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Naked or not?Nudity in ballet and other dance forms


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#61 bart

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Posted 03 February 2007 - 06:11 AM

I was intrigued by the page dedicated to Muz's version of the Stravinsky "Rite of Spring." A rock transcription of the score -- and, you will note, no nudity (at least in the photos given here).

With the love and lust typical of spring, burlesque star and performance artist Julie Atlas Muz restaged Stravinsky’s Modernist Masterpiece, The Rite of Spring as a fierce dance epic inspired by the life and death of Jon Benet Ramsey. The music was played live by Chicago's ButcherShop Quartet, the only rock band to transpose Stravinsky's orchestral masterpiece to two guitars, a bass and drums while retaining compositional integrity

http://www.julieatla...om/spring.shtml

If it came to my town, I'd certainly give it a shot.

#62 SanderO

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Posted 03 February 2007 - 06:41 AM

There was some nudity at the end of the online video clip where several dancers are upside down... with their full skirts covering their upper body and their legs spread wide apart exposing their naked genitalia facing skyward ( I believe some were men in drag... but the clip is quite small)... in an almost obscene/provocative and "suggestive" manner.

Having seen that clip... I wouldn't waste my time in going to a performance... I saw enough.

#63 papeetepatrick

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Posted 03 February 2007 - 10:10 AM

So, in my way of seeing dance, I like to see the beauty of the human form.. not hidden by bulky costuming, but neither reduced to pure naked forms in motion. I find unitards work better than nudity because I don't know that exposed genitalia contribute to form or movement... that is, unless the dance is literally about sex. If it were, exposing genitals would make sense.


If there are any, I'd like to see some of these dances about sex, of which I am a big fan, but not any ballets, including contemporary, that I can think of. I also like to see the beauty of the human form 'hidden by bulky costuming' as in the last act of 'Sleeping Beauty' when all the court and fairy tale people march in; the Bluebirds near nudity make a nice contrast to all the big costumes, which look good on, say, Elizabeth McGorian.

Naked makes sense in the shower or the bed... no?


Not necessarily, and it does make sense in myriad other situations. Maybe you have 'seen enough of it in your lifetime', but I haven't and I want to see a lot more. There is always the possibility of eroticism, and there are many contexts in which only the totally nude will do. It just never is ballet, classical or contemporary, as far as I'm concerned. I don't want to see any at all there.

The music was played live by Chicago's ButcherShop Quartet, the only rock band to transpose Stravinsky's orchestral masterpiece to two guitars, a bass and drums while retaining compositional integrity
http://www.julieatla...om/spring.shtml


That quote from Bart's link interested me, because there is little reason to believe it's anything but publicity. I neither believe nor disbelieve a word of such a claim of 'retaining compositional integrity' while reducing Stravinsky. In addition, it makes it sound as though this particular use of a few instruments was commonplace. Part of my bias about this kind of thing is that I am an absolute diehard fan, literally a worshipper of Duke Ellington, but he did do one thing I utterly abhor: That arrangement of 'The Nutcracker Suite', which I just cannot stand. I'd even rather hear Karoui.

However, if someone would choose to use 'Le Sacre du Printemps' in a piece about Jon-Benet Ramsey, which defies credulity as far as I'm concerned, I do suppose it didn't need to recall images of Nijinsky. Better for it to be completely concealed in some little rock piece.

I would imagine that some of Julie Atlas Muz's may be able to use nudity, although if there is any in the Jon-Benet piece, I don't think I'd like it. It seems from the website that the nudity is the point. I cannot see how that would work in the case of little Miss Ramsey, because it short-circuits from the tragedy. Her story is not just another 'Naked Lady' story.

#64 dirac

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 11:08 AM


Naked makes sense in the shower or the bed... no?


Not necessarily, and it does make sense in myriad other situations. Maybe you have 'seen enough of it in your lifetime', but I haven't and I want to see a lot more. There is always the possibility of eroticism, and there are many contexts in which only the totally nude will do. It just never is ballet, classical or contemporary, as far as I'm concerned. I don't want to see any at all there.


Agreed.

#65 volcanohunter

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 08:54 PM

I come from a background of modern dance, so I've seen lots of nudity on stage. (I've never performed in the nude myself. The closest I came to that was while wearing a translucent white dress.) Personally, I never want to see a naked dancer on stage again. This really hit home a couple of years ago when I went to see a piece by Daniel Léveillé with the decidedly unsubtle title Amour, acide et noix. Léveillé has an obsession with the naked body, as his web site boasts, and knowing that I would spend the entire evening staring at four naked dancers, I made a point of sitting in the back row, which still wasn't far enough from the stage. I ask you, when a nude female dancer stands downstage centre, turns her back to the audience, bends forward to put her hands on the floor and then holds that position for a good two minutes, is any sort of aesthetic purpose being served? I'm still hoping some neurologist will come up with a way of blotting the memory of that piece from of my mind. For those who are interested in getting some idea of what Amour, acide et noix is like, here's a link to a video clip:

