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Ashley Bouder Makes The Front Page of the NY Times

221 posts in this topic

On-topicish: I just found this deep in the bowels of my RSS feed reader:

Atwood in the Twittersphere

It appears that Canadian author Margaret Atwood is an avid tweeter:

I’m well pleased with my followers—I have a number of techno-geeks and bio-geeks, as well as many book fans. They’re a playful but also a helpful group. If you ask them for advice, it’s immediately forthcoming ... They’re sharp: make a typo and they’re on it like a shot, and they tease without mercy. However, if you set them a verbal challenge, a frisson sweeps through them. They did very well with definitions for “dold socks”—one of my typos—and “Thnax,” another one. And they really shone when, during the Olympics, I said that “Own the podium” was too brash to be Canadian, and suggested “A podium might be nice.” Their own variations poured onto a feed tagged #cpodium: “A podium! For me?” “Rent the podium, see if we like it.” “Mind if I squeeze by you to get onto that podium?” I was so proud of them! It was like having 33,000 precocious grandchildren! ...So what’s it all about, this Twitter? Is it signaling, like telegraphs? Is it Zen poetry? Is it jokes scribbled on the washroom wall? Is it John Hearts Mary carved on a tree? Let’s just say it’s communication, and communication is something human beings like to do.

How charming is that?

I've duly added her tweets to the feed reader ...

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This afternoon, she added this Tweet:

Replacing Sara Mearns this weekend at Ailey. Dancing a pas de deux by Avi Scher with Marcelo Gomes.

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I don't know why, but I keep losing multiple quotes, and I'll summarize:

  • I don't think the number of followers Bouder has is the last word in growing the younger audience, but who her friends and followers are. If there are young artsy people among her friends -- the opinion leaders -- then they can influence their network of friends and make the ballet the place to be. I'm an old cow Luddite when it comes to Facebook, a passive user, and I've been exposed to a remarkable network just by reading the comments on my friends' status comments.

  • I've accepted that the Twitterati are beyond my grasp (see "old cow Luddite", above). But when have I been able to write 140 characters or less about anything?

  • We had an entire glamor thread lamenting the death of glamor, which I don't think is high on the list of younger audiences. I have at least three friends who told me independently that the biggest shock to their system was hearing Gelsey Kirkland's accent and voice on "60 Minutes", which did not match the ethereal quality of her dancing. I agree if you don't want to read the Twitter equivalent, don't go there.

  • For those who don't follow NYCB threads with bated breath -- I know, imagine! -- Ashley Bouder isn't just any young dancer: she's as dominant on her turf as Alexandrova and Tereshkina are on theirs, maybe even more so.

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:) Sorry, but I cannot resist a gripe about the way the term "Luddite" seems to have been appropriated in present-day discourse. This 19th-century label has been revived in our own decade to characterize those who do not understand, cannot or will not deal with, or simply wish to avoid or reject recent changes in social communication.

Our current use of the term strikes me as being largely unfair to the original "Luddites." These people were agricultural and manufacturing workers -- people at the bottom of the economic pyramid -- who had suffered sudden, enormous economic displacement as a result of the development of the factory system (including but not limited to technology) and the rise of unregulated capitalism.

The original Luddites had a serious grievance and very few resources to express it. Quite a few generations -- and a lot of real suffering and strife -- would pass before the heirs of these displaced workers and their families were able to benefit from the economic changes that overwhelmed so many people while enriching others.

Surely a culture that can invent words like "tweet" and "Twitter" can come up with something more accurate than "Luddite" to refer to Those Who Will Not Tweet.

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:off topic: Sorry, but I cannot resist a gripe about the way the term "Luddite" seems to have been appropriated in present-day discourse. This 19th-century label has been revived in our own decade to characterize those who do not understand, cannot or will not deal with, or simply wish to avoid or reject recent changes in social communication.

And sometimes the presumption is that the people who avoid or reject the technological change do so because they don't understand it and/or can't deal with it. Of course I'm not speaking of Helene here, who used the word modestly in self-reference. But the term tends to be used as a cheap dismissal, and as such avoids grappling with the reasons thoughtful people might reject it. Wendell Berry is no Luddite. :wink:

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I don't think most people who use the term in the contemporary sense intend consciously to minimize the plight of the original Luddites. As for Those Who Will Not Tweet, if the shoe fits, you know. Certainly I take the point that not everyone who objects to Bouder's tweets is a Luddite by today's definition, even if I don't understand why the occasional tweet is such an unpardonable form of backstage relaxation. :off topic:

We had an entire glamor thread lamenting the death of glamor, which I don't think is high on the list of younger audiences.

