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Lucia Lacarra


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#16 atm711

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Posted 03 February 2002 - 01:50 PM

Thanks, all, for your comments---although I enjoyed Michael 1's wit. Lacarra is dancing in New York at a Gala on Feb 11---my chance!---but, no, the steep prices ($125 top to $65low) have turned me off.

While I welcomed the opinions of Lacarra's dancing, I was surprised that no one commented on the style of the writer's comments. After reading, what I felt was a very biased article, my first reaction was to spring to the defense of this dancer that I had never seen! It seems to me that any ballerina who does not fulfill Mr. Parish's fantasy of what constitutes a ballerina is worthy of the worst kind of bashing.

.

[ February 03, 2002: Message edited by: atm711 ]



#17 Manhattnik

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Posted 03 February 2002 - 08:02 PM

Fifth-ring tickets for the gala are $20, but I'm sure they're all gone. Standing-room is $20, on the day of the performance. The orchestra tends to have many, many empty seats. Go figure.

#18 katharine kanter

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Posted 04 February 2002 - 05:14 AM

I think one way to understand the point Mr. Parish is trying to make is to pull out some reproductions of drawings by Leonardo, or Raphael. Those men, who are not precisely considered to be slaggards in their field, had made an exact study of anatomy. Based on that scientific study, the study of what is possible, they then drew. Their criteria for beauty were based on what is possible, to a normally-constituted human being. (For the purposes of this discussion, I am disregarding other aspects of their work). Classical ballet is a branch of that study. It rejects the extreme, because the extreme is a negation of beauty: manierism, preciosity, the grotesque.

The extreme also happens to be EXTREMELY harmful to the body, as any orthopaedist who has studied the impact on dancers of what currently passes for "technique", will tell you.

One can alway toss that off, and simply say "who cares what harm it does ? Dancers are adults ! No-one's forcing them ! And anyway, I like it ! " But is that sort of reply to a serious problem adequate ? A problem that all "normally-constituted", viz., "not extreme" dancers, have to face at the present time ?

#19 Françoise

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Posted 05 February 2002 - 02:05 PM

I can't understand the different positions against Lucia Lacarra I read on these topic. How can you write Katherine, that she must not be a dancer. It's sure it's not the old physical criteres of dancer, but seeing several time Lucia Lacarra, I was completely charmed by her. smile.gif

I saw Lucia Lacarra for the first time in Angelina's part in Petit's Guepard, she was absolutely pure, charming for the role. Exactly the character. The second time was with the SFB venue, in Prism second movement, she was absolutely wonderful what beautiful arms, beautiful legs, which poetry, which lyrism. I saw two days after in Desdemona part in Lubovitch Othello. I was one time more under her charm. She was really amazing. I saw also her in Rain light and Adagio for strings, and she charmed all the audience of Theâtre des Champs Elysées.

I know, Katharine, that you don't love the physical "à la Guillem", but in the Lacarra's case, she has not the Guillem default redface.gif . She is not proud of her dance, she is not a diva as Guillem.

I can't understand how we can say that she must not be a dancer. It's sure that when you love a dancer like Maurin, you can't love a dancer like Lacarra confused.gif

By the way, I don't understand how you can love so many Elisabeth Maurin who is to my eyes the worst etoile of POB actually with her lack of extension - I don't ask for 6'o clock, be quiet, but a few higher would be welcomed - If she has against a certain style. I must say it was the less good Nikya I saw and I saw every ballerina several times in this part. The lonely role where she could be good again will be perhaps the Parc, where she was wonderful but to not lost my good impression of these last years in these role, I'm pretty sure I won't go to see her, I'm so afraid to be deceipt. And I hope they will invite Lucia Lacarra at Pob when they will programm Swan Lake next season biggrin.gif

#20 katharine kanter

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Posted 06 February 2002 - 04:25 AM

Dr. Carlo Bugatti, medical officer of the Lausanne Competition, is up on their site with the following:


"Reaching peak quality performance in the field of classical dance calls for extremely high physical, technical and artistic attributes. The risk of injury within this quest is relatively low. However, certain dancers might seek to emulate – or be encouraged to emulate – the achievements of dancers with extreme physical capabilities such as exceptional flexibility or flat turn out. Through forcing their bodies to mimic another dancer’s skills, rather than gradually enhancing their own, these dancers run the risk of serious ‘overload’ injuries, with long term consequences to their dancing careers."

I've quoted this, in relation to Mr. Parish's remark about what the rest of SFB might think about having gymnasts in their midst.

