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Sascha Radetsky "My Turn" in Newsweek magazine

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And certainly the 'some of my colleagues are gay. Can we move on now?' can be anything he wants it to mean too.

Yes, articles of this type cannot help making being gay sound like being an ex-con, or something, as if Radetsky is indeed working with these disreputable types, but he himself has never been to jail. (Yes, I know he doesn’t mean it that way.)

Thanks for posting, CeC. You are quite right about the non-presence of gay women in the discussion (of course, that's also reflected in their mostly under-the-radar society at large, I think).

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The last I looked there were hetero and gay cops, firemen, baseball players, politicians, teachers and ballet dancers fathers, bus drivers and cowboys...

And there are stereotypes and there will always be stereotypes and hopefully people are moving past bigotry. I don't see how sexual/gender ID has anything to do with those or other occupations.

Who really cares?

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I've been trying to make personal sense of this long and convuluted thread. I should say, "threads." Some are discussing Radetsky's article and their own responses to, and assumptions about, it. Others are discussing the objective situation -- often demeaning and even threatening -- faced by many young ballet dancers. It's a complicated topic, and I have to admit some distress at some of the comments about Radetsky, his language, his possible motives, and all the things he didn't bother to include.

I agree with dancesmith and others who take both aspects of the discussion and try to learn from them.

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.

I have difficulty understanding those who say "this is old hat" and "who cares?," positions have been articulated more than once on this thread. It's clear that the people doing the insulting --and they are legion -- care enough about the threat of gayness (whatever that means to them) to do some pretty nasty things. One assumes that the victims -- and they are legion, too -- care as well.

Radetsky, writing from his own personal experience, cares and is trying, for whatever reason, to influence others to care with him. He says:

Pioneers like Baryshnikov or Nureyev might have opened some minds, but their days have long passed, and despite the noble efforts of a handful of current ballet leaders to expose fresh audiences to our art form, a whole new generation looks at male dancing with skewed vision. Some of my peers are foreigners; in many other countries male dancers are held in higher esteem. I studied in Russia for a year and always marveled at the way Russians celebrated their artists, whether their medium was dance, music or the written word. But I'm American, and I want to live in my own country, as a dancer, with some respect.
I find this both true and admirably put.

And what about the young people who are being laughed at, demeaned, insulted, and sometimes bullied and shoved into hiding? Radetsky's situation may not be precisely their own. But I'll be they identify with him on many levels and are glad that he spoke up. Many young dancers and students lack the ability or platform to articulate their experiences. Few are invited to write for national media. Radetsky is speaking for more than just himself. Until something better comes along, I'm glad he did.

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Yes, SanderO, there are gay people in every profession, but they aren't generally perceived to be gay because of their profession, whether they really are or not.

It is indeed quite a complex issue. I think that once people stop defining what is "masculine" so narrowly and stop using "gay" as a derogatory term, we will be all right. Easier said than done....

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"Ironically, the stereotype of the sissy male dancer has given rise to a male dancer who is anything but."

This is the kind of thing that some can overlook in the article and some can't. After having already declared his own sexual preference, he is making a statement which doesn't make any sense, because there is no evolution from the 'stereotype of the sissy male dancer' to the 'anything but sissy male dancer' any more than there is from the 'sissy male in general' to the 'anything-but-sissy male'. One would be able to derive that this new masculine non-sissy dancer in fact, owed a great debt to this very stereotype of the sissy male dancer, since that is from what this new dancer rose phoenix-like.

As a heterosexual and therefore a member of a perceived minority in his profession, could this be nothing more than his version of "We're here, we're queer, get used to it!"?

I think he deserves the benefit of the doubt. If gays and lesbians were suddenly as accepted and respected everywhere as straights, wouldn't most remaining closeted gays and lesbians still rush out of the closet to declare their sexual identity? And when they did, would we presume they were implicitly putting down straights? Why should we judge Radetsky by another standard? People want to be known for who they are; St. Patricks' Day parades are not about putting down the French and the Germans.

