87Sigfried87

How important is it to be tall for a male dancer?

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I'm getting quite paranoic about being too short.In many auditions for male dancers they require 1,80 m height at least (from Bejart's company,to Nederlands Dans Theater,to Bavarian etc)and I unfortunately am a little bit less.I was 1,75 m last year but I think i've gained 1 or 2 cm.How important is in your opinion the height of a dancer?do you know how tall are some of them?Do you think it is a real problem nowadays to be less than 1,80?

I know Bolle is 1,87....I wonder if Malakhov or Corella are as tall or less.Please understand the paranoia of a young(mmmm....getting old;-)) dancer:D.

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Converting to US measurements so everyone understands, you're 5'9" or a bit more if you've grown some.

That's "medium" in my book rather than short. (I'm about your height).

NYCB and ABT have both trended shorter rather than taller for a bit because of dancers like Baryshnikov and Corella. In some ways it's a little harder, because you're neither-nor (not a tall porteur nor a short pyrotechnician) but you're taller than Peter Boal, for instance - he seemed taller because of his proportions.

I don't think your height will keep you out of a company, though it might limit the size of women you can partner slightly.

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Converting to US measurements so everyone understands, you're 5'9" or a bit more if you've grown some.

Sorry for not converting myself the measurements but I actually don't know them so well....I hope it will not be a problem.Here in Europe it seems as if they're requiring and taking only tall male dancers...in this moment I have some galas to dance in,but was wondering about the moment in which I'll have to audition for a company...Thanks again.

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There are many companies that are "shorter" based. Miami City Ballet for one, has a lot of short male dancers. I also know that Colorado Ballet has hired short dancers in the past. I think it would more be timing on your part, when you would be auditioning for companies, and what previous dancers have left the company.

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Short guys can partner too, but finger turns might be a little difficult with a tall dancer.

Are you past your growth stage? You may want to speak with a nutritionist to ensure you are eating a proper diet.

Let us know where you go!

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I remember being shocked to hear that Nureyev was 5'8", I'd certainly have guessed he was taller. They say Nijinsky was only 5'4", and Baryshnikov is 5'7" (I always thought he looked shorter!), Bujones I think was also 5'7" or 5'8"(??). Those are just the ones I remember (or think I remember) numbers for. I'm sure others can list dozens of great dancers under 5'9", which, from my inexpert viewer's perspective, doesn't seem short at all for a ballet dancer.

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They say Nijinsky was only 5'4", and Baryshnikov is 5'7" (I always thought he looked shorter!),

Yes, I’d have thought Baryshnikov was about an inch shorter.

Are you past your growth stage? You may want to speak with a nutritionist to ensure you are eating a proper diet.

I don't think someone who is 5'9" has to worry about an improper diet.

Five-nine doesn't seem short to me, either, but we are living in an era of height inflation – people on average are taller.

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Height notes from all over, this time on the distaff side. This is from Gia Kourlas’ interview with Shila Tirabassi in Time Out New York:

as if gliding through tropical air. Tirabassi, who seems taller onstage than in life (she’s just 5'7", but her long limbs lend a bewitching expansiveness), appears with the company in its latest season
.

It wasn’t too long ago that a woman anywhere would have been considered fairly tall at 5’7”; these days it seems to have been downgraded to medium height. There was an article in Vogue awhile back about the actor Jennifer Connelly, who is also five-seven, and there was the same implication that she’s on the short side. It is short by model standards, but not by too many others, I should think.

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It wasn’t too long ago that a woman anywhere would have been considered fairly tall at 5’7â€; these days it seems to have been downgraded to medium height. There was an article in Vogue awhile back about the actor Jennifer Connelly, who is also five-seven, and there was the same implication that she’s on the short side. It is short by model standards, but not by too many others, I should think.

Unless you have a mother who is 6'--then you get referred to as "the shrimp." Thanks mom!

Aurora (not bitter!)

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How important is in your opinion the height of a dancer?

Mmm...only if you were give someone like, let's say, Veronika Part to partner. When she came over with ABT's "Belle", i perceived some struggling... :flowers:

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From here it looks like EUropean companies are trending away from the kinetic appeal towards towards spectacle itself -- so dancers with striking, elongated proportions are required to complete the picture. ANd maybe always the case -- AMerican dancing from Balanchine to Cunningham has always been "more" about the dancing -- finesse, transitions, rhythm, strength, technical polish - than about the plastique -- though Balanchine certianly did like having tall women on stage flashing about. They're easier to see.

THough little bitty dancers like Plisetskaya and Makarova were VERY easy to see.

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I remember being shocked to hear that Nureyev was 5'8", I'd certainly have guessed he was taller. They say Nijinsky was only 5'4", and Baryshnikov is 5'7" (I always thought he looked shorter!), Bujones I think was also 5'7" or 5'8"(??). Those are just the ones I remember (or think I remember) numbers for. I'm sure others can list dozens of great dancers under 5'9", which, from my inexpert viewer's perspective, doesn't seem short at all for a ballet dancer.

