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Writing negatively about individual dancers-- how far should dance critics go?


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#31 cubanmiamiboy

cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 03:36 PM

The exact situation happens with actors, just as Patrick stated. Howard Stern recently had to face a huge wave of criticism-(not that he cared..he never does, BTW)-after making remarks about Oscar nominated Gabourey Sidibe's weight in his radio show. I honestly don't get it. The girl's weight-(just as, let's say, Lara Flynn Boyle's)-is out there and exposed for everyone to see, and if praising and embracing and admiring words are allowed, why is that the other side can't voice theirs...?
We are certainly getting VERY afraid of the so called "politically correctness" term, and race and weight are right there on the top of the list, but believe me...having to hear only one, "official" side at the end goes beyond boring...it gets VERY dangerous. I know it by experience.


I'm replying to my own post to add that just as I think that a well based, pertinent opinion on such public domain's affair-(e.g-dancers/actors body image)-could be relevant in some cases, I also believe that EVERYTHING in life-(including criticism)-ought to be done with a basic amount of taste and class-(at least that's the only way I would take it seriously...otherwise everything would be in the lines of Howard Stern, which at the ends gets sort of uninteresting...even boring).
Macaulay's remarks-(all the "too many sugar plums" stuff)- were completely unnecessary and childish, and not funny whatsoever, and in my own perception, even completely out of reality!-(but again, this is me, a guy who loves womanly looking ballerinas, and who gets very shocked at the sight of the Somovas or Whelans). If the same words would have been pronounced by a 6 year old kid, then MAYBE I would have laughed, but in a grown adult, and ballet reviewer who's just trying too hard to be witty...? Not at all.

#32 LiLing

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 06:09 PM

Getting back to writing negatively about individual dancers, and Rockwell's comment about Balanchine's hothouse flowers.
First of all, not all of Balanchine's ballerinas were beauties. There is some nostalgia at play here. I do think that in general, the women in NYCB nowadays could do with some classes in stage makeup. It looks like many of them slap on some false eyelashes and bright red lipstick and that is it. Larger eyes, and higher cheekbones are possible on stage, if ,alas, not in life. Average looking people can look beautiful on stage with skillfully applied makeup. It used to be something dancers took pride in. As for sending an ugly girl out to play Juliet, companies don't usually hire face that would stop a clock ugly dancers!

Now for the body brouhaha, I feel that if a dancer is clearly overweight, or out of shape technically it should be part of the critical discussion. If the critic simply has a personal preference for a certain body type, that should not be reflected in the review. I think some people, including critics, have a very narrow definition of a suitable body for a female dancer. They seem to think the extremely thin long limbed sylphlike girlish adolescent is the standard, and don't appreciate ballerinas who look and dance like adult women. Women like Melissa Hayden, Cynthia Gregory, Martine van Hamel, and the gorgeous Jenifer Ringer!


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