Radetsky writes well for a man who spends his working hours in a dance studio and not at a keyboard, but we shouldn't expect the same clarity we'd expect from a professional. If the subtext of the article was "I'm not one of those disreputable gays," why would he mention Nureyev as one of the "pioneers" who "opened minds"?

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I think he deserves the benefit of the doubt. If gays and lesbians were suddenly as accepted and respected everywhere as straights, wouldn't most remaining closeted gays and lesbians still rush out of the closet to declare their sexual identity? And when they did, would we presume they were implicitly putting down straights? Why should we judge Radetsky by another standard? People want to be known for who they are; St. Patricks' Day parades are not about putting down the French and the Germans.

No, but the St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York could be said to be about putting down gays, although I have little interest in that and never cared about it. Likewise, since I have so little gay identity, I can see when someone wants to proclaim straight identity, and I find both pretty boring. I think Radetsky wants to get the privileges he perceives in the straight establishment by making sure to identify himself as 'not gay'.

Radetsky writes well for a man who spends his working hours in a dance studio and not at a keyboard, but we shouldn't expect the same clarity we'd expect from a professional. If the subtext of the article was "I'm not one of those disreputable gays," why would he mention Nureyev as one of the "pioneers" who "opened minds"?

Because Nureyev managed to become famous despite a gayness and even outrageous promiscuity that was even flaunted, and that's what's crucial. He certainly didn't mean Nureyev 'opened minds' toward accepting anybody's sexuality, but rather opened up ballet to bigger audiences--especially though that he was hugely successful. I know plenty of people who don't spend their time at a keyboard, including dancers, who write decently and often very well. I don't think he writes well by any standards, so that it has to be accepted that some want to take a somewhat Christian-compassionate attitude toward it, and some are not going to. Almost any quoted remark by Suzanne Farrell, without any forethought, is better, when she talks about 'fantasy and how she likes it, that there's little enough of it in the world' when she was doing 'Cinderella' in Chicago years ago, or just even talking about how 'I like dancing with Peter, it's a pleasure.' It sounds banal and nothing, but it always rings true and makes you rethink that very simple thing. I use that example only because she, so silent and reserved, is not even one of the ones we usually think of as being the most verbal, but every time she opens her mouth, there is something there that is not advertising itself. And the many others who speak a lot more, like Melissa Hayden, really tell you something about how dancers can articulate and speak truly: Nobody was better than Hayden at explaining certain things about Balanchine's musicianship, for example. There are even some dancers and dance writers here at Ballet Talk that really write, and not just the fine professionals like Alexandra but also just dancers themselves posting like we are. People who are literate and know how to compose a sentence that makes sense, not sentences that people have to contrive and work at and give 'extra credit' to force them to make sense they don't have as written. I parsed several of his 'sentences', and some of them are not even grammatically decent, much less in a decent spirit. As a writer myself, I can tell you something about what writing is and is not.

It is obvious that one can give anybody the benefit of the doubt. It is something some here want to do, it can feel generous but it needs to be sincerely believed, so these do believe it. I don't. I think it rings false, and so do others here. While it is true, as Hans says, that one is often assumed to be gay because of being in the ballet profession, it is also true of pianists, in the exact same way--I have been through this myself and been called sissy years ago when I was a budding pianist, been beaten up by rednecks in Alabama, been thought sissy because a pianist and thought gay for not dating girls in high school (they don't know that I then started dating them and having sex with them as well as men). I then toughened myself and nobody fooled with me. Radetsky seems to have as well ('we need to go outside', my version was 'meet me after school'), but wants to talk about it and get special sympathy, which he has found somehow. Frankly, he sounds a little like a sissy to me in some ways--you know, if you've been through that, it doesn't necessarily mean an insult. Perhaps I should phrase it: 'Some of my colleagues are straight sissies. Can we move on now?' Of course, by 'sissy', I do not mean 'gay'. That is what he meant. He wrote: "Ironically, the stereotype of the sissy male dancer has given rise to a male dancer who is anything but." By 'sissy', he clearly meant 'gay', and he meant the established perception of 'ballet sissy' to mean 'gay'--there is no way to mean 'sissy' without meaning 'gay'. He was not thinking of 'straight sissies.' Ballet has as much to do with gay male ballet dancers as it does with straight male dancers, no matter what anyone wants this to be. He was talking about straight male dancers as opposed to gay male dancers.

