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


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#1 87Sigfried87

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Posted 22 February 2008 - 01:06 PM

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.

#2 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 22 February 2008 - 01:31 PM

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.

#3 87Sigfried87

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Posted 22 February 2008 - 02:11 PM

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.

#4 Figurante

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 05:34 PM

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.

#5 MJ

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 06:48 PM

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!

#6 Anthony_NYC

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 10:10 PM

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.

#7 dirac

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Posted 07 March 2008 - 11:12 AM

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


Yes, Id 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.

#8 dirac

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 09:10 AM

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 (shes just 5'7", but her long limbs lend a bewitching expansiveness), appears with the company in its latest season

.

It wasnt too long ago that a woman anywhere would have been considered fairly tall at 57; 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 shes on the short side. It is short by model standards, but not by too many others, I should think.

#9 aurora

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 09:28 AM

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.


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

Aurora (not bitter!)

#10 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 09:37 AM

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:

#11 Paul Parish

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 09:40 AM

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.

#12 genedancer

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 10:52 PM

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.

#13 SanderO

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Posted 13 May 2008 - 02:49 AM

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.

#14 Helene

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Posted 13 May 2008 - 08:07 AM

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.

#15 87Sigfried87

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Posted 13 May 2008 - 08:30 AM

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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