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Naked or not?Nudity in ballet and other dance forms


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#31 Mashinka

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Posted 19 September 2005 - 07:02 AM

Klingsor's post reminded me that many years ago I too saw The Royal Danes in The Triumph of Death.

At the performance I saw, Flemming Flindt the choreographer of the piece, also stripped off, which made the concept of nudity in the work more acceptable to me as he clearly wasn't expecting his dancers to do something he wasn't prepared to do himself.

#32 koshka

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Posted 19 September 2005 - 07:19 AM

...and David does not have to stand in 5th position or jump.

Nudity might work for a dramatic role, but for much of classical ballet, it is simply impractical.

#33 Hans

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Posted 19 September 2005 - 10:39 AM

I was watching Romeo and Juliet today and thought about how the dancers might get dressed after the bedroom scene. Do we really want to watch Romeo "adjusting himself" as he puts his dancebelt back on, and are we prepared to sit through Juliet (once she has her tights on) fumbling with her various "ouch pouches," toe spacers, band-aids, tape, wadded-up paper towels, and ribbons as she prepares for an acrobatic pas de deux?

And if they're going to put on their clothes, why not have them put their stage makeup back on as well? Don't want to get foundation on Juliet's bed linens, after all. What, the sight of Romeo and Juliet applying their eyeliner and lipstick together isn't appealing? :)

#34 carbro

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Posted 19 September 2005 - 04:43 PM

How would the Trocks deal with nudity??? :)

#35 klingsor

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Posted 20 September 2005 - 03:25 AM

How would the Trocks deal with nudity???  :)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


The Awakening Scene in "Sleeping Beauty".

Our hero is a bit thick and instead of kissing her, he drops his pants, etc.

#36 Hans

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Posted 20 September 2005 - 10:30 AM

Talk about a rude awakening! :)

#37 Dr. Coppelius

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Posted 21 September 2005 - 03:07 AM

An exception might be if the dance or scene is in some sense "about" the state of being unclothed:  as possibly in Salome's dance.

I have seen Vivi Flindt dance naked in Salome, and I think that it was quite unnecessary and distracting and it took the focus from the dancing.
And nowadays most ballerinas really don´t have beautiful bodies (with the exception of Marguerite Empey :P ).

#38 Anthony_NYC

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Posted 22 September 2005 - 06:17 PM

I think the difference is that a marble sculpture isn't actually a person--it's just carved marble, and in sculpture, form is generally idealized.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Exactly. And all of David's body parts do exactly what Michelangelo had in mind. Whereas even the greatest dancer in the world doesn't have absolute control over...

It may say more about me than about dance, but when there is nudity on stage I find it hard to pay full attention to anything else.

#39 violet

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Posted 28 September 2005 - 06:23 PM

Really, I find the idea of dancing naked pretty repulsive.

The fact that the dancers are naked pretty much distracts from whatever the dance is trying to express, unless, of course, the dance is about sex.

#40 dirac

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Posted 30 September 2005 - 01:46 PM

I'm inclined to agree, violet, but even when sex is the text or subtext, the stray breast hanging out can be a major distraction from the choreography. :excl:

#41 oberon

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Posted 30 September 2005 - 06:29 PM

I am about the furthest thing from a prude you could imagine, but I do not like nudity onstage in ballet/opera/theatre. It is simply too distracting. In fact, I don't really like it in movies either.

#42 dirac

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Posted 03 October 2005 - 12:42 PM

I have a slightly different take when it comes to nudity in media that don’t involve performers live. Although we do see far too much of it, especially where women are concerned (I turned off HBO’s “Rome” after two episodes, and the absurdly gratuitous nudity was one of the reasons), I think candor is preferable to some of the evasions we used to see and occasionally still do (e.g., an actress in bed with a sheet wrapped tightly around her torso, as if modesty forbade exposure in front of the husband/lover with whom she’s just spent a torrid night in bed, etc.).


There are still some examples of prudery about. Returning to HBO, since I’ve pulled the network in from left field, there were some very odd scenes in the old series “Sex and the City.” Because several of the actresses had objections to going topless, although not apparently to fairly graphic simulations of various sex acts, there were lots of scenes that involved heavy breathing activity in bed – with bras firmly in place no matter what. A friend of mine commented, “I guess men in New York don’t like breasts.” I thought more than once it would have been better simply to restage the scene, because it did look rather silly.

#43 kfw

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Posted 03 October 2005 - 04:44 PM

There are still some examples of prudery about.  Returning to HBO, since I’ve pulled the network in from left field, there were some very odd scenes in the old series “Sex and the City.”  Because several of the actresses had objections to going topless, although not apparently to fairly graphic simulations of various sex acts, there were lots of scenes that involved heavy breathing activity in bed – with bras firmly in place no matter what.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Thanks for the laugh. But you know, a woman acting out a graphic sex scene is still acting, not showing us her true self. I'm going to guess that when you wrote "prudery" all you really meant was something like "old-fashioned reticence." :) It seems to me that a woman who chooses not to bare her body to strangers isn't a prude, but is simply doing what's right for her. Nowadays we're told to accept edgy depictions of sexuality without judgment. Modesty deserves the same respect.

#44 dirac

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Posted 03 October 2005 - 05:29 PM

I see your point, but. :) I don't think it makes those performers willing to bare themselves under the appropriate circumstances "immodest" or exhibitionistic. My point, to clarify, was not that actors should feel obligated to strip, but that the scenes should be shot more plausibly if they're not willing to do that. ( In the case of SATC or any HBO series, that might present a problem, of course, since the unspoken promise of HBO series, even the quality ones with the Complex Narrative Structure and the Fine Writing, is "More sex! More violence! More nudity than the networks can show! That's the HBO guarantee!'' But I digress. )

As a Board Moderator, I rebuke myself for wandering so far afield.

#45 kfw

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Posted 03 October 2005 - 06:26 PM

I don't think it makes those performers willing to bare themselves under the appropriate circumstances "immodest" or exhibitionistic.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Agreed. :)


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