Jump to content


Nureyev and Demi-Pointe


  • Please log in to reply
40 replies to this topic

#31 aurora

aurora

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 676 posts

Posted 29 August 2007 - 03:41 PM

I have to say that having recently come out of the ABT Spring Season and watching the simply amazing footwork of David Hallberg, it was nothing short of glaring to see Eagling's pirouettes done on a very very low demi point. I sort of assumed Hallberg is blessed with a naturally high instep that most men don't possess - lucky for us in the audience that love to watch him.


Well not that this negates your greater point, but Hallberg *does* indeed have extraordinary feet.

So many male dancers (especially historically, but still true I think today) do not have feet that are nearly as good as their female counterparts.

Hallberg has feet most female dancers can envy.

#32 Hans

Hans

    Sapphire Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,104 posts

Posted 29 August 2007 - 04:19 PM

The simple explanation is that women have to have a certain amount of flexibility in the feet and ankles to be able to dance en pointe.

#33 carbro

carbro

    Late Board Registrar

  • Rest in Peace
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,361 posts

Posted 29 August 2007 - 04:52 PM

I sort of assumed Hallberg is blessed with a naturally high instep that most men don't possess - lucky for us in the audience that love to watch him.

Less to do with the instep, actually, than the flexibility around the ball of the foot -- allowing the toes to flex back against the floor -- and also the ankle, to adjust for the realignment.

#34 zerbinetta

zerbinetta

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 680 posts

Posted 29 August 2007 - 06:28 PM

Hallberg's feet were not always wonderful. If you flash back to his corps days you will see how hard he has worked on the foot/ankle area, in addition to every other element of his dancing.

#35 vrsfanatic

vrsfanatic

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 673 posts

Posted 29 August 2007 - 06:57 PM

Mr. Hallberg has always had incredible physical facility, including his feet. Did he need time to gain strength as a professional performer and gain strength technically, definitely! He was/is an extraordinary American talent who has had an advantage of meticulous training. Experience can only make a talented and well trained dancer better. :bow:

#36 aurora

aurora

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 676 posts

Posted 29 August 2007 - 08:38 PM

Hallberg's feet were not always wonderful. If you flash back to his corps days you will see how hard he has worked on the foot/ankle area, in addition to every other element of his dancing.


I'm both of a mind to agree and disagree.

One of the things I like and admire about Hallberg is how serious and dedicated and hard working he is. He is always working on improving himself and its wonderful to watch.

That said, while he may not have been WORKING his feet as well in his earlier days (and thus they were not "wonderful"), as someone born with mediocre feet who was never able, no matter how hard I worked to improve them to any appreciable extent, you don't get feet like that from work--the articulation? yes. The facility? no.

#37 Hans

Hans

    Sapphire Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,104 posts

Posted 30 August 2007 - 01:45 PM

...you don't get feet like that from work--the articulation? yes. The facility? no.

Exactly.

I also think there is a tendency in ballet to focus more on the use of beautiful feet. Some teachers and directors will pay a great deal of attention to dancers with lovely arches and insteps, constantly teaching and encouraging them to use their feet better, and I think that some dancers think to themselves, however unconsciously, "well, my feet aren't that great so it doesn't really matter that much how I use them," or "my arches are high, so everyone's going to be looking at my feet--I'd better use them really well." Everyone needs to use his/her feet well, as it enhances the beauty of the naturally beautiful foot and makes mediocre feet shine.

#38 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 30 August 2007 - 02:17 PM

Fascinating discussion. How does Nureyev fit into the quality spectrum on feet? I'm not thinking so much of his releve, which we've discussed, but his use of feet in retire, whilel jumping, etc. One aspect of his dancing that was very noticeable in the PBS documentary was the great improvement in this area from 1958 (when he had been at the Kirov school ... what? only 2-3 years?) to his stage performances in Paris in 1961.

#39 Arizona Native

Arizona Native

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 95 posts

Posted 31 August 2007 - 09:39 PM

Back to David Hallberg -- he began as a tap dancer and was pursuaded to take ballet. In addition to lovely basic anatomy, the tap very likely helped with the flexibility. In fact, the reason given for not wanting serious ballet students to continue with tap is that it makes the ankles "too flexible." There used to be a photo of Mr. Hallberg on the website of this high school, Arizona School for the Arts: in it, one foot is gloriously pointed. It is not clear from looking at the photo whether he was still a student, at that point, or whether the photo was from his early professional days.

#40 Mel Johnson

Mel Johnson

    Diamonds Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,311 posts

Posted 01 September 2007 - 05:28 AM

The problem with tap is not that it makes the ankles flexible, but that it can habituate the student to use the flexibility but not the strength to point the feet fully, especially in petit allegro.

Nureyev's feet showed that he had worked and worked them in order to make them into the devices that they became. His basic foot was a good foot, but nothing exceptional. What he made them WAS what was exceptional. From the information on the recent PBS broadcast, I'd have to say that Bruhn came first in the three-quarter pointe use, then Nureyev followed his lead.

#41 Arizona Native

Arizona Native

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 95 posts

Posted 01 September 2007 - 12:10 PM

Thanks Major Mel! Very interesting, as usual.


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):