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Beautifully Proportioned Male Dancers


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#1 carbro

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Posted 25 August 2007 - 04:10 PM

As to the high demi pointe, he was aware that his legs were short so it could be that he wanted to give the impression that they were longer than in fact they were.

Well, that's very funny, because IMO, Nureyev had perhaps the most beautifully proportioned male body I've seen on a ballet stage.

#2 dirac

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Posted 27 August 2007 - 04:01 PM

sandik writes on the original thread:

Start tangential rant

Don't get me started -- my local PBS station (KCTS, for those who live in the area) did not show the Morris/Mozart Live from Lincoln Center program, and when I called to ask when they might be broadcasting it, was told that they would not. This in Mark Morris' home town.


I know how you feel -- we didn't see it here in Northern California either, not yet anyway. I haven't checked my local listings yet, but if the Nureyev movie isn't broadcast, I plan to organize a revolt and storm my local PBS station like the Bastille.

As to the high demi pointe, he was aware that his legs were short so it could be that he wanted to give the impression that they were longer than in fact they were.

Well, that's very funny, because IMO, Nureyev had perhaps the most beautifully proportioned male body I've seen on a ballet stage.


From what Iíve read, Nureyev did regard his legs as being on the short side and worked exceptionally hard to stretch his line for that reason. In photographs the torso does look longer than is fashionable. I agree, he looks fabulous from any angle. Sigh.

#3 papeetepatrick

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Posted 27 August 2007 - 04:20 PM

Well, that's very funny, because IMO, Nureyev had perhaps the most beautifully proportioned male body I've seen on a ballet stage.


Can you (and/or anyone else who may feel the same way) be specific why this would be so? perhaps as compared to some other names I'd recognize like Peter Martins, Baryshnikov, Soloviev, Patrick Bissell, Marcelo Gomes, Peter Schaufuss, and some of the ones already discussed. I don't doubt it, but my amateur eye would have thought he had the most charismatic body I'd seen in some sensual sense (including the dancing), but you must mean something technical along the lines of much else that is being discussed here when you talk about the 'beautiful proportions'. Againk I have no reason to doubt it's true, but it's not something that would have automatically occurred to me (nor necessarily should have, of course). To take one of the more extreme examples, there's that old video of 'Swan Lake' in which he and everybody else is rather tarted up, so that sometimes costuming could make him look peasant-ish, which is all right, but not usually a matter of perfect proportion. His voluptousness has a feminine component that is very attractive, but that I wouldn't have thought would make him the candidate for most beautifully proportioned body. I would have thought several other types, but with Nureyev the most unique and exciting in other ways--so please, do tell and explain.

#4 bart

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Posted 27 August 2007 - 05:48 PM

Our local paper carried an article about the Nureyev documentary. A performance photo illustrating this article shows Nureyev (most likely pre-defection) in one of the most recognizable poses of the slave in Corsaire. His feet are in ffith in very high releve. His torso strains upward. His right arm is stretched in high fifth. The illusion of very long legs is enhanced by the releve and the high waist of what I guess you would call his harem pants.

The video of his 1958 student performance with Sizova shows the same costume, a less developed torso and arms (he's a gangling young adolescent, really), and nothing special in the way of releve. The legs seem to be in proportion to the rest of his body. But when I froze the image at several points, there was none of the lift that is so thrilling in the later photo.,

This suggests that he may indeed have worked, suring his time in the Soviet Union, on creating an illusion of elongation in general, and longer legs in particular.

#5 aurora

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Posted 27 August 2007 - 06:19 PM

Well, that's very funny, because IMO, Nureyev had perhaps the most beautifully proportioned male body I've seen on a ballet stage.


Can you (and/or anyone else who may feel the same way) be specific why this would be so? perhaps as compared to some other names I'd recognize like Peter Martins, Baryshnikov, Soloviev, Patrick Bissell, Marcelo Gomes, Peter Schaufuss, and some of the ones already discussed. I don't doubt it, but my amateur eye would have thought he had the most charismatic body I'd seen in some sensual sense (including the dancing), but you must mean something technical along the lines of much else that is being discussed here when you talk about the 'beautiful proportions'. Againk I have no reason to doubt it's true, but it's not something that would have automatically occurred to me (nor necessarily should have, of course). To take one of the more extreme examples, there's that old video of 'Swan Lake' in which he and everybody else is rather tarted up, so that sometimes costuming could make him look peasant-ish, which is all right, but not usually a matter of perfect proportion. His voluptousness has a feminine component that is very attractive, but that I wouldn't have thought would make him the candidate for most beautifully proportioned body. I would have thought several other types, but with Nureyev the most unique and exciting in other ways--so please, do tell and explain.


Could we make a new topic out of this (ballet dancers with the most perfectly proportioned bodies and why)?

its an interesting topic and seems to deserve a separate thread

#6 Helene

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Posted 27 August 2007 - 09:19 PM

Here's the thread! It branched off from the Nureyev and Demi-Pointe discussion.

Enjoy!

#7 Alexandra

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Posted 27 August 2007 - 09:54 PM

Thank you, Helene!

And I'll put in a vote for Anthony Dowell.

#8 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 28 August 2007 - 05:40 AM

Burton Taylor! At least that's how I remember him.

#9 Juliet

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Posted 28 August 2007 - 06:47 AM

Anthony Dowell.
Vladimir Malakhov.
Igor Zelensky.
Henning Kronstam--almost forgot!!!!!!

I am certain there are more.

#10 Hans

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Posted 28 August 2007 - 07:06 AM

What do people think of Erik Bruhn and Henning Kronstam as far as proportions go?

#11 Helene

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Posted 28 August 2007 - 07:08 AM

Out at PNB, Lucien Postlewaite.

#12 rg

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Posted 28 August 2007 - 07:13 AM

i'd venture that the reason so many viewers saw nureyev as a finely, nearly-ideally proportioned dancer is b/c he worked so decidedly to adjust his actual proportions: short, fitted jackets to minimize the length of his torso and thus contrast with lower body, making it seem longer; the 'high-demi' characteristics of his footwork also helped accentuate the adjusted effect he was after.

#13 Ostrich

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Posted 28 August 2007 - 08:13 AM

Personally I have neve seen a more perfectly proportioned body for ballet than Nikolai Tsiskaridze's. Talk about a high demi-pointe...

#14 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 28 August 2007 - 08:24 AM

oh, i think he's beautifully suited for dancing but always thought he was out of proportion in the sense of his appearing so long-limbed. understand i don't mean out of proportion in the sense of ungainly or ugly, but just appearing longer limbed. does that make sense?

#15 Alexandra

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Posted 28 August 2007 - 09:01 AM

What do people think of Erik Bruhn and Henning Kronstam as far as proportions go?


Why thank you, Hans :) I missed Bruhn as a classical dancer, but he was always described as "perfectly proportioned." (He thought his legs were too skinny, I've been told.)

Kronstam was a "new" type in his day -- very long legs, long lines. John Martin wrote of him on the Danes' first trip to New York that he was unusual because he "was lyrical without seeming weak." One of his rivals said he was too narrow in the shoulders; Eliot Feld said he was the most perfectly proportioned dancer he'd ever seen, "like a statue by Michaelangelo." So there you go :)

I was going to make the same point rg made about Nureyev controlling the viewer's eye, and making his legs look longer by shortening the jacket. He also wore boots dyed to match his tights, which also lengthened the leg.


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