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4mrdncr

Sascha Radetsky "My Turn" in Newsweek magazine

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In the March 17,2008 issue of Newsweek magazine, the "My Turn" essay is by ABT soloist Sascha Radetsky. There is an accompanying picture. I have also been informed that the article has been posted at thewinger.

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Thanks, 4mrdncr. There's nothing there that hasn't been said by others and on this board, but it's interesting to see how Sascha puts it into his own words.

The essay is -->here.

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Sorry I had 3 people send it to me today and I had already read it 2 days ago. I find the topic rather "done to death". I know its still going on but its 2008 its time to get over such stupid stereotypes. I have plenty of boys in my school and NONE of them fit any particular stereotype. They are all different, all equally interesting, smart, sensitive, artistic, athletic the only thing that sets them apart from others is that they seem more evolved and interesting that the average kid. (maybe that is my bias). I just cannot believe that, this conversation still needs to be even needs to be brought up. :smilie_mondieu:

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Sorry I had 3 people send it to me today and I had already read it 2 days ago. I find the topic rather "done to death". I know its still going on but its 2008 its time to get over such stupid stereotypes. I have plenty of boys in my school and NONE of them fit any particular stereotype. They are all different, all equally interesting, smart, sensitive, artistic, athletic the only thing that sets them apart from others is that they seem more evolved and interesting that the average kid. (maybe that is my bias). I just cannot believe that, this conversation still needs to be even needs to be brought up. :wub:

Memo - I agree with you... This article (in my opinion) is quite 'old school'. And, I am suprised that there is a still a need for defending male dancers. Who cares?

And, as a dancer, why does he feel the need to write an essay about how he loved the girls and state that some of his colleagues are gay. That is not his business nor the publics business either. There are homosexual men and women in every working environment; because ballet may be stereotyped does not give justification for those men who are heterosexual dancers a need to defend themselves. If they really are trying to prove something, then why even bother saying anything about it at all? Maybe it is more a question about maturity / immaturity?

I just don't see the need for male dancers to continually feel as though they need to defend themselves or make sure to mention in newspaper / magazine articles stuff like "well, I loved the girls of course..." Who cares?!

Anyway, just thought I would tell you I agree, Memo! There is a lot more room for discussion on this surely; will check back later... :smilie_mondieu:

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I agree about the retread nature of the article, but I did think Radetsky handled homosexuality somewhat better than it usually is in this genre of articles. As I read it, at least he said up front that people he works are gay, implied that it was not a big deal to him and went on. Usually, there's an even bigger protestation of the author's heterosexuality or a prominent mention of a wife. It's not a sort of article I care to read anymore (but it's not aimed at me) - still I'll cut him some slack on that angle.

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I agree with Leigh. I doubt Radetsky would say he's defending himself by noting that he's straight; I think he just means to set the record straight (no pun intended) for the sake of making himself known. What really seems to bother him is not that he's taken for gay, but that he's assumed to be effeminate when he's macho (a personality difference), and taken for a weak person when he feels he's strong and courageous.

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Interesting to note that the reactions to the article here are much different from the ones at the winger. Any reason why?

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This is old news to people who frequent dance studios and read these boards, but what about that whole swath of America whose exposure to live ballet is the Dolly Dinkle annual Nutcracker with their daughter -- or less? I suspect the old stereotype is still pretty strong among the underexposed.

Somewhere out there may be a Billy Elliot whose parents want him to grow to be a macho guy and won't let him pursue his dreams of dancing. I think Sascha is pleading the boy's case to those parents as well as the larger community.

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In the March 17,2008 issue of Newsweek magazine, the "My Turn" essay is by ABT soloist Sascha Radetsky. There is an accompanying picture. I have also been informed that the article has been posted at thewinger.
Thanks, 4mrdncr. There's nothing there that hasn't been said by others and on this board, but it's interesting to see how Sascha puts it into his own words.

The essay is -->here.

Just noting for the record the article was posted in our own Links five days ago.....

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We need to have more articles like it in the media. The best way to combat the stereotypes is to put real faces on the subjects, showing the public our male dancers as being just as Memo was describing.

Carbro is correct. This is old news to those of us who have already chosen ballet. We already know the reality and have chosen to deal with the stereotype in our own ways.