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I'll admit, as a current member of a ballet company and being long-involved with all things ballet, this article was a bit of the 'same-old, same-old' for me. As has been already noted on this thread, this article isn't particularly ground-breaking or shocking.

HOWEVER. While we, as a small population of balletomanes, feel that we have heard this argument again and again, the American population at large has not. The fact is, most of these types of articles appear in ballet-related magazines, websites, etc. So I think we should be happy that ballet, in ANY shape and form, is being subtly advertised. I know that I need to explain to my boyfriend over and over that no, not all of they guys I dance with are gay. In fact, gay dancers are actually the minority in the company I dance with. The problem that I see with these so-called "macho dancers" is that they are also reinforcing a stereotype--if a male dancer isn't gay, he's sex-crazed. Of course they don't say it like that, but it is certainly implied. Again, if I tell my boyfriend that a guy I dance with is straight, he automatically assumes that he must be hitting on me. Part of this is of course is him being petty and jealous, but the other part is the fact that articles like this convey that straight male dancers are just in it for the girls. If these sorts of articles continue, I just wish that the "I got into ballet for the girls in tight clothes" excuse would be phased out. :)

-Carmen

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I think he deserves the benefit of the doubt. If gays and lesbians were suddenly as accepted and respected everywhere as straights, wouldn't most remaining closeted gays and lesbians still rush out of the closet to declare their sexual identity? And when they did, would we presume they were implicitly putting down straights? Why should we judge Radetsky by another standard? People want to be known for who they are; St. Patricks' Day parades are not about putting down the French and the Germans.

No, but the St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York could be said to be about putting down gays, although I have little interest in that and never cared about it. Likewise, since I have so little gay identity, I can see when someone wants to proclaim straight identity, and I find both pretty boring. I think Radetsky wants to get the privileges he perceives in the straight establishment by making sure to identify himself as 'not gay'.

Radetsky writes well for a man who spends his working hours in a dance studio and not at a keyboard, but we shouldn't expect the same clarity we'd expect from a professional. If the subtext of the article was "I'm not one of those disreputable gays," why would he mention Nureyev as one of the "pioneers" who "opened minds"?

Because Nureyev managed to become famous despite a gayness and even outrageous promiscuity that was even flaunted, and that's what's crucial. He certainly didn't mean Nureyev 'opened minds' toward accepting anybody's sexuality, but rather opened up ballet to bigger audiences--especially though that he was hugely successful. I know plenty of people who don't spend their time at a keyboard, including dancers, who write decently and often very well. I don't think he writes well by any standards, so that it has to be accepted that some want to take a somewhat Christian-compassionate attitude toward it, and some are not going to. Almost any quoted remark by Suzanne Farrell, without any forethought, is better, when she talks about 'fantasy and how she likes it, that there's little enough of it in the world' when she was doing 'Cinderella' in Chicago years ago, or just even talking about how 'I like dancing with Peter, it's a pleasure.' It sounds banal and nothing, but it always rings true and makes you rethink that very simple thing. I use that example only because she, so silent and reserved, is not even one of the ones we usually think of as being the most verbal, but every time she opens her mouth, there is something there that is not advertising itself. And the many others who speak a lot more, like Melissa Hayden, really tell you something about how dancers can articulate and speak truly: Nobody was better than Hayden at explaining certain things about Balanchine's musicianship, for example. There are even some dancers and dance writers here at Ballet Talk that really write, and not just the fine professionals like Alexandra but also just dancers themselves posting like we are. People who are literate and know how to compose a sentence that makes sense, not sentences that people have to contrive and work at and give 'extra credit' to force them to make sense they don't have as written. I parsed several of his 'sentences', and some of them are not even grammatically decent, much less in a decent spirit. As a writer myself, I can tell you something about what writing is and is not.