Anyway, as for Mlle. Maurin, I have, on several occasions when queuing to buy tickets at the Opera, heard people ahead of me saying: "don't care what day. Just give me every performance in the run when Maurin is on". The woman has something. It can't be her pale little figure, nor can it be the frizzy red hair. Might she perhaps have a certain quality, that we may have forgotten in the rush for TITILLATION ? Might classical ballet perhaps be something less for the eye, and more for the mind ?

Only her hairdresser knows for sure...

Let me be serious, to the extent I can - for decades, we have been wading through an avalanche of choreographic rubbish. Only the exceptionally physically-endowed and spectacularly handsome, whether man or woman, LOOK GOOD wading through rubbish. That should give us pause for thought, as to our priorities I mean.

#21 BW

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Posted 06 February 2002 - 09:45 AM

Although I cannot comment on Lucia Lacarra's abilities, as I have never had the opportunity to see her - nor, sadly, can I afford the performance on 2/11...

However, I would like to applaud the quote from Dr. Carlo Bugatti, medical officer of the Lausanne Competition. Thank you Katharine!

Perhaps this quote would be a jumping off point for another topic altogether? Maybe it already has been? This subject of extreme technique, as opposed to more classical technique, seems to be on everyone's lips these days. Just last week, this very topic came up in a conversation I was having with two professional dancers - both of whom warned of the tolls visited upon the bodies of many of the NYCB dancers who no longer could perform due to hip problems, etc. These are not older people who are getting hip replacements - these are people in their 30s and 40s! eek.gif Fortunately for Ms. Lacarra is sounds as though she won't be one of them. smile.gif

#22 katharine kanter

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Posted 06 February 2002 - 10:16 AM

A gentleman familiar with the ins and outs of a certain major troupe (no, neither NYCB, nor SFB, nor POB)recently raised in my earshot, the case of a certain lovely young woman, endowed with a rigorous classical technique, who apparently got a little tired of playing second fiddle to a row of media-friendly elastic-bands...So she too, decided to squiggle, and wriggle, and over-balance, and stretch and bing and bang, and over-extend, and lo and behold, she has never become a principal, and, more especially, she is longer the dancer she once was.

In response to BW, allow me to "re-post" snippets from the Daily Telgraph of a couple of years back, quoting Amanda McKerrow:

"Over at City Ballet they are doing the same style all the time, trained for what they are doing. Their heels are off the ground so much that their calves suffer. And there have been a lot of hip replacements over there in the past - Suzanne Farrell, Merrill Ashley, Patricia Neary, Edward Vilella . . ."

And Ismene Brown continues:

These are the biggest names in American ballet, and it's daunting evidence of the suffering imposed by the Balanchine style. I asked Wendy Whelan about the reputation Balanchine gained as a fairly brutal taskmaster ...."Mr Balanchine loved women, he loved them to look like models," replied Whelan. "That was part of his presentation and it had a fabulous effect. It was a very feminine thing, and it was very powerful, with those tall Amazon women."

Back to Mr. Parish's apt remark about "imagery", rather than movement. Classical dancing today has become a "look", a branch of still photography. In other words, for much of the public, many artistic directors, and, unfortunately, so many of the dancers themselves, it is no longer about DANCING TO MUSIC, it is about HOW YOU LOOK. Weaning people off this is going to be no easy thing.

#23 Calliope

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Posted 06 February 2002 - 10:44 AM

"The risk of injury within this quest is relatively low."

That statement assumes too much, in my opinion.
I think it's a field of study to new to make strong statements about. It will be interesting to see what the dancers of today have to deal with physically later on.

While there have definitely been injuries to many dancers over the years and replacements, they are still in the lower percentage than those who are healthy.

#24 katharine kanter

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Posted 06 February 2002 - 11:13 AM

There are a number of university-based groups doing serious research on this, amongst them, I'm told, one in New York (Harkness I believe), and Tony Geeves at Queensland University, Australia.

If the ballet world is now persuaded that dancers are athletes, by another name, and that like athletes, they are past their prime, indeed physically worn out, at 25 or 26, fine. Let them leave the stage at 25, when they start to "lose their looks".

If, on the other hand, we believe that these people are dedicated artists, in the same category as musicians, then we've got to try to keep them on stage as long as possible. Because their minds are going to go on improving, for much longer than they are going to look like Robert Redford, or C. Zeta-Jones, or whoever.

This has become a grave problem. "Early" retirement today, means barely out of the artistic cradle.

That is the sole reason why I am opposed to Guillemitis, of which Lacarritis is a twiglet. It is not personal, ladies and gentlemen ! This uproar over hyper-extensions and the rest of the gimmicks, is not just a silly fad, like bright-purple bubble gum to stain kiddies' tongues, or something. It is grinding up people's bodies, and therefore, a stop has got to be put to it, before it puts a stop to our art form.