Glamor may or may not be dying, but I doubt if Bouder's mild little tweets will make much difference either way.

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We had an entire glamor thread lamenting the death of glamor, which I don't think is high on the list of younger audiences.

Glamor may or may not be dying, but I doubt if Bouder's mild little tweets will make much difference either way.

not sure of that, young people may just have different ideas of what glamour is. but I tend to think they are glamour-challenged, and just don't know some important things along these lines. Bart's history is very good, but I agree there is a contemporary sense, and it's common for many who use it not to know the origin, as with many other terms and concepts. But if Helene is a 'luddite Cow' for being into only 'facebook passive', there are a number on this board who would find me a quite lower animal Contemporary-Luddite, since the very idea of Twittering just wears me out. I had enough panic today just plugging in a new monitor after my ten-year-old perished (ten-year-old monitor that is). And I only was even able to follow some MySpace of one person in 2006 before you had to sign in for it. I knew that that would wear me out too, so naturally I don't know how to sign in to Twitter, and I've been told to do so many times. I've also heard of 'Facebook suicide' from Facebook addicts, but that too, I've never even looked at. Facebook suicide is supposed to help you learn to 'meet your real neighbors', but I don't have that problem, although it does sound especially nerdish to get that far gone. I felt really modern when I signed up for a FT article that dirac linked on Auchincloss a couple of months ago, but I never believed it would work, so it took me a month to get to it. I'd rather do almost anything than have to RTFM.

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Surely a culture that can invent words like "tweet" and "Twitter" can come up with something more accurate than "Luddite" to refer to Those Who Will Not Tweet.

Twittless?

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Surely a culture that can invent words like "tweet" and "Twitter" can come up with something more accurate than "Luddite" to refer to Those Who Will Not Tweet.

Twittless?

:off topic: Can we copyright that?

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Surely a culture that can invent words like "tweet" and "Twitter" can come up with something more accurate than "Luddite" to refer to Those Who Will Not Tweet.

Twittless?

:off topic: Can we copyright that?

Too funny! :wink:

I have to admit I'm not very fond of twitter myself....

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Isn't what some are doing with Twitter mostly a case of a celebrity doing on line, for himself or herself, what their agent or publicist did for them in print until recently?

It's common to see celebrities promote personal articles about themselves ("Jen and Brad had a big wedding . . . they're happy . . . now they're breaking up . . . she's dating someone new!"), feeding their celebrity status, and maintaining their commercial value.

It's also common to see alternate picture spreads of them out eating breakfast without their make-up, or either making out with, or having a spat with the boyfriend or girlfriend. Occasionally or when the need arises there will also be the rehabilitative piece about them . . . the eating disorder, the time in detox or therapy. "Tiger is rehabilitating himself; spending time with his family; Bill and Hillary have gone on a retreat to work on their marriage."

Now on Twitter folks are able to do it for themselves and minor celebrities can find mini-publics; but in many cases I doubt if it's any less calculated or less disingenuous. The nature of the feeding has changed, and the means of feeding, but maybe not too much the fundamental nature of the publicity food.

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I have at least three friends who told me independently that the biggest shock to their system was hearing Gelsey Kirkland's accent and voice on "60 Minutes", which did not match the ethereal quality of her dancing.

I missed that. At what point in her career was she on "60 Minutes"?

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I have at least three friends who told me independently that the biggest shock to their system was hearing Gelsey Kirkland's accent and voice on "60 Minutes", which did not match the ethereal quality of her dancing.

I missed that. At what point in her career was she on "60 Minutes"?

There was a famous interview which she gave in 1980, it was around the time of her partnership with Patrick Bissell. In it she danced a bit of a divertissement from Other Dances (I think) and then gave an interview where she was very, very, very high.

Later when she was publicising Dancing On My Grave, in 1986 she gave an interview in which the earlier one was played almost in its entirety and she said how everyone knew she was off her face in the interview.

Was either of those 60 Minutes?

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Isn't what some are doing with Twitter mostly a case of a celebrity doing on line, for himself or herself, what their agent or publicist did for them in print until recently?

It's common to see celebrities promote personal articles about themselves ("Jen and Brad had a big wedding . . . they're happy . . . now they're breaking up . . . she's dating someone new!"), feeding their celebrity status, and maintaining their commercial value.

It's also common to see alternate picture spreads of them out eating breakfast without their make-up, or either making out with, or having a spat with the boyfriend or girlfriend. Occasionally or when the need arises there will also be the rehabilitative piece about them . . . the eating disorder, the time in detox or therapy. "Tiger is rehabilitating himself; spending time with his family; Bill and Hillary have gone on a retreat to work on their marriage."