It is obvious that one can give anybody the benefit of the doubt. It is something some here want to do, it can feel generous but it needs to be sincerely believed, so these do believe it. I don't. I think it rings false, and so do others here. While it is true, as Hans says, that one is often assumed to be gay because of being in the ballet profession, it is also true of pianists, in the exact same way--I have been through this myself and been called sissy years ago when I was a budding pianist, been beaten up by rednecks in Alabama, been thought sissy because a pianist and thought gay for not dating girls in high school (they don't know that I then started dating them and having sex with them as well as men). I then toughened myself and nobody fooled with me. Radetsky seems to have as well ('we need to go outside', my version was 'meet me after school'), but wants to talk about it and get special sympathy, which he has found somehow. Frankly, he sounds a little like a sissy to me in some ways--you know, if you've been through that, it doesn't necessarily mean an insult. Perhaps I should phrase it: 'Some of my colleagues are straight sissies. Can we move on now?' Of course, by 'sissy', I do not mean 'gay'. That is what he meant. He wrote: "Ironically, the stereotype of the sissy male dancer has given rise to a male dancer who is anything but." By 'sissy', he clearly meant 'gay', and he meant the established perception of 'ballet sissy' to mean 'gay'--there is no way to mean 'sissy' without meaning 'gay'. He was not thinking of 'straight sissies.' Ballet has as much to do with gay male ballet dancers as it does with straight male dancers, no matter what anyone wants this to be. He was talking about straight male dancers as opposed to gay male dancers.

I disagree with much of what you've said. First of all, I think the majority would agree that he is arguing that, due to the stereotype of sissy male dancers (which IS separate from sexuality), and the need of many male dancers to defend themselves, their masculinity and their chosen area of interest, male dancers have been toughened up as a result.

I also take issue with you saying that Radetsky is "seeking special sympathy." This isn't an "oh woah as me" article nor is it a plea for pity or recognition.

And while this article could be taken apart and analyzed to death, I agree with Sascha Radetsky's overall approach to the issue at hand, which is getting respect for male ballet dancers. His approach is very pragmatic, though I doubt he consciously made the decision to go about it in such a way. Let's be honest, ballet does not, and frankly will not ever appeal to certain portions of the overall population, which is fine with me, because in the same manner, I will NEVER understand the appeal of baseball. I will however, readily admit, that baseball is difficult and that if I went up to bat I would inevitably injure myself before the first pitch was thrown (I think ballet is much more difficult, but perhaps that's just my personal bias :)). What Radetsky is trying to do is get a respect for the art of ballet, specifically for male dancers.

Articles like this are necessary, but to make them nuanced to the degree that some here seem to expect is not practical or realistic. If he launched into a discussion about the various natures of heterosexual and homosexual dancers and the stereotypes surrounding both and what both bring with them to the stage etc., not only would he have strayed entirely from his purpose, but the majority of the people reading would glaze over, if Newsweek had even printed something like that. One could draw a comparison to today's news. Most shows have 30 second clips of inflammatory remarks and then 4 minutes of 16 people giving opposing viewpoints all the while the camera is constantly changing angles with graphics gone wild. If you want insightful discussion, you have to go to some obscure public broadcast channel or seek out unbiased web pages. The 30 second clips draw the most viewers, and I see this article as the male ballet dancers' 30 second clip.

I question how many Newsweek Readers gave it more than a glance. I certainly doubt it will be a catalyst for some kind of mass cultural shift, but I think this articles net impact will be positive. If nothing else, I have no doubt that more than a few aspiring male dancers felt encouraged by the article.

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Some thoughts on this thread.

Rudi was universally accepted as a great dancer and a gorgeous man. he also was perceived to have bravely stood up to the USSR at a time when the cold war was a very hot item and he was thrust into the spotlight at the time as much for his defection as for his skill which was not well know in this country.

Publishing an article about ballet in a national news weekly must be seen as an overall marketing attempt to bring the mainstream to ballet. As others have pointed out, the stereotype issues are well known and often discussed within the ballet community and their publications. So the content of the Sasha's article doesn't brave any new territory.

