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Are you a Balletomane...?


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Poll: Do you consider yourself a balletomane? (55 member(s) have cast votes)

Time to confess...

  1. Yes (33 votes [60.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 60.00%

  2. No (9 votes [16.36%])

    Percentage of vote: 16.36%

  3. Not sure (4 votes [7.27%])

    Percentage of vote: 7.27%

  4. Yes, but wouldn't say it out loud (9 votes [16.36%])

    Percentage of vote: 16.36%

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#31 Farrell Fan

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 11:04 AM

Thanks, Arizona Native and SandyMcKean! Although I have abjured being a balletomane, I can still recognize some traits: 1) You refer to dancers not by their first names but by their nicknames. 2) You know what Veronika Part thinks of Arvo Part. 3) You can pronounce PAMTGG. 4) You know all the ushers in the third and fourth rings. 5) You have vowed never to call it "The David H. Koch Theater." This is fun.

#32 Arizona Native

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 11:46 AM

How 'bout either

a) You have purposely gone to another city to see "your" company perform, or
b) You have planned your vacation around seeing a ballet.

Farrell Fan -- How *do* you pronounce PAMTGG? "Pamteg"? "Pamtug"?

#33 Farrell Fan

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 12:37 PM

PAMTGG is pronounced pamtuhguhguh. I wish I could remember where I learned this but I've forgotten. I did see the ballet though, and have mostly forgotten that.

#34 carbro

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 03:51 PM

... when
  • you have chosen to live within a five-minute walk to your favorite venue, obviating the whole telephone voice recognition business :P
  • you generally buy your tickets at the very last minute, so you don't get stuck holding a ticket for an unwanted cast.

Great topic, Arizona Native! :flowers:

#35 Marga

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 04:25 PM

..... 2) You know what Veronika Part thinks of Arvo Part.

I don't know what Veronika Part thinks of Arvo Pärt (their names are spelled differently -- "a" and "ä" are separate letters in the Estonian alphabet), but I know that both are Estonian! "Part" is Estonian for "duck", "Pärt" has no counterpart in general usage and is probably derivative of a word like "pärit" (alluding to one's lineage), for example. What does she think of him? :flowers:

I love the criteria lists and identify with many points! May I submit that a balletomane is prone to argue discuss infinitesimal details of a ballet, to wit:

A ten and a half year old Ballet Alert quiz (it doesn't say who wrote it) gives the following pronunciation for PAMTGG:
"Pam-Tee-Ga-Ga"
Scroll down to last quiz/answers -- it's the first question: Ballet Alert Quiz

The following review gives a pronunciation closer to Farrell Fan's:
"Pam-te-guh-guh"
1971 Time Magazine review

I have always (mistakenly, I guess) read and said "Pamtag". I did see the ballet, more than once, but don't remember it at all, even after reading about it on BT and in old reviews. Not one thing rings a bell, not the runway lights, the strange costumes, the clouds and stars -- nothing! I can't believe I have absolutely NO recollection of how it went.



#36 carbro

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 04:49 PM

"Part" is Estonian for "duck" ...

:P Are you absolutely sure that it isn't "swan"? :flowers:

#37 Marga

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 04:54 PM

Absolutely, carbro, much is the pity. lol

"Swan" is "luik".

#38 Quiggin

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 05:29 PM

You have chosen to live within a five-minute walk to your favorite venue...

: Carbro

And in New York you rate the ballets--or symphonies--by what streets you cross and you're still talking about them, such as 67th, 70th, or, if it's a great great performance, you're still going on about the ballet when you hit Fairway.

In San Francisco it's on the wonderful aquarium of the 47 or 49 Van Ness bus where a lot of ballet conversations take place. But here no one goes beyond the level of first names. If only.

Despite the horrid mug-shots in the program, you can instantly identify 75% of your "home" company members...

: Arizona Native

The worse part is being so dense you have conversations with company dancers and don't realize who they were until afterwards. I've done this twice. One of them told me that Balanchine was "the past," and that he was totally uninterested in his work, but I notice he's been dancing very well in two parts of Jewels this year.

#39 Arizona Native

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 08:19 PM

Quiggin, Carbro -- not being in a walkable metro area, I hadn't thought of those implications. How entertaining! I have noticed, however, that I judge audience enthusiasm somewhat by how long into the intermission people are still talking about the dance.

#40 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 02:29 PM

We could have a little more fun with this. How 'bout a few rounds of "You know you're a balletomane IF"?

You know you're a balletomane if...

...your computer screen-saver is a ballet-related image. Guilty as charged here. Mme. Alonso in Balanchine's "Waltz Academy" :clapping:

#41 Hans

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 07:46 PM

My mouse pad features ABT in Swan Lake....

