carbro

Beautifully Proportioned Male Dancers

42 posts in this topic

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.

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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 I’ve 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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Thank you, Helene!

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

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Anthony Dowell.

Vladimir Malakhov.

Igor Zelensky.

Henning Kronstam--almost forgot!!!!!!

I am certain there are more.

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

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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.

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

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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?

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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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David Hallberg.

His legs go on forever. And I'd kill for his feet. He is just so elegant

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It is interesting to read some of these opinions, especially regarding some of the newer, long-limbed types such as Hallberg. I wouldn't normally consider dancers with extremely long legs to be well-proportioned, as I learned that the balletic ideal was to avoid extremes--not that one can't be a ballet dancer with long limbs; Maria Taglioni certainly dispelled that myth back in the 19C, but rather that the ideal is that all parts of the body are in harmony with nothing exaggeratedly long or short. Now the ideal seems to be changing.

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Based on responses in this and a couple of other threads -- "beautiful" and "long-legged" seems to go together today, at least as far as danseurs nobles go. Can one have relatively short-legs in the present aesthetic marketplace and still compete in the elevation, elongation, and nobility games? Is the ideal male ballet following the same path his female counterpart travelled several decades ago? :)

And, while we're at it, will no one say a kind word for those big-thighed, big-buttock, superpower lifters, turners, jumpers, and promenaders the Bolshoi used to turn out in such numbers?

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I think Mikhail Ilyin is beautifully proportioned, come to think of it. As for the older style Bolshoi dancers, I prefer them to the rather spindly-looking men they employ today.

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It is interesting to read some of these opinions, especially regarding some of the newer, long-limbed types such as Hallberg. I wouldn't normally consider dancers with extremely long legs to be well-proportioned, as I learned that the balletic ideal was to avoid extremes--not that one can't be a ballet dancer with long limbs; Maria Taglioni certainly dispelled that myth back in the 19C, but rather that the ideal is that all parts of the body are in harmony with nothing exaggeratedly long or short. Now the ideal seems to be changing.

Yes, it is a change, isn't it? rg mentioned Nureyev's shortening of the jacket to make his legs longer. In contrast, here were long-legged dancers who lengthened the jacket so that the legs weren't "extreme," as Hans noted above.

Small people can be perfectly proportioned, too, of course. Niels Kehlet, a tiny Dane who could jump about four times his height, was beautifully made :)

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Marcelo Gomes!
Yeah.

Well. Not much to add to that! :)

I don't find the long legged versions so beautiful, as men, or as dancers. But with the taller and leggier women in such favor, we need partners whose body types are harmonious. I will not dispute that Hallberg's long legs and gorgeous feet are an important part of the "Born a prince!" quality we all rejoiced at when we first saw him.

I think the ideal of an attenuated line is a feminine attribute -- not necessarily effeminate, but something I value in my women dancers much, much more than I do in men. I think the Ethan Stiefels of the world, with their sky-high extensions and long, thin legs are blurring the difference between the sexes.

I also think a beautiful male dancer has some beef on his bones. Bart Cook had (perhaps still has?) a beautiful, Nureyevesque physique.

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Based on responses in this and a couple of other threads -- "beautiful" and "long-legged" seems to go together today, at least as far as danseurs nobles go. Can one have relatively short-legs in the present aesthetic marketplace and still compete in the elevation, elongation, and nobility games? Is the ideal male ballet following the same path his female counterpart travelled several decades ago? :)

And, while we're at it, will no one say a kind word for those big-thighed, big-buttock, superpower lifters, turners, jumpers, and promenaders the Bolshoi used to turn out in such numbers?

I will say many kind words about those big-thighed, big-buttocked, superpower turners and jumpers. Give me Angel Corella, Joaquin De Luz, Daniel Ulbricht, Misha (in his day) and all the shorter men of ballet who can jump higher, remain in flight much longer than the long-legged dansuers nobles. I find these men so charismatic, that when they are on stage, I barely notice anyone else.

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Nureyev is the ideal for me. He was muscular without being bulky, and sleek without being thin. He had the most attractive thighs I've ever seen on any man, let alone a ballet dancer.

Regarding the comment about the Bolshoi men, Arlene Croce was reviewing I think a Swan Lake in the sixties or seventies and mentioned the lead man ( an older dancer) as being big in the rear then speculated that he must have helium in that rear as he was able to jump so high! :)

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