Reply from Genedancer May 12th 2008 11:48pm

I'm 5'8" - standing next to Michael Somes, Anton Dolin or Robert Joffrey made me feel like I was 6"plus. They were all so tiny. Fantastic dancers, but tiny. On the other hand Reg Park was almost twice the size of Dolin, yet he danced a quartet with Dolin and two female dancers at Ravinia outside Chicago and the performance went fine.

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From a physics standpoint I think smaller more compact dancers are able to execute some moves with greater success, other moves like long high leaps work with taller bodies. And then there is illusion. Without a frame of reference it is often hard to gauge someone's height. But it seems that smaller, rather than larger make better dancers.

Proportion is key and the human form does not scale up and down with all parts of the body remaining in the same size relationship. And of course what is the most ideal shape/proportion is also a variable depending on individual taste. And of course since ballet is an ensemble experience, all the dancers need to appear harmonious to the others. This is taken to the extreme in the corps where we often see dancers which appear to be stamped out of a mold.

I don't especially find tall and lean more attractive in a dancer male, or female.

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I saw a performance of "Apollo" with Wim Vanlessen in Gent. Because of his physical proportions, including high calf muscles that elongate his legs, I though he looked to be at least six feet tall on stage. He isn't. The next day, I saw him dance the lead in Michael Corder's "Orpheus," which starts with him kneeling at Euridice's dead body, and lifting her from a flat horizontal position to shoulder height, with his arms cradling under her, and then having to lift her from this position overhead. He did not have a single issue with performing this motif lift over and over, nor with any of the other intricate partnering -- and there's a lot of it -- in the rest of the ballet.

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I'm getting quite paranoic about being too short.In many auditions for male dancers they require 1,80 m height at least (from Bejart's company,to Nederlands Dans Theater,to Bavarian etc)and I unfortunately am a little bit less.I was 1,75 m last year but I think i've gained 1 or 2 cm.How important is in your opinion the height of a dancer?do you know how tall are some of them?Do you think it is a real problem nowadays to be less than 1,80?

I know Bolle is 1,87....I wonder if Malakhov or Corella are as tall or less.Please understand the paranoia of a young(mmmm....getting old;-)) dancer:D.

I'm 1,78 m right now....I've grown a bit!I'd be happy if I got to 1,80 :-).

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I'm getting quite paranoic about being too short.In many auditions for male dancers they require 1,80 m height at least (from Bejart's company,to Nederlands Dans Theater,to Bavarian etc)and I unfortunately am a little bit less.I was 1,75 m last year but I think i've gained 1 or 2 cm.How important is in your opinion the height of a dancer?do you know how tall are some of them?Do you think it is a real problem nowadays to be less than 1,80?

I know Bolle is 1,87....I wonder if Malakhov or Corella are as tall or less.Please understand the paranoia of a young(mmmm....getting old;-)) dancer:D.

I'm 1,78 m right now....I've grown a bit!I'd be happy if I got to 1,80 :-).

5/13/08 2:40pm from Genedancer; Soon you will be the right size to languish in a corp for years. Is that what you are looking forward to? Wouldn't you rather be hired for your talent and specialty expertise. Stop worrying and work harder, learn more, and win competitions. Do that and you will be discovered as the fantastic dancer you will have become. You've got lots of time. Do more classes, on your own at home with books and videos. Then get correction from a teacher. If you explain what you are doing, you might even be given a scholarship - or at least a partial. Good Luck.

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I'm getting quite paranoic about being too short.In many auditions for male dancers they require 1,80 m height at least (from Bejart's company,to Nederlands Dans Theater,to Bavarian etc)and I unfortunately am a little bit less.I was 1,75 m last year but I think i've gained 1 or 2 cm.How important is in your opinion the height of a dancer?do you know how tall are some of them?Do you think it is a real problem nowadays to be less than 1,80?

I know Bolle is 1,87....I wonder if Malakhov or Corella are as tall or less.Please understand the paranoia of a young(mmmm....getting old;-)) dancer:D.

I'm 1,78 m right now....I've grown a bit!I'd be happy if I got to 1,80 :-).

5/13/08 2:40pm from Genedancer; Soon you will be the right size to languish in a corp for years. Is that what you are looking forward to? Wouldn't you rather be hired for your talent and specialty expertise. Stop worrying and work harder, learn more, and win competitions. Do that and you will be discovered as the fantastic dancer you will have become. You've got lots of time. Do more classes, on your own at home with books and videos. Then get correction from a teacher. If you explain what you are doing, you might even be given a scholarship - or at least a partial. Good Luck.

Genetics are genetics and you will be as tall as you were meant to be.

There have been many short men who have danced "tall": Angel Corella (ABT) , Joaquin De Lux,(ABT and now NYCB) Herman Corenjo (ABT) just to name a few. What sets them apart is their proportions and their artistry. No one who sees them ever says, "oy, are they short dancers!!!" I agree with Genedancer, do you want to get to the right corps size and languish there?

