dirac

Naked or not?

132 posts in this topic

I don't know if Eiko and Koma are still dancing in the nude, but when I saw them 20 years ago it wasn't about sexuality, which is presumably what anyone would object to.

When I saw them, they weren't nude, but were rolling and/or lolling about in the sand. I didn't care for them at all, although they did make me think of various diseases (not STD's, more leukemia, for some reason.)

And yet still, to answer dirac's question which begun this thread (have you seen any, and how did you react?), it was distracting.

I'm glad I didn't have to see them nude, although not because I was worried about being distracted.

A beautiful face is distracting enough.

I never find that to be true, and think it always enhances anything.

Genitals can't dance.

Of course they can, but not in any of these venues we're concentrating on here.

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This seems quite exaggerated to me. I don't know any company that requires dancers to sign such a contract. I think we are talking of nudity and mean that genitals and female breasts are covered at least.

Actually no, from the examples which were mentioned in this thread (including the one by volcanohunter just above your message...)

Well, at least I didn't experience that, neither as dancer nor as spectator. I wouldn't think it's esthetic to have genitals uncovered. I myself would refuse if ever asked. With the female breasts it's a little different. I once saw 'Isadora' and the ballerina had a translucent costume with her breasts more than imaginable... very esthetic and exciting!

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I agree that some nudity in Romeo and Juliet might be appropriate. Maybe have Juliet's nightie come off her shoulder ever so slightly during an embrace. But then again, I think there's the "if it's not broke, why fix it?" situation with ballets like these. I've seen Romeo and Juliets that are plenty hot without any nudity (thinking of the moment in the Czinner film when Romeo and Juliet's hands first touch).

I agree, the most erotic scene I ever saw is the recognition of Romeo and Juliet touching just their hands behind the spectators who listen to the singer in Zefirellis movie from 1968 with Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey. On the other hand the short naked bedroom scene is exciting as well. It always depends...In R&J ballets there are usually traditional costumes and no nudity even in bedroom, so Romeo doesn't have to redress when leaving. I myself wouldn't mind being shirtless as Romeo in the bedroom PDD with Juliet of course keeping her thin white night gown.

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[...] I wouldn't think it's esthetic to have genitals uncovered. I myself would refuse if ever asked. With the female breasts it's a little different. I once saw 'Isadora' and the ballerina had a translucent costume with her breasts more than imaginable... very esthetic and exciting!

Well, this will certainly depend on your own perspective in re what you take to be "esthetic" or erotic or stimilating. Actually, practical considerations aside for a moment, I think it would be very touching and dramatically appropriate to have BOTH R + J nude (very Pasolini, very "under the uniforms which mark out our tribes we're all human"), especially in tranlating the play into the medium of dance, which is all about the body.

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I think it would be very touching and dramatically appropriate to have BOTH R + J nude (very Pasolini, very "under the uniforms which mark out our tribes we're all human"), especially in tranlating the play into the medium of dance, which is all about the body.

I think this may work in a movie as it did with Zefirelli (Whiting&Hussey) perfectly in the bedroom scene, but not in ballet where practical considerations have to be taken into consideration. And, I dare not to say, what about the problem of the male getting hard on stage in the nude...impossible. And if he didn't get hard in an erotic situation while playing a passionate lover you would also think it unnatural. So with convincing evidence it is totally inept to have dancers with genitals uncovered on stage. Leave that to nightclubs.

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And, I dare not to say, what about the problem of the male getting hard on stage in the nude...impossible. And if he didn't get hard in an erotic situation while playing a passionate lover you would also think it unnatural. So with convincing evidence it is totally inept to have dancers with genitals uncovered on stage. Leave that to nightclubs.

I was thinking more of the "morning after" scene, all passion spent, where it would be realistic for them not to be dressed.

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Sorry, I need to rephrase. :blush: In asking about a ban, I was thinking of the traditional theaters in the USA that normally hold ballet performances. Somehow or other, it was my understanding that most if not all currently do not allow nudity in performances at their theaters.

However, in thinking about this, I also realized that Pilobolus is still going strong; I assume that they still present works in the USA with nude dancers? I've only seen their children's performances in the last couple of years.

And what about the musical "Hair"? Is that still being performed in the USA currently, and if so, is there still the famous nude scene?

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I have seen two modern productions in a fairly conservative region of Canada this year and both have had above the waist female nudity. One was Margie Gillis who has been dancing professionally for 35 years (I am still not sure what I think about that performance). The other was Wen Wei and I thought it was very effective and well done.

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I had seen Hair on Bway in the late 1960's as a teenager and was unfazed, or tried to act very sophisticated and acted unfazed with the nudity. In general, nudity in plays or movies, if it relates to the plot is fine. However, in dance???? It only serves as a distraction. I also find it distracting when a man is dancing only in a dance belt. There are certain body parts that I am not interested in seeing doing a pirouette.

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And, I dare not to say, what about the problem of the male getting hard on stage in the nude...impossible. And if he didn't get hard in an erotic situation while playing a passionate lover you would also think it unnatural. So with convincing evidence it is totally inept to have dancers with genitals uncovered on stage. Leave that to nightclubs.