Now on Twitter folks are able to do it for themselves and minor celebrities can find mini-publics; but in many cases I doubt if it's any less calculated or less disingenuous. The nature of the feeding has changed, and the means of feeding, but maybe not too much the fundamental nature of the publicity food.

I agree with this, and it somehow suggests to me that that's sufficient. MySpace, Facebook and Twitter are all forms of the same thing, although I'd disagree that it's only minor celebrities (you may not have been saying that), because major celebs all use these two. But I think it may often just to have 'a fun network' as well. When I looked at this one friend's MySpace in 2006, they just always asked stuff like 'r u going to the foam party?' and 'Why did u mess up ur education?' This young fellow called himself 'Socialite Elitist', which was funnier than anything anybody wrote, but it probably stems from ancient-styled blogs (which I still use in moderation), to LiveJournal blogs, which are often very elaborate MySpace in tone, in that these are not even mini-celebs very often, but rather are just doing extensive diaries about every single activity they engage in (whether breakfast treat or medical procedures), and from there you get the more pointed self-promotional 'business and friendship' combination that all these social networking services offer. I'm extremely surprised when I find a young person who is not 'wired' these days, but even though I don't object to these things to quite the degree I do loud cellphone conversations in airports, it does seem nothing short of miraculously charming when you find a young person whose tech gear is limited to a cellphone and some texting on that.

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if mem. serves the item indicated below in the catalogue entry of the NYPL dance coll. is one of the most-watched videos according to NYPL records:

<<[Gelsey Kirkland: Dancing on my grave] [videorecording] 1986.

1 cassette. 15 min. : sd. color NTSC. ; 3/4 in. (U-matic)

Excerpt from the series, 60 minutes, telecast by CBS-TV on November 16, 1986. Producer: Jan Legnitto.

SUMMARY: Interviewed by Diane Sawyer, dancer Gelsey Kirkland discusses her recently published autobiography, Dancing on my grave, and the physical and psychological problems which led to her addiction to cocaine. She talks about the influences of George Balanchine and Mikhail Baryshnikov, and notes how the film The turning point reflected her own experience. Her husband Greg Lawrence offers a brief commentary. Brief excerpts depict Kirkland in rehearsals and performances of Balanchine's Tchaikovsky pas de deux (partnered by Patrick Bissell) and Theme and variations, Don Quixote (partnered by Baryshnikov), Giselle (with Bissell), and The sleeping beauty (with an unidentified partner from the Royal Ballet). Baryshnikov and Leslie Browne are also seen in the pas de deux from MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet, filmed for The turning point.>>

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I have at least three friends who told me independently that the biggest shock to their system was hearing Gelsey Kirkland's accent and voice on "60 Minutes", which did not match the ethereal quality of her dancing.

I missed that. At what point in her career was she on "60 Minutes"?

There was a famous interview which she gave in 1980, it was around the time of her partnership with Patrick Bissell. In it she danced a bit of a divertissement from Other Dances (I think) and then gave an interview where she was very, very, very high.

Later when she was publicising Dancing On My Grave, in 1986 she gave an interview in which the earlier one was played almost in its entirety and she said how everyone knew she was off her face in the interview.

Was either of those 60 Minutes?

I think she was interviewed by Diane Sawyer; who I think asked her 'what do you say when girls tell you they want to grow up to be just like you', and she responded 'no one's said that lately.' there was a segment from the mike douglas show, (referred to) where she was pretty obviously on another planet and some different bits and pieces of performances with Patrick Bissell that were a little strange. She told some stories about the School of American Ballet forcing turnout and accused Balanchine of giving her drugs to keep her dancing and talked about her plastic surgery.

Thanks RG for posting that summary from the Library, I recall also that she told a story of having deliberately lost too much weight to be able to do the "Turning Point" because she thought the character of Emilia was a "fluff" or something to that effect.

They also showed her in the studio for "Sleeping Beauty" rehearsing with Stephen Jeffries and interviewed her then husband, Greg Lawrence.

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I recall also that she told a story of having deliberately lost too much weight to be able to do the "Turning Point" because she thought the character of Emilia was a "fluff" or something to that effect.

She said that in her book, took, and she was quite right. Of course, a more secure person would simply have said so and asked for changes, and I thought it unhappily characteristic that instead Kirkland would elect that particular way out. As it was, she lost out and the movie lost out.