My son is 5'6" and dances like he is 6' tall. Were we worried that he would never be a professional dancer? Yes, but all of his teachers told him that there would be a company out there for him. He was offered 3 contracts last year at the age of 17. During the grueling year of auditions, he knew he had to show the A.D.'s that he wasn't a short dancer, but rather a dancer who just happened to be short. He chose a fantastic regional company where he has danced mostly soloist and some principal roles. That is because he is not the "correct" size for the corp. He dances tall and big and takes up the stage. He partners taller women but you don't "see" a short male partnering tall women.

So don't use your height as an excuse, use it as an advantage. Don't be a short dancer, dance as tall as you can. And best of luck.

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There have been many short men who have danced "tall": Angel Corella (ABT) , Joaquin De Lux,(ABT and now NYCB) Herman Corenjo (ABT) just to name a few. What sets them apart is their proportions and their artistry. No one who sees them ever says, "oy, are they short dancers!!!" I agree with Genedancer, do you want to get to the right corps size and languish there?

Though I agree with your good advice, I will say I've occasionally thought that very thing about those very dancers. Usually it isn't their dancing though - it's that they've been miscast.

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Bujones I think was also 5'7" or 5'8"(??).
I think at least a bit taller, because he regularly partnered the 5'7" Cynthia Gregory, who did not loom over him when she was en pointe.
I saw a performance of "Apollo" with Wim Vanlessen in Gent. Because of his physical proportions, including high calf muscles that elongate his legs, I though he looked to be at least six feet tall on stage. He isn't.
This is an important point -- the visual impact of proportions. Even in partnering, the relative proportions of the dancers can harmonize when, on paper, you'd think they wouldn't work. Baryshnikov, at 5'7" and stockyish, looked just fine in 3rd Movement of Symphony in C opposite lean and leggy, 5'6" Heather Watts. He had mass, she didn't. Of course, the two don't have a supported adagio in that movement, which may have looked a bit odd.

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Genetics are genetics and you will be as tall as you were meant to be.

There have been many short men who have danced "tall": Angel Corella (ABT) , Joaquin De Lux,(ABT and now NYCB) Herman Corenjo (ABT) just to name a few. What sets them apart is their proportions and their artistry. No one who sees them ever says, "oy, are they short dancers!!!" I agree with Genedancer, do you want to get to the right corps size and languish there?

My son is 5'6" and dances like he is 6' tall. Were we worried that he would never be a professional dancer? Yes, but all of his teachers told him that there would be a company out there for him. He was offered 3 contracts last year at the age of 17. During the grueling year of auditions, he knew he had to show the A.D.'s that he wasn't a short dancer, but rather a dancer who just happened to be short. He chose a fantastic regional company where he has danced mostly soloist and some principal roles. That is because he is not the "correct" size for the corp. He dances tall and big and takes up the stage. He partners taller women but you don't "see" a short male partnering tall women.

So don't use your height as an excuse, use it as an advantage. Don't be a short dancer, dance as tall as you can. And best of luck.

Ehm....if you are Corella or Simkin of course it's not a problem to be short. But if I were a special talent as they are,I would probably already have been noticed and have been given contracts for big companies and so on....I am very honest towards myself.I am not a dancer who can become a first soloist or a world known star of ballet; there is one in a million dancer,and I'm not. I can be taken as Corps right now,no more....and being short for the corps is a real problem. Someone else said to go and take more classes,study more etc....yes,studying is always a good thing to improve....but also taking classes 10 hours a day I'll never be Simkin or Corella!they are special talents....I'm a normal one,as many dancers in the corps all over the world.

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However, it is worthwhile to consider that the use of male dancers (emploi) comes in waves. That is, long, tall dancers will be "fashionable" for a period, then the pendulum swings. Does the change in casting for Corñejo to include the "princes" combined with the near-simultaneous hiring of Simkin at ABT signal a change in casting for smaller dancers system-wide? Perhaps. And when that sort of thing happens, the rising tide lifts all boats. More work for everybody.

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Bujones I think was also 5'7" or 5'8"(??).
I think at least a bit taller, because he regularly partnered the 5'7" Cynthia Gregory, who did not loom over him when she was en pointe.

I don't know about that--in both the black swan and paquita videos that are available on youtube I'd say she did loom over him.

They look great together but she is considerably taller than he is when on pointe.

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Fernando was about 5'10". I never measured him, but he was a good hand taller than I.

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Fernando was about 5'10". I never measured him, but he was a good hand taller than I.

I'm sorry, but I just had a mental image of someone nonchalently whipping out a tape measure and holding it up to him, and it was fabulous! :off topic:

I didn't mean to imply he was only 5'7", only that en pointe, Gregory did appear taller than him.

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Oh, she certainly did! We have to remember that Gregory was quite tall en pointe, but it didn't matter as much, because she could do a lot of the pas de deux herself, without much need for a partner. She was sort of the Anti-Markova!

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