But the importance is not for us, but for talented young male dancers that we are losing because they cannot battle the stereotype with their peers or even parents. We will never know how many times this article, or another like it, might serve as the tipping point for a young man or a parent, making the difference is someone’s opinion that a young dancer might vitally need.

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But the importance is not for us, but for talented young male dancers that we are losing because they cannot battle the stereotype with their peers or even parents. We will never know how many times this article, or another like it, might serve as the tipping point for a young man or a parent, making the difference is someone’s opinion that a young dancer might vitally need.

I totally agree. Especially since he is more well known than some other male dancers due to his starring in the movie Center Stage.

I found it interesting that the article was written by him and not just an interview of him. Perhaps he found a way to supplement his income? Personally, I would like to see more articles of this nature showing the life of not only ballet dancers but other artists.

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I wonder if the tatoos and the bulking up of the upper body are, in part, a response or reaction to his perception of others' perceptions of his vocation.

Some group of men will always be picked on by some other group of men for purposes of elevating one group over another. If it's not ballet dancers, it's sailors. If it's not sailors, it's chefs or beret sporting painters.

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I agree with so many opinions expressed in the posts above mine. I had similar gut reactions. Since I've been well aware of the "My Turn" column for decades, having had an interest to contribute to it on many occasions throughout my life, but never doing so, my first reaction was that Sascha had the same twofold desire: to make a few bucks (I assume the contributors to this feature get paid?) and to get his name out into the mainstream. A member of BT4D was pleased to discover that he was a very fine writer, but I don't think there was anything "very fine" about his writing, rather, it was just okay. Had I written an article about the subject, I (wouldn't have been content to send in such a hackneyed attempt.

The inclusion of "loving the girls" is, IMO, definitely his way of saying he's straight (and feels the need to make this distinction). But, I think that's okay. That way he won't be written off by some still-biased readers. At least they will read to the end of the article.

As far as M. Mel's cynicism goes, the examples stated are rather old, although valid. I'd like to think Newsweek, in the name of current events and keeping up to date, has modified its position over the years, as much of the general population has. We all grow and change with the times.

Do I think Sascha's article will effect any change? No. I think it was just a satisfying exercise for him, personally, to be published in Newsweek. If he'd wanted to make a real case of it, his slant in the piece would have packed more punch.)

Edited to say:

I was just adjusting the order of words in one of my sentences (ever the editor) and having a lot of trouble posting my modified post -- my screens wouldn't change. I had the same trouble with "quick edit" and had to go to "full edit" in order to amend my post. Now, poof! -- the bulk of my post is gone (and that's not the section I was adjusting, so it wasn't my keystrokes that did it, I don't think).

I have no copy of what I had written, so can't fix the above truncated post! Sorry. There was so much more there, part of which is, thankfully, reproduced in M. Mel's post below.

For the record, I don't know if this comment will ever post, as nothing is happening when I press "submit modified post". We just got our computer in from the shop where it was sent because we thought we had a virus. It's only been back for an hour or two and is acting up, although the computer shop guy said everything was okay. So, I don't know if it's me or BT!

Moderator's note Previous text salvaged from email notification and copy/pasted here. Mel

Thank you very much, Major!

Marga

Edited by Marga
like it says.

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And, as a dancer, why does he feel the need to write an essay about how he loved the girls and state that some of his colleagues are gay. That is not his business nor the publics business either. There are homosexual men and women in every working environment; because ballet may be stereotyped does not give justification for those men who are heterosexual dancers a need to defend themselves. If they really are trying to prove something, then why even bother saying anything about it at all? Maybe it is more a question about maturity / immaturity?

I just don't see the need for male dancers to continually feel as though they need to defend themselves or make sure to mention in newspaper / magazine articles stuff like "well, I loved the girls of course..." Who cares?!

Anyway, just thought I would tell you I agree, Memo! There is a lot more room for discussion on this surely; will check back later... thumbsup.gif

Amen to that.

It is nobody's business and sorry but there are tons of guys entering the field these days the competition and level of male dancers rivals the girls. I run a local ballet school and do not find the stereotypes hold true. There are many dads who bring their sons to dance class and sit and watch with the other dads there with their daughters. In fact guys who are openly leery of it are almost inclined to be ridiculed for it thinking that a dance class will make you gay, really when you say it out loud it is just a ludicrous statement.