Not being a ballet dancer I have no idea of what it is like on a day to day basis to deal with the stereotypes of the male dancer as gay. Obviously this is less a problem within the dance world than it would be for the male dancer when he has to interface with those outside of the dance community. But I don't think such an article would have much effect at tearing down these stereotypes.

There are really two over arching approaches here. Get society to accept homosexuality and give up their bigotry. And this would apply to all professions. Or introduce the world to the fact that there are plenty of straight males in ballet and crash thew stereotype that all males in ballet are gay. Sasha seems to be working on the second on and chose a well read national news weekly to stage on battle in the struggle.

Someone above raised the notion that it is ballet itself which fosters, encourages and embraces gay males and hence is, ironically, part of the the myth creation that if a male is a ballet dancer he must be gay. That is the area where some light needs to focused. Is there any basis to make such a connection?

I suppose some might argue that the attraction to "beauty" is something that straight males seem not to be interested in. But surely this doesn't apply to painting or sculpture. While there have been many brilliant gay artists, there are many straight and this stererotype, the gay artist, thought it may exist is hardly as strong as it is for ballet. It doesn't seem to apply to Tango or Flamenco, break dancing, hip hop, ballroom or tap dancing just to name a few dance genres where they stereotype seems not to apply.

So where does the stereotype come from? Is it the men in tights thing? Tights are women's clothing and so men who work in and feel comfortable in must be gay. I have no idea how the stereotype is built, so I am speculating. But there are other professions where macho type males are wearing skin tight clothing such as triathalon and luge suits. Could the stereotype come down to what dancers wear in some ballets and in rehearsal? It seems irrational but that's how bigotry works - non rational thinking.

And how about this. What is the big deal that ballet might attract more gay than straight men? Are there more gays proportionately who are attracted to careers in the arts as opposed to macho professions such as race car drivers or soccer players, or carpenters or masons? There are lots of stereotypes out there and some represent short cuts in thinking and though not universally applicable they they have elements of truth to them. Think of the the lithe bun head with a big dance bag over her shoulder. That a stereotype of a female dance student, ain't it?

The fact is, that whatever the percentage of gay males in ballet and the arts in general, there are straight ones, married ones with children and so forth.

So in the end, what is the impact of the stereotype? Is it affecting the attendance at ballet? Is it experienced as discrimination by dancers both gay and straight inside or outside of dance? Are dancers such as Sasha being hit on my gay males all the time and are weary from turning away advances? Are they subject to ridicule? On the face being a straight male in a ballet seems like a great gig, don't it? You work with lots of beautiful women (and men) all day long and you don't have to sit at a desk and peer into a computer screen. If I could change presto into a straight ballet dancer from my own profession, I would do it in a New York minute.

Does any of this make sense?

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I'll admit, as a current member of a ballet company and being long-involved with all things ballet, this article was a bit of the 'same-old, same-old' for me. As has been already noted on this thread, this article isn't particularly ground-breaking or shocking.

HOWEVER. While we, as a small population of balletomanes, feel that we have heard this argument again and again, the American population at large has not. The fact is, most of these types of articles appear in ballet-related magazines, websites, etc. So I think we should be happy that ballet, in ANY shape and form, is being subtly advertised.

Thanks, Petite-Arabesque, or putting your position so clearly. (I'm envy the gift of keeping things succinct. :smilie_mondieu: )

It's especially good to hear from young people actively engaged in the profession -- as dancers, teachers, etc. You are the people who the most affected. As an older person, a non-dancer, and an outsider, I often find myself turning these issues into something a little too hypothetical.

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I was going to quote the exact same lines of Petite Arabesque that you did, bart.

I guess I should identify myself as a member of the "American population at large" who hasn't "heard the argument again and again". My overall reaction to the article was positive - "hey, something about ballet in Newsweek!" That doesn't happen every day. As a parent of a dancer my appreciation for ballet is relatively new, so this wasn't a stale topic at all for me.

In some areas there is a dearth of male dancers of whatever orientation.... where I come from, if you're a guy that wants to dance, you'll be welcomed and befriended. Anything that could possibly spark or support the interest of a young man seems like a positive to me. And that was my second response to the article. The gay/straight comments.... I guess I glossed over them. Or maybe they really weren't that important. It seems to me they have been blown a little out of proportion in this thread.....

