about proportions and illusion. Very difficult to guess someone's height and weight.

I was very surprised at how different the body types and sizes are at NYCB. I see the dancers in class, and they're all quite different from one another.

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Merrill Ashley has tiny feet in proportion to her height, too.

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Does anyone know how tall Elizabeth Walker is?

I don't know if she still is, but when she first joined the company, Elizabeth was the shortest dancer in the corps.

Her dancing has a lovely, warm fullness uncommon at NYCB.

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RE: Elizabeth Walker- I am not sure of her exact height but she is certainly one of the shortest dancers in the company.

In the televised version of Swan Lake for PBS in 1999, Elizabeth dances as one of the 4 small swans. She is often dancing next to Janie Taylor and Carrie Lee Riggins and is quite a bit shorter than they are. Given that Ms. Riggins and Ms. Taylor are not exceptionally tall (maybe 5'4"?), I would perhaps place Ms. Walker around 5 feet. This is just a guess though.

It's difficult to determine this in the theater, as I normally sit in the 3rd ring.

I'd like to see Elizabeth next to Megan Fairchild. I wonder how they compare...

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Oh, I think she's a tad taller than 5'. Maybe 5'2" or 5'2 1/2". Then again, it's hard to tell without really standing beside the person and measuring. But I've been around her, and she's not super super short.

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It's funny. I always thought Wendy Whelan was about 5'7". But she's tiny! She has very long feet and is tall en pointe. Standing flat, I look down at her and I'm only 5'51/2". She's actually quite a bit shorter than she appears. I'd estimate she's only 5'4" max.

I'm 5'4" and Wendy Whelan has walked toward me and past me on many occasions over the years as I waited for my daughter at Steps. She's definitely taller than I am! I know from your posts that you train at Steps, so I'm not doubting your perception, either, but perceptions are just that: what we observe from our point of view. From my point of view, I have to look up to look Wendy Whelan in the eye!

I did a little googling and found the following observation of Wendy Whelan's height. Julio Bocca is short, but not so short that, were Whelan 5'4", she would stand, on flat, a "good half-head" taller than him.

I never once imagined that I'd see Bocca and Whelan dancing together. He's not a City Ballet type; she's not ABT material, even as a guest artist. She's too tall; he's too short. On flat feet, Whelan looms a good half-head taller than Bocca.

Eric Taub review

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Would Elizabeth's height be the reason that she's still in the corps? The principal women seem to be on the tall side. The shortest principal female that I can think of is/was Alexandra at 5'5".

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The shortest principal dancer is Megan Fairchild, at 5'3½".

She states her height as such on the discount dance supply site, where she was a dancewear model.

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I did a little googling and found the following observation of Wendy Whelan's height. Julio Bocca is short, but not so short that, were Whelan 5'4", she would stand, on flat, a "good half-head" taller than him.
I never once imagined that I'd see Bocca and Whelan dancing together. He's not a City Ballet type; she's not ABT material, even as a guest artist. She's too tall; he's too short. On flat feet, Whelan looms a good half-head taller than Bocca.
Eric Taub review

I've seen them standing together in class, and you're right, she isn't a "good half-head" taller than him. At most, she's only about an inch taller..in fact while they're dancing they almost look the same height..it's all in the presentation! :wub:

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Marga,

I know that I've looked down at her to make eye contact. She's shorter than me. Again, she's got some very long feet...

Then again, my chiropractor always told me he'd make me taller. Maybe I really have grown from all that spinal decompression! I thought he was joking. I've been meaning to measure myself.

Wendy may shrink and grow too. I know that Alexandra Ansanelli does. Scoliosis can do strange things...

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Does height matter in a ballet dancer? It seems to me it only makes a difference in partnering I think it would be very silly to have a tall woman and a short man together. :cool:

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I'm quite thin and 5'8". Prior to becoming part of the ballet world, courtesy of my daughter, I found that people usually thought I was shorter than I am. Something about being slightly built made me shorter, too. In the ballet world, though, I am often "told" by people there that I'm a good 2 inches taller than I am. Go figure.

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I am from years gone by. I am new here but I don't know if I can interject something here as the last post seems so old. In 1973 there were real height discrimination issues at the San Francisco Ballet Company for women. The company had just changed hands and if I remember correctly. It was Michael Smuin from NYCB who took over as artistic director. At my audition he asked me my height which was close to 5 foot 2 inches and I lied and said I was 5 foot 3 inches, because I knew they were looking for taller dancers. He told me they did not hire any female dancers for the corps that were under 5 foot 4 inches. He said for costuming reasons. I am glad to hear there is less discrimination, at least it sounds that way. But as you are discussing this topic are you only speaking in terms of principal dancers or does this include those dancing in the corps too?

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What is the tallest height for female corps members at ABT at present? Does anyone know? What about male dancers?

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I am from years gone by. I am new here but I don't know if I can interject something here as the last post seems so old. In 1973 there were real height discrimination issues at the San Francisco Ballet Company for women. The company had just changed hands and if I remember correctly. It was Michael Smuin from NYCB who took over as artistic director. At my audition he asked me my height which was close to 5 foot 2 inches and I lied and said I was 5 foot 3 inches, because I knew they were looking for taller dancers. He told me they did not hire any female dancers for the corps that were under 5 foot 4 inches. He said for costuming reasons. I am glad to hear there is less discrimination, at least it sounds that way. But as you are discussing this topic are you only speaking in terms of principal dancers or does this include those dancing in the corps too?

Fortunately that is not the case under Helgi Tommasson. He specifically asked choreographer Christopher Wheeldon to keep his eye out for a small dancer, and Wheeldon 'discovered' Maria Kochetkova at the Royal Ballet, and she was snatched away. ;) Yuan Yuan Tan and the other principal women are certainly not very tall - though they claim she's 5'10" on pointe!

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