I also agree that we don't need Sasha Radnesky to prounounce his "straightness" who cares. Is he reinforcing the stereotypes by feeling the need to to write articles on his macho ness :)

Maybe I am just tired or jaded by it. I have trained professional male dancers and have a dancing kid (almost adult) who is male. He knows who he and he respects the other members of his class as people and friends and does not identify them by their sexual orientation. Get over it already. ON with the dance.

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As far as M. Mel's cynicism goes, the examples stated are rather old, although valid. I'd like to think Newsweek, in the name of current events and keeping up to date, has modified its position over the years, as much of the general population has. We all grow and change with the times.

Would I like to believe that? Yes. Do I? Not at the moment. Now, I don't think the magazine keeps a desk just for the purpose of putting down male dancers, but I've noticed this historical bias in their pages.

Is this a nod, or the beginning of repentance and atonement? I should hope the latter, although I'm not betting the farm.

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I just read the responses to it on Ballet Talk for Dancers, I guess I have come to the dark side or maybe it is just my current mood.

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but never doing so, my first reaction was that Sascha had the same twofold desire: to make a few bucks (I assume the contributors to this feature get paid?) and to get his name out into the mainstream.

Hopefully he was paid, dancers should be able to branch out to other avenues to support themselves. Not sure he needs to get his name in the mainstream.

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Some comments here mentioned "Billy Elliots..." etc. Well, I agree that there is still room for people to speak out, but chances are the only people who are interested in the article, are people who are also interested in ballet. The majority of these people are not who need to know that ballet is masculine, blah blah... It is the people who not involved with ballet. For instance, if it was a football player or a basketball player defending ballet etc. then maybe other people, not involved in ballet, would be more likely to appreciate the article. But coming from another dancer, it just seems like another dancer trying to prove something to other dancers or to himself. But, the dancers have a knowledge about it. Ok, maybe younger children and teenagers who are studying ballet will be happy to hear another male dancer talking, but it is their peers at school, etc. who need to hear it, not from another dancer, but from someone else that THEY can relate to and appreciate. No non-dancer is not likely to know who Sascha Radetsky is (not being rude...) I mean Center Stage was a good movie, but it is not something that someone in the sixth grade is going to bring up and say "oh cool that is such and such from Center Stage..." They need someone else to talk about male dancing; if needed at all.

And another thing to think about is, what is there to really defend? Part of being a "man" or a woman and entering this world is being able to cope and deal with narrow minded, ignorant stereotypes and learning to move on from it. As a kid, I do not believe I would be really inspired by this (being a dancer I mean.) Like I said earlier, if I saw it was someone else, a movie star, a sports hero, whatever - then I could bring it in to school and say "hey guys look." But from another dancer, I don't think it is going to argue much.

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It is a shame that people forget that football great Lynn Swan and President Reagan's son, Ron Regan, were both professional ballet dancers. I am sure there are other famous or well know men who successfully moved on from ballet to other great careers.

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well i know that lynn swann took lessons, but i didn't think he ever danced, i just remember his taking the lessons got a lot of publicity.

i did find this paragraph:

Lynn Curtis Swann was born on March 7, 1952, in Alcoa, Tennessee. His father, Willie, was an aircraft maintenance worker and his mother, Mildred worked as a dental hygienist. When Lynn Swann was 2, his family moved to San Mateo, California, where Lynn Swann studied dance - including ballet, modern dance and tap - from the age of four until his senior year in high school. Lynn often says that his mother's insistence on the dance training is what made him such a good athlete.

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I, too, have a few unkind words.

As always, these articles excite mixed feelings. They serve a certain purpose and a good cause.

On the other hand, I don’t feel too sorry for these guys, you know. It is unfortunate that they don’t receive the godlike worship our society generally accords straight men who excel in endeavors involving outstanding athleticism, that instead they are treated like inferiors, outsiders, like....women and gay guys. I wish that such prejudices didn’t exist, and yet I also think, “Well, isn’t that just TOO BAD, bwah-hah-hah.”

As it is, male dancers are getting more attention for their multiple pirouettes than ever before, judging by the screaming they receive from audiences these days. So maybe it’s time to look on the bright side and move on.

