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When should they stop?

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21 replies to this topic

#16 atm711


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Posted 11 June 2001 - 07:34 PM

My first reaction is to say -- "Get out while the going's good!"

I saw Danilova countless times during the last 10 years of her career, and if she was to be judged on technique alone my feeling would be -- "it's time". But what a powerful stage presence she was--and I, for one, am happy that I saw her Odette and Swanilda and all the wonderful Massine ballets. I feel the same way about Alicia Markova. During the 15 years I observed her, her technique could only be described as "fuzzy" (you weren't quite sure what she was trying to do)--and she rarely raised her leg in arabesque above a 45 deg. angle (OK in "Giselle" and "Pas de Quatre" but it didnot quite work in Nutcracker PDD). For a few years she was the only one who danced "Taglioni", but once Alonso (in her glorious youth) took over the part, I finally saw the choreography that Dolin had devised. Notwithstanding all of this, I still feel privileged to have seen these two Ballerina Assolutas. This quality is very hard to come by.

#17 cargill


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Posted 12 June 2001 - 10:04 AM

Like most people, I am very grateful to have seen some dancers who were well past their prime, but who could bring some extra understanding and nuances to a role. I suspect that it is the technicians who age the fastest.

#18 LMCtech


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Posted 15 June 2001 - 04:01 PM

That is an intersting comment that I can't help but agree with. If Fonteyn had only had flawless technique, would she have still been so thrilling at 50.

I think a dancer needs to stop performing when everyone else can tell they are in pain. I wish Merce Cunningham would take himself offstage. Every time I see him, I ache in my own hips.

#19 Lukayev



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Posted 15 June 2001 - 11:42 PM

I just came up with this question --

If some ballet company were to keep back a 'short' person as the techinician of the company, like how the Kirov was going to make Baryshnikov dance the Peasant pdd his entire life, does that mean that companies who believe in this kind of casting shorten the dancing life of their dancers?

Some people do escape the wrath of the artistic director and dance Albrecht but some people don't. I was reading this Pointe magazine entry on a day of Miranda Weese's life, and she explained how NYCB usually cast her in very techincally demanding roles and how certain parts were usually for the 'tall, grand ballerinas'.

If someone were to be typecast as technician, I think that's a bit unfair for those who are second choice to those 'tall, grand ballerinas' so fabled in ballet lore. :) I'm sure these people have their artistic gifts too, but what if the audience can only "see" them onstage as the evil-fast petit allegro soloist? Does that mean their career may only be confined to how long their bodies can carry out the execution of the steps?


#20 Terry


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Posted 16 June 2001 - 01:07 AM

I also see it in this way:

Some dancers, when they are young, concentrate on their "techinique" because they have the energy and the power to dance technically. When they can't use that technique anymore, some dancers become true actors/actresses on stage by trying to focus more on their artistry. I think this is what is happening to Guillem at the moment. I actually think it's great that a young artist can use his/her technique all the way, as long as we see the artist "developing" into a real dancer as he/she grows older.

#21 Nanatchka


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Posted 25 June 2001 - 12:33 PM

Well watching Merce and aching in your own hips is a true kinesthetic response. I think you have to think of Merce's performances now not so much as dancing but as a kind of acting. Little essays on topics like balance, or look at you look at me, that sort of thing. THink Beckett, in particular Krapp's Last Tape and Happy End. And dear Alexandra, I so understand what you said about Fonteyn's "aura." I wouldn't have missed that, either. Not all great dancers appear marvelous when reduced to such aspects (as Arlene Croce said once, so memorably, of Patty McBride, "powered by desire alone," if I correctly recall), but those who do! (Nureyev, for instance, did not.)My husband once said, "You can always tell the choreographer--he's the only guy with grey chest hair. Still, I love seeing older dancers. I suspect this is because I like seeing people my own age on stage.

#22 LMCtech


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Posted 25 June 2001 - 06:13 PM

I also like to see older dancers onstage, though I am not terribly old. I think it adds depth to the performance as whole. I also tend to respect the choreographer more for not being youth obsessed.

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