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Veronika Part on the David Letterman Show July 9


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#46 Marga

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Posted 09 July 2009 - 08:55 PM

..... In response to his questions, she said she was not in pain. Neither was I. It was over in approximately six minutes.

I WAS in pain, Farrell Fan. Letterman asked specifically whether her feet hurt, and she giggled and said "no". She took a long time to answer each of his questions, as if she was trying to put sentences together, but then abandoned the effort and gave merely one or two word answers most of the time. A difficult interview for Letterman, for he had to carry her. When she did speak longer, it was haltingly and with omissions of what I, at least, consider important info.

Letterman held up two pictures of her. With the first, he asked "what are you doing here?" I expected her to reply with the names of the role she was dancing and the ballet (It looked like Gamzatti in La Bayadère *), but she simply replied with one word, "arabesque". Maybe that was enough for a late-night general audience, I don't know.

The second picture didn't do her justice at all. It was of her in a lackluster pose as Odette (the audience laughed when she said she was a "swan queen, a good one"), her legs partially concealed by the rock at the lake. She explained that she was about to jump on the mat. She didn't mention that Odette jumps to her death in the lake, and it was Letterman who extrapolated that the mat was the lake. That's when he asked whether it hurt to go face-down on the mate every performance, and she giggled, "yes", in response.

I'm glad they showed a short video clip of her dancing (twice) so folks could see how wonderful she is in action.

I hope this doesn't mean it'll be a long time before he attempts to interview another ballet dancer!

* edited to say: In rewatching Part on Letterman via youtube, I see that she is an Odalisque in the first pic and that the ballet is Le Corsaire.

#47 Dale

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Posted 09 July 2009 - 09:30 PM

I thought the segment went fine. The worst thing was waiting for it. She was obviously nervous, but she was beautiful and sweet. The audience laughed with her, not at her. Letterman led her nicely enough. He didn't mock ballet. In fact, in the beginning, when he ran down his lineup of guests, he explained who she was and praised ballet as a great art form. The segment went as well as ones I've seen with gymnasts or figure skaters. I think we want Veronika Part to do so well, on and off the stage, that we get a little critical. I do. For her to have gone on further into ballet....it's just not going to happen on a show like this, even if it was an American dancer. I'd like to think the tv viewers, if they think of her at all, are not going to think she's an airhead but just a Russian ballerina who was pretty and pleasant. Anyway, that's my take.

#48 carbro

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Posted 09 July 2009 - 09:44 PM

I tend to agree with Dale, and I didn't see her laughter as anything more (or less) than nervousness. Unfortunately, I think she was somewhat paralyzed by her nerves. But if she must have nerves, better to let them get in her way on Letterman than on the ballet stage.

I did like her answer to his question about how she came to study ballet. When she was born, someone told her mother that she had "pretty legs," and suggested she might be suited to ballet. "No one in my family knows anything about ballet," she said. "But you do," Letterman replied. Part answered with giggles :wub: and a nod.

#49 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 09 July 2009 - 11:17 PM

Part was beautiful. Letterman was nice. The whole thing COULD have been definitely more interesting...And yes, there was some sort of mocking gesturing during Letterman's "partnering" segment, which I didn't like...(sorry, but yes... I DO take ballet THAT seriously, which is why I've always avoided Nureyev's PDD with Miss Peggy :dunno: ). Usually actors/actresses talk about new roles, new projects. Nothing here. And then, about Swan Lake, the only think that's being said revolves around a mat...?!? :wub:
...but again, Veronika was TRULY beautiful. :wub:

#50 DeborahB

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Posted 10 July 2009 - 03:58 AM

Nureyev was a guest on Letterman in 1989 - he was promoting "The King and I," and Letterman asked his usual silly questions about ballet. Also, Letterman appeared to be in shock that Rudi was to be a guest. Rudi also appeared on Merv Griffin's afternoon talk show in the 70's, as well as Cavett's show. None of the hosts seemed to know anything about ballet, though.


Dave is never shocked when someone is a guest on his show. He makes the final decisions about each guest (i.e. whether they will make the cut). There is also a run through before the show tapes. Also, Dave is a huge fan of the arts and is to be commended on having so many artists on his show. As for the silly questions about ballet -- that's part of his humor. He was surely asking these questions because a lot of his audience probably never saw a ballet and he was being an "everyman/woman."