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I guess I should identify myself as a member of the "American population at large" who hasn't "heard the argument again and again". My overall reaction to the article was positive - "hey, something about ballet in Newsweek!" That doesn't happen every day. As a parent of a dancer my appreciation for ballet is relatively new, so this wasn't a stale topic at all for me.

In some areas there is a dearth of male dancers of whatever orientation.... where I come from, if you're a guy that wants to dance, you'll be welcomed and befriended. Anything that could possibly spark or support the interest of a young man seems like a positive to me. And that was my second response to the article. The gay/straight comments.... I guess I glossed over them. Or maybe they really weren't that important. It seems to me they have been blown a little out of proportion in this thread.....

Well, they are among the first words in his article, and I think b/c one hasn't encountered an "argument" before doesn't mean that it's unimportant. Sexuality is a big part of the practice of dance--for better or for worse--and I don't think we need to run away from it. Also, I think that the article speaks to young men in different ways. Had I read that as a young man, for instance, I might have been attracted to dance b/c of the picture of Sascha, but also potentially worried by the anxiety that gayness seems to inspire in the article.

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I don't disagree with you Ray, he certainly did mention stereotypes and sexuality (or orientation) within his first few sentences. Nor do I think we need to run away from these issues.

I just think that his main intention for writing was to further the prospect that ballet can be a masculine pursuit, "in order to move toward an appreciation of the athleticism and artistry involved in this line of work".

Of course one person's writings are going to be based on their own perspectives and experiences. Just as we readers tend to react and make interpretations of those writings from our own personal perspectives. And maybe because I am less representative of the "small population of balletomanes" and read the essay more from the perspective of the general public, I got a different message.

The message I got didn't have much to do with sexual orientation, but was more focused on the athleticism and art that male dancers in general bring to their work. And that seems to me, is a very positve message to be found in the mainstream press.

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This may be OT, but I wonder if there are any studies of about the non ballet attending audience and why they choose NOT to attend?

It would seem to me, that once you open yourself up to the "beauty of ballet" of males and females who move exquisitely, with extremely well toned, developed and flexible bodies, gay or straight simply does not figure into the calculus.

The love of beauty and movement is not a gay or straight thing. it's a human thing. Ain't it?

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From the cited article:

Weir’s outfits often sparkle like disco balls; in his short program he pretends to be a seagull. His total package has not only led to assumptions that he is gay — something not as taboo in figure skating as in other sports — but a controversy over his not being the right type of gay. During a figure skating broadcast last year, the announcer Mark Lund, who is openly gay, said, “I don’t think he’s representative of the community I want to be a part of,” and, “I don’t need to see a prima ballerina on the ice,” before praising Lysacek’s masculinity.

....

Getting more serious, Weir continued: “If I was out to please 10-year-old girls and their 45-year-old mothers in Boise, Idaho, I could play the game and be nice and make my voice deeper. But I don’t see the point. I’m not alive for 10-year-old girls and their 45-year-old mothers in Boise, Idaho — or Colorado Springs, Colo.”

....

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This may be OT, but I wonder if there are any studies of about the non ballet attending audience and why they choose NOT to attend?
I don't know how you'd identify non-ballet goers, but I guess if you stopped people on a random selection of streets, you could get such a group. And my guess is that their answers would be pretty much the same as mine would be if asked why I don't attend boxing matches -- "Simply not interested, better things to do with my time and money."
Speaking of stereotypes - I don't know what to say about this article ... it's the NY Times, so mainstream?
Speaking of stereotypes indeed! The writer juxtaposes details like Weir's fur coat and Vuitton bag vs. Lysacek's truck. :smilie_mondieu:

Thanks, KarenD, for reminding us that not everyone lives in a ballet bubble. :clapping:

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Speaking of stereotypes indeed! The writer juxtaposes details like Weir's fur coat and Vuitton bag vs. Lysacek's truck.

I think the subject of the NYT article is stereotypes. As both Weir and Lysacek are projecting a certain image and style, and consciously so, it seems fair comment.