I was thinking more of the "morning after" scene, all passion spent, where it would be realistic for them not to be dressed.

I know what you mean, but they don't just wake up with a little petting, the do another love PDD! I agree it looks strange both of them lieing in bed fully dressed after their wedding night. Indeed I didn't see one shirtless Romeo in any of the famous choreographies. So take his shirt off and give him fleshtone tights, some kind of semitransparent thin night gown for her, that's enough for phantasy, and remember he has to leave hearing the lark. Just redressing the shirt is enough.

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And, I dare not to say, what about the problem of the male getting hard on stage in the nude...impossible. And if he didn't get hard in an erotic situation while playing a passionate lover you would also think it unnatural. So with convincing evidence it is totally inept to have dancers with genitals uncovered on stage. Leave that to nightclubs.

I was thinking more of the "morning after" scene, all passion spent, where it would be realistic for them not to be dressed.

I know what you mean, but they don't just wake up with a little petting, the do another love PDD! I agree it looks strange both of them lieing in bed fully dressed after their wedding night. Indeed I didn't see one shirtless Romeo in any of the famous choreographies. So take his shirt off and give him fleshtone tights, some kind of semitransparent thin night gown for her, that's enough for phantasy, and remember he has to leave hearing the lark. Just redressing the shirt is enough.

Maybe a look at a sister art is in order here. Any reports on contemporary stage productions of the play? (I've never seen it performed live!) The theater is often less squeamish about nudity than ballet. Also, I wonder what Mark Morris will do in re nudity?

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There are certain body parts that I am not interested in seeing doing a pirouette.

Well, I would say that about some dancers' arms!

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I wonder what Mark Morris will do in re nudity?
Great question. Morris seems to me to be one of the most thoughtful and articulate people in the dance world, especially about aesthetic issues. It would be interesting to read his take on this topic.

Does anyone know whether Morris has spoken about it -- and, if so, what he said?

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I wonder what Mark Morris will do in re nudity?
Great question. Morris seems to me to be one of the most thoughtful and articulate people in the dance world, especially about aesthetic issues. It would be interesting to read his take on this topic.

Does anyone know whether Morris has spoken about it -- and, if so, what he said?

I meant I wonder what he will do with nudity in his upcoming production of R+J using the Soviet "happy ending."

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I wonder what Mark Morris will do in re nudity?
Great question. Morris seems to me to be one of the most thoughtful and articulate people in the dance world, especially about aesthetic issues. It would be interesting to read his take on this topic.

Does anyone know whether Morris has spoken about it -- and, if so, what he said?

I meant I wonder what he will do with nudity in his upcoming production of R+J using the Soviet "happy ending."

I just hope for the sake of the audience that he goes easy on the butt cheeks.

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And I hope any nude scenes aren't at the end. I mean, who goes grave-robbing nekkid? :)

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In several of the Boston Ballet R&J productions I 've seen over the last 15+ yrs, (there have been versions by 4 different choreographers before BB finally settled this year on Cranko's--hooray!), Romeo was shirtless in the bedroom scene/pdd, and put on a shirt & cloak when he left. Juliet kept her nightie on throughout the scene.

BTW: The Spanish production of "La Gioconda" originally produced at Barcelona's Liceu with choreography by Georghe Iancu and contemporary staging by Pier Luigi Pizzi, which was notable for its principal dancers (Letizia Giuliani/Angel Corella) wearing not much other than gold paint, is now playing at Madrid's Teatro Real. And the reaction has been the same as previously--more ovations and accolades for the dancers and their exemplary technique (physiques?), than for the singers. There are pictures of both performances (the original 2005 in Barcelona, and this month's in Madrid) on the internet, but not sure I could post link.

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I thought that this La Gioconda and its « Dance of the Hours » was also performed at the MET in NY after the Liceu. I know the dancers were the same, Corella and Giuliani but can anyone let me know if it has exactly been the same version as per the opera but mainly per the dance: Choreography, dressing, etc….?

Many thanks!

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In the 80's, North Carolina Dance Theater (under the direction of Sal Aiello) toured with a contemporary piece by Mauricio Wainrot that had the female lead topless for the last 1/4 to a 1/3 of the ballet. It did cause a bit of a problem when performed in Denton, Texas at Texas Women's University because NCDT had failed to inform it's sponsor that there was partial nudity in the piece and, of course, being Texas, there were many young ladies in their Sunday best whose parent's were, rightfully, scandalized. There was a meeting of the artistic staff of NCDT and the univerity the next day, but other than a reprimand and advice to notify future sponsors of the partial nudity it seemed to pass without an undue amount of furor. I doubt that it would pass so quietly in today's somewhat fervent atmosphere. The NCDT dancer at the time was Dana Caspersen who is currently with William Forsythe's company where she performs "Telos" (I probably got the name wrong) completely nude. And a stunningly beautiful body it is!!