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On the other hand, I don't feel too sorry for these guys, you know. It is unfortunate that they don't receive the godlike worship our society generally accords straight men who excel in endeavors involving outstanding athleticism, that instead they are treated like inferiors, outsiders, like....women and gay guys. I wish that such prejudices didn't exist, and yet I also think, "Well, isn't that just TOO BAD, bwah-hah-hah."
There's quite a chasm between "godlike worship" and vague stigma. I do think it takes unusual courage for a boy whose social environment belittles or disdains achievement in dance (or theater, or painting, or football). If you watch nature films as much as I do, you understand that for creatures in complex social systems, creatures learn from the reactions of their communities -- be they monkeys, apes or even doggies. If you're eleven years old and your peers are calling you sissy and ostracizing you because you like to dance ballet, it may be a bigger price than you're willing to pay for what you want to do. The drive to persevere would have to be pretty intense. When and where I grew up, only about an hour outside of NYC, my interest in ballet (which was nothing compared to what it would eventually become) marked me, a girl, as a bit of a weirdo. There's the argument that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, but sometimes parts of us get killed.
As it is, male dancers are getting more attention for their multiple pirouettes than ever before, judging by the screaming they receive from audiences these days.
No different from their female counterparts, are they? But what percentage of them actually have the opportunity to claim center stage and do their grands pirouettes or soar through a variation? Tiny, tiny. Most find themselves in the relative anonymity of corps roles more often than not.

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The drive to persevere would have to be pretty intense. When and where I grew up, only about an hour outside of NYC, my interest in ballet (which was nothing compared to what it would eventually become) marked me, a girl, as a bit of a weirdo. There's the argument that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, but sometimes parts of us get killed.

But I think most dancers would argue that having a very strong desire to persevere, in the face of what are, for most, insurmountable challenges, is part of what makes a successful dancer. So many kids take ballet (esp. girls, which i'll get back to in a second) and very few are able to make a career of it. Natural aptitude and talent is part of who makes it of course, but so is determination.

As it is, male dancers are getting more attention for their multiple pirouettes than ever before, judging by the screaming they receive from audiences these days.
No different from their female counterparts, are they? But what percentage of them actually have the opportunity to claim center stage and do their grands pirouettes or soar through a variation? Tiny, tiny. Most find themselves in the relative anonymity of corps roles more often than not.

They are quite different from their female counterparts--not in the accolades they receive, but in the *relative* ease with which they find places in competitive schools and companies. I dont know the figures for this, but there are a LOT more girls who take ballet than boys. A boy has a much better chance of getting into a company in the first place, therefore the percentage of boys who dance who make it to the top of their profession (becoming soloists or principals) is MUCH higher than it is for girls.

I'm not arguing some ridiculous sexism argument here--just pointing out that while, yes it sucks that boys get deterred by criticisms and prejudices against dance, if they pursue it, they are in a much better position than the equivalent female dance student.

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On the other hand, I don't feel too sorry for these guys, you know. It is unfortunate that they don't receive the godlike worship our society generally accords straight men who excel in endeavors involving outstanding athleticism, that instead they are treated like inferiors, outsiders, like....women and gay guys. I wish that such prejudices didn't exist, and yet I also think, "Well, isn't that just TOO BAD, bwah-hah-hah."

There's quite a chasm between "godlike worship" and vague stigma. I do think it takes unusual courage for a boy whose social environment belittles or disdains achievement in dance (or theater, or painting, or football). If you watch nature films as much as I do, you understand that for creatures in complex social systems, creatures learn from the reactions of their communities -- be they monkeys, apes or even doggies. If you're eleven years old and your peers are calling you sissy and ostracizing you because you like to dance ballet, it may be a bigger price than you're willing to pay for what you want to do. The drive to persevere would have to be pretty intense. When and where I grew up, only about an hour outside of NYC, my interest in ballet (which was nothing compared to what it would eventually become) marked me, a girl, as a bit of a weirdo. There's the argument that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, but sometimes parts of us get killed.

But I think we need to stay away from the animal analogies; they cause us to generalize in ways that shut down, rather than open up discussion. While social trends may be enlightening--i.e., it's certainly true that most boys who take up ballet will face opposition from someone, and the culture as a whole does not value the labor of male ballet dancers the way it does sports figures--it's also important to note differences. For instance, I'm sure the Kaiser or Otto brothers never faced "Billy Eliot"-level ostracism. And I'm sure many female dancers will remember how a single male dancer in their dancing school got all the attention simply b/c he was male (hmmm....do I sound like Geraldine Ferarro?).

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