#25 atm711

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Posted 06 February 2002 - 12:34 PM

It could be a case of:

"Those who can . . . . . Do

"Those who can't . . . . Teach"

The Genie is out of the bottle and I doubt if it will ever be put back in.

#26 atm711

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Posted 06 February 2002 - 12:35 PM

It could be a case of:

"Those who can . . . . . Do

"Those who can't . . . . Teach"

The Genie is out of the bottle and I doubt if it will ever be put back in.

#27 Alexandra

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Posted 06 February 2002 - 01:09 PM

Well, since dance teachers are all dancers....

The genie can go back in the bottle; it has in the past. There's a tension throughout history between Extreme Technique periods and Moderation periods. I think it's obvious why; there's only so far the human body can stretch.

Unfortunately (as far as I'm concerned) when the pendulum does swing back, it really swings, and there is generally an extreme anti-extreme period, if you will, where dance is almost anti-dance with minimal movement. That doesn't last long and moves fairly quickly into the Moderation period where there's more attention to quality than quantity before stretching and spinning to Extremes again.

#28 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 06 February 2002 - 05:25 PM

I haven't seen Lacarra dance ever, so I don't have any opinion about her. Now, extension and line is not artistry, but it also not a barrier to it. I'd have to say that at this point, there's a minimum cut-off for it, just as there is for technique. A professional dancer needs to be able to do at least a double pirouette on stage all the time. His or her feet can't sickle. A man has to be able to do a double tour. And both male and female dancers need extension (for the woman, at least to shoulder level to the side, and above 90 to the back.)

What I've named is not the average for a dancer. It's well below it. It's what's required to do repertory, unless we intend to delete all ballets made after 1925. I think Elisabeth Maurin was a lovely dancer, and the best Aurora I saw at POB. But I don't think Maria Kowroski is a danger to the artform because her arabesque is high, or her penchee goes beyond six o'clock. Perhaps we need to be open to the fact that both of there is repertory out there for both of these dancers, and as Parrish noted even in his partisanship, there is a repertory for Ms. Lacarra as well.

#29 gigi

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Posted 06 February 2002 - 08:06 PM

I have seen Lacarra in SF, New York and London.

Has anyone else seen her full-length Odette/Odile? I thought her Act II pdd at City Center (1998) was lovely, but when I saw her at Sadler's Wells (1999) in the full-length piece, I was greatly distressed by the performace she gave.

First of all, I agree with Parish, Lacarra's Odette was a seductress on par with Odile. Out of context (ie a pas in a gala), this didn't bother me. However, someone needs to tell her Swan Lake is not merely a graphic exhibition of capabilities of the female body.

Secondly, I found it distressing that Lacarra's stamina lasted about 10 minutes (particularly after paying 50 pounds for my ticket). For the remainder of the ballet (read: another hour and a half), she was visibly out of breath, unable to control her limbs or dramatic mission. Fouettes in the third act were skipped, and some sultry poses attitude were substituted (I don't insist on fouettes, but a different alternative would have been more appropriate). Artistically, I felt her portrayal had no heart, no strength (physical or emotional) and no magic. I have seen several other ballerinas struggle with the technical aspects of this role (ie Veronika Part), but still present a invigorating dramatic interpretation of the story.

Subsequent performances I have seen her in (Raymonda, L'Arlesienne) struck me as similarly vapid.

I believe Lacarra's photographic beauty and her work in other short ballet (like The Cage) will always make her a leading lady. In my mind, however, she is not a ballerina.

And yes, I do feel sorry for the corps she dances with...compared to her, anyone looks heavy and artless.

#30 Françoise

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Posted 07 February 2002 - 02:24 AM

Best Aurora in Paris is not Elisabeth Maurin but Aurélie Dupont, she has not high extension as Lucia Lacarra, but she is charming, amazing with her balance.
Elisabeth Maurin is perhaps a good dancer but at this moment, when it's her name which is previous, almost of the waiting person in queing go away or said "I go to performance because I promise to take place for friend, but if it was for me I don't go". Sad end of career. One more year and she will retire.
But it's not the subject really.

I don't see Lacarra's swan Lake, and I hope they will invite her next year to the reprise in POB. I'm surprised to see so many bad critic about Lucia Lacarra. It's true that I don't see her in long classical part, but when she danced Othello, it's a long role, she was perfect, playing, dancing.

Concerning high extension, I think you could again dance classical ballet with long lambs why not, it's true that the six'o clock "à la Guillem" are not "pretty" but you can raise high your leg and stay classical.

[ February 07, 2002: Message edited by: Françoise ]




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