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cubanmiamiboy

Are you a Balletomane...?

Do you consider yourself a balletomane?   55 members have voted

  1. 1. Time to confess...

    • Yes
      33
    • No
      9
    • Not sure
      4
    • Yes, but wouldn't say it out loud
      9

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68 posts in this topic

I think that most dancers are would be wise to keep a distance though, as over the years I've encountered more sociopaths amongst ballet fans than in any other areas of life.

No offense, Mahinka, I'm sure you've seen plenty of it and that there is, but mightn't it be your greater experience with them? This is a sincere question, as I would have thought rock stars and movie stars would have more the sociopaths. Actually, hadn't heard of the very worst sort of ballet stalker till Leonid wrote about this idiot actually going into the men's room with Nureyev. I confess to wanting to know what he said to her to shorten her visit...it may well have cured her of her fandom for good! I mean, we hear about Stephanopooulous or Meg Ryan or Jodi Foster or that troll that got into the queen's Buckingham Palace bedroom, but even though I've been around ballet somewhat over the years, I never heard of ballet stalkers till today. Although with Nureyev, I should have already thought of it.

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I was once sent a series of creepy, stalker-ish postcards as a student. It was very disturbing.

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When I was a teen and started to go to the ballet, I remember my older balletomane friends, who would always go to the stage door to greet their favorite stars. I never went backstage, due to some shyness, and the fact that I don't really like to bother them. But in Cuba, the stage door was THE place. I remember observing my friends going toward the bailarinas, taking pictures with them and chatting...sometimes even going with them to eat after the performance. That really has never interested me, and the only occasion that I truly interacted with anyone was when I went to do my practical exam to get my driver license in Havana. Suddenly I saw this familiar face coming toward the parking lot where the test would take place, and then, I realized that Lorna Feijoo had made her driving test appointment right after mine, with the same instructor. I approached her and while waiting for the professor we started chatting. I tried not to overwhelmed her with praising or to look intrusive, and she was very down to earth and cute. Here in Miami I've met this other type who really seem to be fixated with the dancers more than with ballet itself. Conversations revolve non stopping around the dancer/person/persona, and sometimes there's even little interest in ballet history, music, literature and the like. For me, I don't even like to see them out of character. At the end, is the character what really interests me, not the real person behind the tutu.

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For me, I don't even like to see them out of character. At the end, is the character what really interests me, not the real person behind the tutu.

That's a good point, and also unless you are also a ballet dancer, they might not be as interesting as people to someone else, and may prefer their own, so they can mostly talk about dance and related issues--I've definitely run into this, and it's usually a quick realization of little in common, unless it's time off, a vacation period, etc. Of course, there are a lot of exceptions to this. Ballet dancers are also more disciplined, like opera singers and classical musicians, and aren't probably usually as colorful as characters as some pop entertainers, but those also usually prefer others 'like them'. Nureyev is an exception, in that he's a fascinating character as well as great artist. Then way back to the old days with Pavlova maybe, and some like Danilova, but i can think of some of my favourite ballet dancers being almost exclusively interesting and adorable onstage. Opera singers too. I love Kiri TeKanawa, but if I got a chance to spend some cafe time with Catherine Deneuve, I'd much prefer that, because she'd be funny... :FIREdevil:

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Well, I wouldn't say I'd like to have any significant interaction with any of them, but I would say I often find dancers' stories "interesting" ... for instance, Natalia Magnicaballi, of Suzanne Farrell Ballet and Ballet Arizona, supported her entire family as a dancer while still a child. Humberto Banderas, also of Ballet Arizona, escaped Cuba in a wooden fishing boat, was threatened by smugglers with being thrown overboard, had to swim to shore, and got his job basically as a walk-on. Russell Clarke, of Ballet Az, has been the subject of a BBC special about 4 dancing brothers from a tiny Scottish mining town. The journalist in me thinks that the people are usually interesting, as well as the dance. I don't want any sort of personal interaction with any of them, but I *would* like to interview a lot of them!

On the other hand, I have skipped all of the various opportunities (fund-raisers) to talk to or dance with dancers -- I'd rather just send a check, when I can. What I don't mind doing is telling them a performance was wonderful or inspiring, assuming it was, or otherwise providing an ego-boost.

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I have sympathy with SandyMcKean’s point of view but I feel it is financially difficult for a lot of people to go to every cast change of a particular ballet and I would add that a balletomane knows which performance to go to and those to avoid.