NCDT also performed Elise Monte's "White Dragon" which consisted of five dancers - sometimes two women, sometimes not. NCDT never did it topless (all five dancers are costumed alike), but I'm sure Elise's company did it topless. They also had at least one other partially nude ballet.

At the time, it did not phase me one bit or even enter into my mind that it was something one shouldn't do. But I must admit that after having a child of my own, my viewpoint changed - I would want to, at least, be informed prior to the performance (to purchasing tickets) that partial or full nudity was to be involved so that I could decide if I wanted my child to attend.

I'm not really a fan of nudity in dancing or in film for that matter, because not matter what the context, I often find it gratuitous or senstionalist. I feel the artist could have made the same statement without the nudity. But that's just my opinion. I don't mind the nudity, I just don't always see a point for it.

Isn't there supposed to be a revival of Hair on Broadway or at the pPublic Theater this year. I missed the revival last summer at the Delacort.

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I thought that this La Gioconda and its « Dance of the Hours » was also performed at the MET in NY after the Liceu. I know the dancers were the same, Corella and Giuliani but can anyone let me know if it has exactly been the same version as per the opera but mainly per the dance: Choreography, dressing, etc….?

Many thanks!

No Carolina, the production at the MET was choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon and was quite different from Iancu's version for the Verona-Barcelona-Madrid production. For one thing, the dancers were fully clothed; wearing normal ballet costumes: tutus for the women etc., and Wheeldon integrated the corps more. The MET sets were the usual massive affairs; pseudo renaissance architecture, near actual size ship burning, not just a staircase like the Spanish version. If you do a search at the NY Times you should pull up the two articles/reviews they wrote about the MET version, with pictures of Corella & Giuliani performing. There is also a thread on BT about this, where I posted a review after seeing it opening night.

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Thanks so much!!!! :)

I've found the thread, read your review and found the link to NY Times.

I didn't know neither that the same Barcelona and now Madrid version was also performed in Verona.

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:sweatingbullets:

Talk about a rude awakening! :lol:

:flowers: I should think Princess Aurora , would promptly go back to sleep again, at 116 years old, the shock would have been too much for her !!! :blushing:

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The original question posed was:

What do you think? Is nudity always acceptable? Never? Occasionally? Have we seen any and how did we react?

There seems to be a wide range of very interesting comments here but to me they digress into addressing two related but separate questions – Under what conditions, if ever, is nudity acceptable in performance art? And/or: Under what conditions, if ever, is nudity acceptable in classical ballet?

As many others here (but clearly not all), I feel there are certainly conditions under which nudity is acceptable in performance art, perhaps even essential in certain cases. Art is generally supposed to be subversive and provoke thought and reactions. As we see in the comments here, nudity can certainly achieve this. Having said that, I believe nudity can’t make bad art good but it can make good art bad.

I’m less certain, for some of the reasons already stated, about the acceptability of nudity in classical ballet, not because of the potential of offending any prudish sensibilities but rather conflicting with the goals and aesthetics of the art form itself.

As to whether I’ve seen any performances with nudity lately, a couple of years ago I attended a performance of Bocca Tango Maipo with Julio Bocca. The choreography was a fusion of ballet and tango with modern elements by Argentinean Ana María Stekelman who, perhaps not surprisingly, had studied at the Martha Graham School. One of the duets was performed with Cecilia Figaredo, both wearing only black thongs, with the stage lights dimmed. More sensual than erotic, I felt it was very effective in capturing the intensity, mystery, romance, and passion of tango. Advance notice had been given in advertising.

As far as exposing children, I was always far more comfortable explaining nudity and even sexual themes in a tasteful, artistic context than trying to explain the degree of violence they were often unavoidably exposed to from so many other directions.

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Re: trees and shrubs covering Albrecht in Ek's "Giselle". This was just on the video, not on stage. As Estelle added he does dance a bit and I don't think the censors would have gone for the nudity. It's done very well; at times it's only the position of Albrecht's body that hides his nakedness. I didn't realize he was naked until I watched the tape for the 2nd time years after my first viewing.

Giannina

This is puzzling - perhaps there were different stagings of the final scenes for release in different countries. I was just lent a video of Ek's Giselle with Ana Laguna as Giselle. And on this copy Albrecht is totally naked while lying on the stage, rolling on the stage, dancing back to the audience and then standing at the end full frontal towards the audience. At first I thought this was necessary to show his vulnerability. But his vulnerability could have instead been expressed choreographically.

In response to dirac's post... personally I wasn't shocked by nudity. I did find some of the choreography in this Giselle confronting. But the nudity wasn't.

The nudity actually took me out of the ballet because I found it distracting. It is hard to explain but I feel that the power underlying ballet/dance is a universality of expression and my feeling is that nudity brings the expression down to the individual.

It is interesting though that we accept nudity in paintings and sculpture and not in ballet.

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The subject of the article is modern dance ("Mark Morris, on Motifs of Prokofiev") but I can't resist quoting Robert Johnson in Ballet Review, Winter 2008/9 (p. 47),

But the real downside of the nudity is that it makes it harder for the characters to dance.

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