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From the cited article:

Weir's outfits often sparkle like disco balls; in his short program he pretends to be a seagull. His total package has not only led to assumptions that he is gay — something not as taboo in figure skating as in other sports — but a controversy over his not being the right type of gay. During a figure skating broadcast last year, the announcer Mark Lund, who is openly gay, said, "I don't think he's representative of the community I want to be a part of," and, "I don't need to see a prima ballerina on the ice," before praising Lysacek's masculinity.

What did Lund mean by "community"? In the context of the article (or rather maybe this thread), there's a lot of ambiguity. Probably all that Lund meant was the Figure Skating community, period, and Weir's prickly self-righteousness (he's clearly not relying on the power of good public relations) may be a prime reason.

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Thanks, KarenD, for reminding us that not everyone lives in a ballet bubble. :thumbsup:

And thank you, carbro, for your kind reply.... let me add there are days that I feel dangerously susceptible to being "sucked into the bubble..." :lol:

Not that that would be a bad thing. I just hope to be able to maintain enough of my "outsider's perspective" to help others in the general public understand, appreciate, (and ultimately help support) this wonderful world. That's why I feel that any press about ballet has at least some redeeming quality.

In regards to the NYT article, this piece is clearly about 2 very different styles of performance, that perhaps can fairly be compared to different stereotypes. Although I would prefer not to pigeon hole these two unique individuals into stereotypes, but simply compare and contrast what they offer in their competition/performances. But going back to the original topic of this thread.... that is still a diferent theme from the Newsweek piece, IMHO.

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Couldn’t resist posting this one. More sissy stuff, this time via Russell Maliphant.

What's the biggest myth about male dancers?

That we're all sissies. Most of us are actually very powerful.

“The rest of them, yeah, you could call them sissies,” Maliphant did not add.

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In regards to the NYT article, this piece is clearly about 2 very different styles of performance, that perhaps can fairly be compared to different stereotypes. Although I would prefer not to pigeon hole these two unique individuals into stereotypes, but simply compare and contrast what they offer in their competition/performances. But going back to the original topic of this thread.... that is still a diferent theme from the Newsweek piece, IMHO.

I've seen both Weir and Lysacek skate a number of times live. Yes, off-ice, Weir wears the occasional dress and heels and makes what are for figure skating outrageous and inflammatory comments, and , his costumes are more ornate than Lysacek's, and Lysacek wears black and skates to macho toreador music -- although Weir's costumes work well in the arena, compared to Lysacek's which are great in close-ups and bland in the arena, and Weir's aren't remotely outre in context (for that see Kevin Van der Perren's embarrassing "Lawrence of Arabia" get-up he wore at the beginning of the season). Lysacek gets props for attempting and sometimes landing the quad -- his strategy is get as comfortable as possible with it in competition in preparation for the Vancouver Olympics, while Weir couldn't get it off the practice ice -- and for coming back fighting and nearly winning bronze in Torino with a blazing free skate after skating very ill in the Short Program and burying himself.

However, watch their movement quality: Weir is more muscular, and he goes deep in the thigh to get speed, flow, and deep edges. He has wonderful height and distance on his jumps -- Worlds Free Skate notwithstanding, as he was a tight, nervous wreck by his own account -- and his landing position is impeccable, in the skater equivalent of plie, with a strong back and great flow. He also has a textbook 3Axel, both solo and in combination, while Lysacek has dodgy technique on his, and has been inconsistent with it. (The 3Axel is a big macho jump, too.) Lysacek is much leaner, and in my opinion. he's a bit gawky. he gains speed with quick, not deep cross-overs, and his jumps, while flashier, don't have the same power or consistency or technique as Weirs', despite the quad hype.

The last time I saw them together was during last year's non-defunct Champions on Ice tour. Weir's skating was virile and alive. I thought Lysacek looked anemic and was a shadow of the skater who put down a bronze-medal-winning freeskate in Moscow in 2005. To me he looks like the kid who's willing to do the Latin dances at a bar mitzvah. Not particularly authentic, but gets points for chutzpah and willingness

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