I could let this go, and I am definitely not feeling defensive, but this distinction may be an important point in attempting to identify oneself as being afflicted with "balletomania", so I will amplify:

My words were:

"obsessed with seeing multiple casts"

And that's exactly what I meant. I see it just as you do leonid, a true balletomane likely avoids some casts just as well as insists on seeing multiple casts. But the essense is the need to see multiple casts -- the feeling that if you don't, the entire experience lacks dimension. There is the cost issue, but beyond someone who is living a true low income lifestyle, cost is usually handled by the quality of the seat and by avoiding other expenses (PNB has some $25 seats open to every goer for every performance).

I'll just speak for me......it is seeing different dancers in the some production that adds the extra dimensions to the work. I am reminded of Picasso's "need" to paint a woman from multiple angles all at once or resign himself to not capturing her at all (well, capturing her alright, but only with a misleading representation since so much would be left out). True, I know all my dancers, and I love to see them all dance, but my real motivation is to see multiple artists interpret the same piece, the same role. It is from all those angles that I get insight into the piece (I could even say learn to love the piece). There is another benefit I didn't expect. When I know I am going to see a production 2 or 3 times, I can relax and pay attention to details, emotions, corps work, the orchestra, etc -- a freedom I never felt before I regularly started going to each production more than once. I no longer worry about "getting it", or missing something. If I want to watch a corps dancer for 5 minutes with my binoculars (following him/her around the stage), I do it since I know I will get a chance later to see what I missed. Sometimes I just watch all the feet, other times all the arms. I find my "dance education" goes up exponentially by seeing multiple casts because these other avenues (angles) open up that are impossible to explore with just one performance.

Bottom line....I agree: it's multiple casts, certainly not all casts (except sometimes :FIREdevil:)

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SandyMcKean -- my thoughts, exactly! On those occasions when I am able to see only one show, there's no question that it is a much more limited experience.

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Arizona Native--I don't think I responded to Cristian quite properly. Frankly, I DO like to see actors, dancers, singers in 'real life', out of their character. It doesn't spoil the magic for me at all. And I've known a lot of dancers over the years, and liked many of them, still do. I just think that, like musicians and actors, they do often themselves prefer each others' company, because they understand each other well. But I also know that, when it's possible to make the connection and there is time to reach a bit further than usual to communicate, it's quite rewarding. I think the main thing is figuring out how it's going to be a mutually beneficial and pleasurable exchange, and if it is, then that's the ticket, of course. Probably it's the matter of scheduling more than anything else that makes it difficult to get to know people in all sorts of artistic disciplines, but I certainly know that having known some dancers well has been as important as anything else in making me appreciate and love dance.

We probably pulled back a little too far because of the discussion of obnoxious fans, which is true of any field, I guess. It's equally important not to be too shy when one has the opportunity to enrich oneself with personal contact with artists. All the writers I've met have only meant even more to me by having had some personal contact and conversation with them. Same with dancers, painters, singers, and the rest. The obstacle is usually just 'the business' and being able to 'talk shop', etc.

Like the way you introduced that new element into the discussion, as it made me remember all those ballet associations I had without ever having thought about it, like my ATM card!

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:FIREdevil: Difficult one this, I do fit into the stated catergories of a Balletomaine, but really consider myself to be a Ex professional member of staff in a ballet company. Sometimes members of the public who were "besotted by Ballet" could be an embarresment and nuisance at the stage door etc, to Dancers and Staff alike. This may sound a little harsh, but some people could be way over the top, chasing people . I suppose it was a form of hero worship. The view from the inside is very different from the audience.

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Papeetepatrick and Nanarina -- yes, chasing people, creepy (sometimes sexual) fixation is something else again. It is an unfortunate hazard for anyone in the public eye. The stalkers may or may not know the first thing about ballet -- stalker status should definately disqualify anyone from being considered a "balletomane."

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I have sympathy with SandyMcKean’s point of view but I feel it is financially difficult for a lot of people to go to every cast change of a particular ballet and I would add that a balletomane knows which performance to go to and those to avoid.

I could let this go, and I am definitely not feeling defensive, but this distinction may be an important point in attempting to identify oneself as being afflicted with "balletomania", so I will amplify:

My words were:

"obsessed with seeing multiple casts"

And that's exactly what I meant. I see it just as you do leonid, a true balletomane likely avoids some casts just as well as insists on seeing multiple casts. But the essense is the need to see multiple casts -- the feeling that if you don't, the entire experience lacks dimension. There is the cost issue, but beyond someone who is living a true low income lifestyle, cost is usually handled by the quality of the seat and by avoiding other expenses (PNB has some $25 seats open to every goer for every performance).