#42 papeetepatrick

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 09:36 PM

My ATM card password has for about 10 years had Suzanne Farrell's initials in it--and mine as well, but there are highly charged numbers as well which refer to me--so you'd have a hard time figuring them out, or the order, so there will be no success by those with pernicious intent. Although someone else is my muse, and is a man, also a dancer (but not exactly a ballet dancer) but not even my book collaborators know who that is...I wrote a zany, campy song once about 'frenchification' and 'New York City Ballets' (that one is so good I really won't put it down, because someone would steal it, and it finally goes in my next year's book, the first chapter of which was inspired by 'La Valse'.) I've had framed photos on my walls in the past of both Farrell in 'Nijinsky Clown de Dieu' and 'Vienna Waltzes' and Peter Schaufuss in who cares what--that animal.. I consciously try to walk with a Peter Martins swagger sometimes, not quite as tall but several years younger...:clapping: I used to wear ballet shoes as house slippers..

True Friggin' Confessions this is....

#43 leonid17

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 01:30 AM

I would add to SanderO’s post and make a distinction between balletomane and fan.
The use of the word balletomane has only changed over time due to its misuse in newspapers.
In describing the Russian ballet devotee of the end of the 19th and early 20th century, the word balletomane was used to describe not the regular fans in the seats in “Paradise” at the St. Petersburg Maryinsky, but instead, the educated nobility and Imperial family members who were habitués and the artistic and literary fraternity of the Russian capital. Ballet had become a significant past-time of the Russian elite.
When Russian Ballet eventually arrived in Paris with Diaghilev’s “Saison Russe” in 1909 it was the artist and intellectuals of Paris that became ardent aesthetic balletomanes.
Both Haskell and Beaumont use the term in their writings and they were still using the word in its meaning of the cognoscenti.
Clues to the term’s various meaning can be seen in the Spanish words for balletomane “aficionada al ballet” and the Italian “maniaco del balleto” which appear to give the distinction between balletomane and fan.
In the early 1960’s in London at least, the more polite aesthetic use of the word for serious admirers of balletic art began to be abused by the press when they began to use balletomane when they meant the newly arrived category of “fans” a shortening of fanatic.
The word fan is considered by some to come from 19th century usage to describe a boxing “fancier” which meant a committed admiration for boxing and over time got shortened to fance and then fan which gives it obvious links to the modern use of the obsessive fanatic in a sporting context.
If academic classical ballet(ACB) had generally not been torn from its throne as a high art, I would as a serious admirer of this art form be quite happy to be called a balletomane. But as ACB
has through the influence of athletic neo-classicism and a gradual move towards gymnastic displays and may now, be in the process of becoming generally “sportiv” as several former Russian ballerinas have stated.
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.
All ballet companies are followed by serious balletomanes, but I undertake various manoeuvres to avoid the dreaded fans in London because as soon as they open their mouth to speak, they rob a performance of its aesthetics and drag it down to a narcissistic obsessive response.

I remember an example of one obsessed Nureyev fan who like others people had travelled to Zurich to see him dance and she was following in his shadow wherever he went. When they were at the airport to return to England, the obsession took on mythic fanlike behaviour. With nothing in view except her adored one, she followed him straight into the gentleman’s toilet and came out pretty quickly but not abashed by the event. Was she a balletomane? I think not, she was most definitely a fan.

#44 SanderO

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 02:54 AM

I am wondering if the distinction that Leonid makes leaves out the "serious" ballet lover who is neither obsessed fan, nor at the level of a balletomane, perhaps an aspiring balletomane but held back because of any number of reasons - lack of money, access, time, other pressing commitments, yet not the "obsessed" fawning fan?

#45 Mashinka

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 03:46 AM

A very good post Leonid, and I’m relieved to discover I may have some of the qualities of a true balletomane after all. :clapping:

but I undertake various manoeuvres to avoid the dreaded fans in London because as soon as they open their mouth to speak, they rob a performance of its aesthetics and drag it down to a narcissistic obsessive response.


That’s understandable as London ballet fans are uniquely partisan and insular in their opinions in my view, though that hasn’t always been the case.

The Nureyev fan story made my jaw drop and I’m tempted to ask if Leonid knew the name of the lady in question; and if so was the surname by any chance the same as that of a leading UK economist elevated to the peerage? If it was I can confirm that the lady made a habit of doing what is described.

I went to Zurich to see Nureyev dance in a new full length production of Raymonda in 1972 and a large number of fans had gathered from around Europe for the event. A couple of them invited me to lunch the day after the last performance at the restaurant of the hotel where Nureyev had been staying (he had flown off early that morning). It was a happy lively meal but near the end the eldest of the group, an English lady of advanced years, disappeared for long enough for her friends to become anxious. When she eventually reappeared she was asked where she had got to and coolly replied that after a trip to the ladies she had gone into the gents to ….er… soak up the ambience, as Nureyev may have gone in there.

For once I was speechless, but worse was to come when at the end of the meal certain of the party started to pocket articles of cutlery from the table because Nureyev just might have used them: downright theft in my opinion.

In spite of everything I still consider myself a Nureyev fan, but the actions of those women on that day appalled me and from then on I regarded them not as much fans as poor deluded souls with a serious mental aberration.


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