Ballet fan

Dancers that everyone loved (including critics) but that you didn'

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On one of my subscriptions way back then, I used to sit next to a man who, upon arrival, would check his program and if she was dancing, would boozily let me know,

"Karin von Arolding-ding-ding-ding." I guess she rang his chimes.

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On one of my subscriptions way back then, I used to sit next to a man who, upon arrival, would check his program and if she was dancing, would boozily let me know,

"Karin von Arolding-ding-ding-ding." I guess she rang his chimes.

I love that! :lol:

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I feel like the super-competitive English chair in a David Lodge novel, who was trapped by a gormless British academic playing the "what great work have you never read--more points for the most famous" into admitting he had never read Hamlet. I never like watching Suzanne Farrell, all those flappy hands and exaggerated extensions. To be honest, I came to the NYCB after several years watching the Royal Ballet, with their understated pure lines and beautiful upper body, but she was one dancer I never enjoyed. (The fact that the first time I saw her was wearing underwear in Bejart's ultra-trashy Nijinsky might have something to do with it.) I understand now what I missed. Mary

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It took me some time to warm up to Kyra Nichols, but I am glad I did.

The generally loved dancers I don't get: Kistler and Maria Kowroski. Kistler may be a timing issue; by the time I was really paying atention to her, it was late in her career, and she just doesn't have the physical abilities she used to have. But it makes me angry to see her constantly doing a bad job in inappropriate roles. Nichols, in my view, had a much more dignified and enjoyable end of her career because she picked the right roles for the dancer she was. Kowroski just rubs me the wrong way, and i have never seen the "wit" so many others claim she has.

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I feel like the super-competitive English chair in a David Lodge novel, who was trapped by a gormless British academic playing the "what great work have you never read--more points for the most famous" into admitting he had never read Hamlet.

Oh, excellent! We need to play this game as well (ballets we just don't get/don't like)

I never like watching Suzanne Farrell, all those flappy hands and exaggerated extensions. To be honest, I came to the NYCB after several years watching the Royal Ballet, with their understated pure lines and beautiful upper body, but she was one dancer I never enjoyed. (The fact that the first time I saw her was wearing underwear in Bejart's ultra-trashy Nijinsky might have something to do with it.) I understand now what I missed. Mary

It took me a long time to warm up to her, I think in part because everyone else I knew adored her. I felt contrary.

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I think one's love for a dancer is often very "personal and subjective" and what I enjoy about this thread topic, especially if one sticks to it very strictly (which turns out not to be that easy), is that it isn't about garden variety disagreements.

...

You can't make me dislike Makarova --one of my all time favorites--but you can explain to me why her dancing felt artistically unsatisfying to you in some respects and explain it in such a way that I can "see" what you mean regarding tempos and how they may have distorted choreography. And, on the other hand, I can try to explain what is inventive or intriguing about a particular musical choice she made or why I think it worked interpretively. That type of argument is a little different from 'agreeing to disagree' though in the end one may just agree to disagree as a matter of courtesy or respect . . . or getting off the internet.

And bart's comment early on:

I can admire ... but I do not enjoy.

This is a big issue for me as a dance writer. There are whole styles that I don't care for, but that I understand. I don't much like certain kinds of dance (and if it were just up to my desires, would probably not watch much of) but I recognize their importance in the larger community, understand how they work, recognize a good (and poor) example of them. Personal taste is a powerful element, but a full understanding of the art form can't stop at what "I" like.

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Ever since this subject came up, I've been alert to see if anyone would admit to not liking Suzanne Farrell. Both cargill and sandik have now pleaded guilty with an explanation: "I understand now what I missed." and "everyone else I knew adored her. I was being contrary." You are forgiven, my chilldren. Go and sin no more.

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It took me a while to appreciate Heather Watts. Her port de bras and flexed wrists were hard to take. I think my opinion comes from my own training - I was taken to task during a company class by Ben Harkarvy, where I was using my arms (I guess) in not a truly classical way. So watching her perform, in later years, I grew to admire her versatility in the Balanchine rep. Still her arms bothered me.

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Ever since this subject came up, I've been alert to see if anyone would admit to not liking Suzanne Farrell. Both cargill and sandik have now pleaded guilty with an explanation: "I understand now what I missed." and "everyone else I knew adored her. I was being contrary." You are forgiven, my chilldren. Go and sin no more.

I am so relieved...

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Another dancer whose popularity mystifies me (much more than Bussell, actually) is Cuban prima Viengsay Valdes. While I understand that she's somewhat of a polarizing figure (some find her flashiness 'vulgar'), for me it comes down to her technique. While she can turn and balance incredibly well, these seem to be the only two tricks in her bag. Otherwise her technique seems caught in some past era and is not up to current standards for any ballet dancer, prima or otherwise -- sloppy footwork, lack of turnout, no looseness in the hips or legs, and unattractive (in my opinion) port de bras. And yet she's so beloved by the Cuban public and by a number of prominent critics worldwide. What am I missing, I wonder?

Well, she's Cuban, we're Cubans, and we DO love extravagance and passion-(aside from great turns and balances)-perhaps more than a "perfect" style and pure line-(is there any "perfection", I wonder...BTW?). And thinking about it, we do carry our good dose of "vulgarity" with pride and humor. That, in the long run, turns to be kind of spicy and attractive for some others... :P

If anything, let's agree to disagree. :flowers:

Absolutely happy to 'agree to disagree' re: Valdes! I should note, though, that I love so many of the male Cuban dancers and several of the other female ex-pats that I have seen - especially Lorena Feijoo. It's just Valdes who perplexes me, especially since I'm normally fairly good at seeing a dancer through the eyes of his/her fans, even if they don't personally move me. I just can't get past the technique with her but would certainly give her another shot if I had the chance.

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