As for Merv Griffin (a lovely man in real life), he too made the ultimate decisions about who was to be on his show (ditto Jay Leno etc.). All of these hosts are prepped about their guests history/accomplishment. If they appeared not to know anything about ballet (which is so not true in Letterman's case), it's part of tv (i.e. they allow the guests to make their points etc.). All the guests are pre-interviewed, and questions are discussed. This is true of all national tv and radio.

I'm thrilled that dancers (ballet and others. Savion Glover -- one of my favorite dancers ever -- is a popular national tv guest) have a chance for
the mass exposure that national tv allows.

As for Dave "mocking" Veronika Part (CubanMiamiBoy) -- it's an entertainment show. Dave (gently) mocks -- its part of his persona.
ABT is extremely lucky (and I'm sure they are thrilled, as they should be) that Ms. Part was on this show (with it's huge audience). And even major Hollywood types don't always talk about their latest projects on Letterman. That's his thing. This isn't Charlie Rose; it's a late night
, big ratings (Larry King may be popular but his ratings are miniscule compared to Dave's, or Jay's, or even Conan's or Jimmy Kimmel's) show.
It's all about, well, entertainment. The interview -- which I thought was terrific -- helped promote ballet (which is what matters). And Ms. Part was lovely (she did herself and ABT proud!).

#51 atm711

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Posted 10 July 2009 - 03:58 AM

Seeing her in that beautiful dress made me wish to see her in 'Emeralds'.

#52 rg

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Posted 10 July 2009 - 04:02 AM

the arabesque photo was from LE CORSAIRE - VP as one of the Odalisques - during the taping i thought i heard VP say Odalisque in her response to Letterman, but the comment seemed to have been tweaked and/or edited out of the telecast if i heard it correctly.
Marcelo Gomes was in the audience as was former-ABT dancer Scott Schlexer.

#53 sealings

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Posted 10 July 2009 - 04:40 AM

I thought it was adorable. The audience liked her and it was funny how they started playing Swan Lake as she was putting on her shoes. I loved the close ups of her feet and beautiful arches! :wub:

#54 bart

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Posted 10 July 2009 - 05:55 AM

Is there a possibility of this being put online?

#55 sealings

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Posted 10 July 2009 - 05:56 AM

http://www.megavideo.com/?v=B1701BO4

#56 ami1436

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Posted 10 July 2009 - 05:59 AM

She was so stunning! I mean, I heard the interview, watched it all, watched her tie her shoes....but my jaw is still on the floor with how stunning she looked! I need whomever helped style her!

#57 Simon G

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Posted 10 July 2009 - 06:30 AM

Having just watched the interview online, I think it's important not to be too precious about ballet and Part. Part came across as bright, funny, witty, charming, sexy as hell and willing to laugh at herself and able to take a joke - and the audience were laughing with her. In short she was a terrific advocate for ballet.

The last time a ballerina had such a mass-media platform was probably when Kirkland was pushing Dancing on My Grave and let's face it that hardly did ballet's PR any favours. In that short interview she probably reached a wider audience and piqued more interest in ballet than a thousand performances of Swan Lake.

The greatest thing about her and the image she presented was debunking this rather anachronistic view of a ballerina as some quasi-sacred, sexless, anorexic bunhead - which let's face it is the layman's view of a ballerina. She was sexy, gorgeous, womanly and despite some obvious nerves held her own against a seasoned interviewer such as Letterman. She didn't take umbrage at ballet being presented in such a media friendly, accessible way and that was why she was so great - she was fun, irreverant she really did ballet a lot of favours and good for her. And in case I didn't mention it already, she was beautiful and sexy as hell.

#58 abatt

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Posted 10 July 2009 - 06:35 AM

I'm guessing there were many jealous principal dancers over at ABT who would have loved to be on Letterman. Any idea how Veronika got the invitation? I remember reading somewhere that one of the producers or directors at the Letterman show loves the ballet and goes as often as possible. Maybe it was his idea.

#59 Dale

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Posted 10 July 2009 - 06:37 AM

I agree Simon G. And I think she was joking about "falling on a mat on my face." She also teased Letterman, who, after giving her the shoes, said "I put them on and couldn't do anything in them." She replied, "You want to try again right here?" When she stood up on point, she started talking, like she was trying to explain something about ballet, but Letterman steered things in another direction. I'm sure some of the men watching thought, "Wow, that's what they have at the ballet?! Let's go." :wub:

#60 Simon G

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Posted 10 July 2009 - 06:37 AM

I'm guessing there were many jealous principal dancers over at ABT who would have loved to be on Letterman. Any idea how Veronika got the invitation?


Just look at her.


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