Amour, acide et noix

#66 benvolio90

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 01:31 AM

In Germany and in Europe generally nude dancing has become almost the norm in contemporary dance (and sometimes too in classical ballets)- you will have a hard time finding a contemporary ballet without any nudity.
In some european ballet companies it already has gotten that far that a dancer has to sign a policy in his contract that he has to dance in the nude if the choreograper or the costume department demand that! Ughhhhh..... :) :mellow:

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. With the rest what is the problem? A dancer is used to reveal his body, and barechested males is the norm in ballet at least in modern dance. I don't see an esthetical or moral problem.

#67 bart

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 11:17 AM

Thnks, benvolio90, for bringing back this thread. You gave me the opportunity to re-read the posts. There's lots of interesting stuff here.

For those who missed the thread originally, or anyone who's had new thoughts on this topic: what do you think about the original question?

Here's the post with which dirac opened the discussion back in September of 2005:

This fairly long article by Sharon Verghis for the Sydney Morning Herald is an overview of the current debate over nudity and ballet, and I thought it would be interesting to canvass our posters for opinions on the matter. Here's the link:


Out of step over shock of the nude

This topic has come up before, but I thought it might be time to bring it up again for some fresh perspectives, assuming we have any. What do you think? Is nudity always acceptable? Never? Occasionally? Verghis cites some recent examples by contemporary choreographers; have you seen any, and how did you react?



#68 carbro

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 01:06 PM

The original link still opens the article:
http://www.smh.com.a...l?oneclick=true

#69 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 09:25 PM

I'm still hoping some neurologist will come up with a way of blotting the memory of that piece from of my mind.

:clapping:

#70 Estelle

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 12:36 AM

Welcome, Benvolio !

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...)

#71 vagansmom

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 09:20 AM

Am I right that there's a ban on nudity in dance performance in the USA right now?

#72 Ray

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 10:45 AM

Am I right that there's a ban on nudity in dance performance in the USA right now?


How, pray tell, would such a national ban be enforced? By the FBI?
Many localities have specific laws aimed at "exotic" dancing; I imagine some have even more restrictive laws that are applied to concert dance as well. But to my knowledge there's no federal law about this--wouldn't it violate the First Amendment?

#73 bart

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 01:39 PM

Many localities have specific laws aimed at "exotic" dancing; I imagine some have even more restrictive laws that are applied to concert dance as well. But to my knowledge there's no federal law about this--wouldn't it violate the First Amendment?

You're right that this is an area left to the states (and, by extension, to local governments). These cases often end up in federal courts because of the claim that the states have violated rights protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Googling turned up a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1991 -- Barnes v. Glen Theatre, Inc. -- which upheld the Indiana "public indecency" law in a case involving totally nude dancing in a bar setting. In other words, in cases similar to the Indiana case, totally nude dancing is NOT a form of "expressive conduct" protected by the first Amendment. As a result of this decision, the Indiana "public indecency" law -- as well as similar state laws -- is constitutional.

How this would apply to nude dancing in a non-alcoholic setting, especially by a company with a track record of legitimate artistic pursuits, I don't know.

Does anyone have any knowledge of the situation in "resepectable" dance?

Here's a brief summary of the case, minus the arguments of the 4 dissenting justices: http://www.law.corne...l/90-26.ZS.html

#74 Mel Johnson

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 05:14 PM

Part and parcel of this case is that it touches on conduct in a place in which a primary attraction is the drinking of alcoholic beverages. When Prohibition was repealed, the 22nd Amendment was very careful to establish states' rights in the area of alcohol control, and in many states, nude or demi-nude performances in barrooms is illegal not by the artistic content of the dancing, but simply because it takes place in a place where alcoholic beverages are consumed. In many states, "local option" holds sway, and there may be entirely "dry" counties right next to ones where alcohol is freely available. In Orange County, New York, where I live, for instance, the strongest thing you can get at a "strip club" is a V-8. I wish that the Court's opinion had visited that provision of modern alcohol control, as its opening paragraphs seemed to suggest, but the subject is still not one that the Supreme Court would care to get into, even as late as 1991. Dissent seemed to edge toward it, then backed hurriedly away, as commenting upon nude dancing in Lincoln Center - there's a bar in the Concourse level, after all. In New York State, most of the enforcement in strip clubs comes from the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, and local police.

#75 kfw

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 07:08 PM

lIn Orange County, New York, where I live, for instance, the strongest thing you can get at a "strip club" is a V-8.

"Spicy hot with a zesty kick" or . . . well, never mind. :clapping:

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. And yet still, to answer dirac's question which begun this thread (have you seen any, and how did you react?), it was distracting. A beautiful face is distracting enough. Genitals can't dance.


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