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Dvorovenko and Ringer - What does a dancer need to continue to grow?


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#16 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 24 June 2000 - 10:55 AM

An apochryphal Makarova story from a friend.

When Makarova left Russia, she did guesting early on and was doing Giselle where my friend worked as costumiere. As he was pinning the skirt of her costume, she was unpinning the bodice. . .

He handed her the bowl of pins and said, "When you're done, I'll come back in."

Her assistant came out to intervene, promising that she would behave if he'd finish fitting the costume. It seems it did take a little work to handle her!

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#17 Guest_Gelsey_*

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Posted 28 June 2000 - 10:51 AM

But when you're that great, anyone will do anything to keep you happy.

#18 Sonora

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Posted 29 June 2000 - 09:07 PM

I cannot comment with any authority on Makarova! But while having roles created for you or at least being able to dance good ballets are vital to a dancer's development, I think coaching is in a way paramount. A good coach not only passes on his/her intimate knowledge of a ballet - knowledge that cannot be transmitted on paper or through video - but creates a physical and emotional bond with the dancer that I think is somehow vital, in that it allows the ballet to really live.
I believe that even the most inexperienced dance audience can sense when those physical and emotional 'links' from present to past are absent. They may not be able to pinpoint exactly WHY a performance is dissatisfying. But I think audiences will know something is missing. This is true for classical ballet, modern, etc.

#19 Alexandra

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Posted 29 June 2000 - 09:33 PM

I'll go with coaching. Having roles created for you helps Posted Image but I think of the Bolshoi dancers who went for more than a decade without a new ballet, yet still there were new stars and interesting personalities.

Sonora, I agree with you that the audience can sense when those physical and emotional 'links' from present to past are absent (and I loved the way you phrased that!) but I'm not sure that very inexperienced people could be expected to. In my experience, especially in a time when technique is so dominant and audiences are, in effect, being trained to only look at the athletic element.

#20 Sonora

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Posted 30 June 2000 - 08:27 AM

Yes, I hate to sound negative but it does seem that technique is what is being presented to audiences, and what is required of dancers, over what you might call artistry (I don't know of a better word offhand). I think it's part of a general cultural climate, at least in the U.S. I do feel that in order for ballet to remain vibrant both dancers and audiences have to be given something more substantial to think about than just technique. This is a huge responsibility, I think, that falls on the shoulders of all those who are teaching and coaching and staging ballets, and also those who write about dance.

#21 Yvonne

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Posted 30 June 2000 - 12:52 PM

Sonora & Alexandra, I just read the last two posts and I couldn't agree with you more. One of my favorite dancers is Alessandra Ferri. While she isn't always so strong in the techinical department, the lyical beauty of her dancing just draws me into whatever she is performing.

I don't know how many roles she has had made on her, or even what kind of coaching she has had, but as with Gelsey Kirkland, I'm willing to follow wherever they lead me in the dance.

The ability to "touch" the audience is very important IMHO. But I guess that leads us back to beginning....can the ability to "touch" be taught, or is it something a true artist is born with??

Of course, Ferri and Kirkland are just my examples of ballerina perfection. I'm sure you all have your own ideas of perfection and what makes perfection too! Posted Image

#22 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 30 June 2000 - 02:34 PM

Like in our questions about "Is it Art?" I don't think you can underestimate the importance of the viewer in this equation. It's what you see and interpret that makes it touching, as well as what the dancer is doing! It isn't just the artist, or the dancer, it's us; that's why I think there can't be a totally objective scale of art or artistry. That's also why I think we count fouettes or pirouettes, because at least they can be counted!

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#23 Yvonne

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Posted 30 June 2000 - 06:43 PM

Very true Leigh, (about the counting). I never thought of it like that before.....! Posted Image

#24 Michael

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Posted 09 July 2000 - 09:23 AM

On rethinking this, I think coaching and direction, and receptivity to that direction, are as important as having the chance to dance.

Look at Paloma Herrera, for instance, who is famously unreceptive to correction. She's amazing, she does things no one else can do (balances, for example) but she's really stopped developing far short of her potential. With all of that technical athleticism, beauty, charisma, and grace, what couldn't she do if she was determined to keep gaining?

If a dancer, when made principal, thinks, "O.K., I'm famous, the audience loves me and I'm being paid the big bucks, so why should I do anything different," that's fatal.

Thus, what a dancer needs to keep developing, in addition to the chance to use it, is the right direction, and even more, the determination and humility to keep working at it just as seriously as they did when they were fifteen years old in class.

[This message has been edited by Michael1 (edited July 09, 2000).]


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