I'll just speak for me......it is seeing different dancers in the some production that adds the extra dimensions to the work. I am reminded of Picasso's "need" to paint a woman from multiple angles all at once or resign himself to not capturing her at all (well, capturing her alright, but only with a misleading representation since so much would be left out). True, I know all my dancers, and I love to see them all dance, but my real motivation is to see multiple artists interpret the same piece, the same role. It is from all those angles that I get insight into the piece (I could even say learn to love the piece). There is another benefit I didn't expect. When I know I am going to see a production 2 or 3 times, I can relax and pay attention to details, emotions, corps work, the orchestra, etc -- a freedom I never felt before I regularly started going to each production more than once. I no longer worry about "getting it", or missing something. If I want to watch a corps dancer for 5 minutes with my binoculars (following him/her around the stage), I do it since I know I will get a chance later to see what I missed. Sometimes I just watch all the feet, other times all the arms. I find my "dance education" goes up exponentially by seeing multiple casts because these other avenues (angles) open up that are impossible to explore with just one performance.

Bottom line....I agree: it's multiple casts, certainly not all casts (except sometimes :))

I believe that Sandy McKean and I are at basics, singing from the same hymn sheet.

Many a true balletomane shares their thoughts and views with other like minded persons and that is what we are doing here. When Sandy McKean says, “For example, someone who has a subscription and only sees a single performance of each program (and therefore not obsessed with seeing multiple casts) is likely not a balletomane even if they were the most knowledgeable person on the planet. “

In London in the past, almost all of the very best criticisms of new ballets were written after seeing one performance only of a new work and published the next morning. Some critics will go to see other casts if they perhaps warrant a viewing but I do not agree when you state, “But the essence is the need to see multiple casts -- the feeling that if you don't, the entire experience lacks dimension.”

I am not sure how we can measure everybody’s experience of what you call dimension as we all see performances through different eyes and use different measurements which may or may not coincide with others even in part.

“True, I know all my dancers, and I love to see them all dance, but my real motivation is to see multiple artists interpret the same piece, the same role. It is from all those angles that I get insight into the piece (I could even say learn to love the piece).”

I speak for me alone when I say in general I believe we only get true insight into a work when the choreographers chosen first cast is exhibited, because they have been chosen as an essential part of the creative process and the work has evolved with them or their type in the choreographers minds eye.

I personally go to see every first cast performance of a new work that I have appreciated, to embed the choreographer’s intention in my memory. For me subsequent casts have never or rarely met the experience that a first cast has given me. However that does not mean that I will not go to see a different cast if the work is revived.

It does mean that however much I compare and contrast the very many Odette-Odiles I have seen; I can never see them as Ivanov and Petipa did but only as I observe them.

Balanchine said something like, that his ballet would not be danced the same way after he died. Older balletomanes know this because they have been a witness and I believe that we have to learn as much as possible about production values and early casts of ballets, where possible, place them in context, watch films and also review what has been published to gain some insight wherein we can tentatively say, “I think I know quite a lot about this or that ballet.” Am I a balletomane?

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Among other things, in seeing this discussion, I've come to the conclusion that anybody who actually cares what a "balletomane" is, is likely to be one. :)

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Among other things, in seeing this discussion, I've come to the conclusion that anybody who actually cares what a "balletomane" is, is likely to be one. :pinch:
Makes sense to me! :innocent:

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Here's another potential poll in re balletomaneness:

Most of us attend ballet performances for a variety of mixed motives. But if you had to characterize your reasons in one of three ways, would you say that in the main you generally attend ballet performances to see:

( ) particular dancers, no matter what the work

( ) particular works, no matter who's dancing

( ) particular dancers dancing specific works

Again, this is asking you to generalize your experience (but you could interpret "particular dancers" to mean "particular companies"; similarly, you could interpret "particular works" to mean particular kinds of works, i.e., the classics, or particular choreographers)

Moderators, if you think this is interesting/useful in terms of what makes up a balletomane, perhaps you could convert it to the spiffy poll format.

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Ray, you're question is a great one. I was thinking about it and how other factors, besides time and money, would influence these decisions, and I've expanded on your question in a two-part poll:

What Drives You to See a Performance--Part 1

What Drives You to See a Performance--Part 2

We can't correlate answers -- i.e., 50% of those who choose performances because their child/relative/friend are in it are not subscribers -- and we don't know who responded to what question.

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I love ballet so much i am proud to say it

"Say it once and say it loud...I am a balletomane and I am proud..!!" :thumbsup:

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