"Pacific Northwest Ballet: Best Foreign Bodies"An Article by Sandra Kurtz
Posted 02 August 2006 - 10:49 AM
Pacific Northwest Ballet: Best Foreign Bodies
Among the points in the article are:
1. How these men grew up in cultures where male dancers are respected
2. The richness these dancers bring, based on their training
3. The different stage presence they bring, especially, but not exclusively, to the classics
The same could be said for a core of the men who dance for Ballet Arizona. Not every one of these dancers is a technical virtuoso, but there's a bone-deep stage presence and style they bring to their dancing, and an elegance that is rare among US-trained dancers. That adds to the richness of the performance. If they were women, we'd say they add a different perfume.
Posted 02 August 2006 - 11:06 AM
Posted 04 August 2006 - 09:14 AM
It's a very interesting situation right now -- many ballet companies hire from outside the country, but the visa process has become much more difficult over the last couple years, which just adds to the challenges of long-term planning for these ensembles. It's hard to plan repertory when you don't know if you'll be able to cast the ballets you want to add.
Posted 12 August 2006 - 07:26 AM
Posted 12 August 2006 - 10:07 AM
I've seen a number of these dancers in our part of the country, where they often arrive after having had one earlier stop at another US company. Something I notice the degree of stage presence so many of them have: a willingness to use the stage in a confident, proud and even fearless way.
In many cases, this richness comes from artists trained since adolescence in intense, conservatory environments, a kind of schooling hard to find in this country. These dancers arrive with not only exemplary technique and a familiarity with the canonical roles of classical ballet but also a substantial amount of daring, leaving their home countries and native cultures to explore new styles and unfamiliar repertory.
I'm not talking about just having a lot of bravura technique. It has more to do with maintaining a strong concentration while on stage -- remaining "in the role" even when not the center of attention -- investing a great deal into even the simplest movement and gesture. Young US born male dancers may have the technique, but often are lacking -- or inconsistent -- in these other aspects of stage craft. Considering how "show-business-obsessed" our culture is, I wonder why this is so?
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