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Isn't what some are doing with Twitter mostly a case of a celebrity doing on line, for himself or herself, what their agent or publicist did for them in print until recently?
To a point. Sometimes the publicist's most valuable job is telling the client when to shut up and lay low. A 22-year-old (or even a 40-something) may not recognize when silence is the best option, especially if s/he is in the habit of tweeting without a second thought.

And while I don't know it for a fact, I strongly suspect that before her second interview, the one around the publication of Dancing on My Grave, Kirkland was briefed and rehearsed and had ready replies to most of reasonably expected questions.

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Isn't what some are doing with Twitter mostly a case of a celebrity doing on line, for himself or herself, what their agent or publicist did for them in print until recently?
To a point. Sometimes the publicist's most valuable job is telling the client when to shut up and lay low. A 22-year-old (or even a 40-something) may not recognize when silence is the best option, especially if s/he is in the habit of tweeting without a second thought.

I remember a BBC documentary on the Royal Opera House in the mid-90's in which a house official wryly observed that the greater access the general public wanted would only weaken the exclusivity they were drawn to in the first place. Shades of the Groucho Marx quip, 'I don't care to belong to any club that will have me as a member."

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Isn't what some are doing with Twitter mostly a case of a celebrity doing on line, for himself or herself, what their agent or publicist did for them in print until recently?

It's common to see celebrities promote personal articles about themselves ("Jen and Brad had a big wedding . . . they're happy . . . now they're breaking up . . . she's dating someone new!"), feeding their celebrity status, and maintaining their commercial value.

Not quite. Tweeting doesn't really allow, as yet, for the kind of elaborate image creation and control you describe. It is another and seemingly more direct way of communicating with the public, though. I have read that in some cases assistants are tweeting on behalf of clients who can't be bothered.

And while I don't know it for a fact, I strongly suspect that before her second interview, the one around the publication of Dancing on My Grave, Kirkland was briefed and rehearsed and had ready replies to most of reasonably expected questions.

I should hope so. Unless you are used to being questioned by skilled interviewers, going on 60 Minutes without a fair amount of prep and briefing would be a very risky proposition even under uncontroversial circumstances.

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Just one of many thoughts:

A lot of dancers follow eachother on Twitter too. We like to see what others are up to and many of us know eachother or at least have mutual friends.

And as far as tweeting during intermission, it's really no more of a distraction than chatting with a friend.

Okay, so that was more like two thoughts. :rofl:

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I remember a BBC documentary on the Royal Opera House in the mid-90's in which a house official wryly observed that the greater access the general public wanted would only weaken the exclusivity they were drawn to in the first place. Shades of the Groucho Marx quip, 'I don't care to belong to any club that will have me as a member."

kfw,

that was Keith Cooper, the then head of marketing under the disasterous Jeremy Issacs regime. It's worth remembering that that regime and its attitudes and ethos, bankrupted the ROH, Issacs stepped down a year early, Cooper was sacked as he was universally loathed and artistically the Royal Ballet and Opera were at their lowest points artistically, creatively and technically, ever.

The "exclusivity" argument is the one which makes me think "fine, then support yourself solely on tickets sold to the audience you think fit" and succeed or fail on that alone. If the art isn't there for everyone and the institutions don't make concerted efforts to appeal to everyone, to draw everyone in, to grow audiences on its own, then it's worthless. Especially here in the UK where millions of tax payers pounds directly goes to fund the ROH and the work of the ballet and opera companies. We pay for it, we deserve to have access.

I also feel sadly that exclusivity has been exchanged for indifference on the part of the majority of the population, people just don't care.

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I also feel sadly that exclusivity has been exchanged for indifference on the part of the majority of the population, people just don't care.

Unfortunately, I think you are right. Exclusivity has sort of become equal to elitist and that's not a very promising situation.

It's been a bit amazing to me the life that this thread has had, I posted several times early on and then left it for others. I still don't really see a big problem with what Bouder is doing. Personally, I'm not all that interested in the current online networking vehicles, I don't find all the stuff all that interesting, but that's me, and many, many people do and Bouder's tweets may be a hook for some to get them to "try" ballet.

It's another generation(actually more than one), and another world really, but a kind of "hook" particular to the day and time is what got me as a high school age

kid to get on the bus from suburban New Jersey and get a ticket for a Lincoln Center performance in NYC.

The old Life Magazine (for those not from the US and or those of a more current vintage than I am, Life was a big weekly picture magazine than ran features on current personalities and events. Think People but with a larger format, less focused on current "celebs" and much more imaginative photography) ran two features during 1966 that caught my eye. The first was a story on the closing of the old Met Opera House with losts of tearful images. the second, several months later, was a kind of companion piece, coverage of the opening of the new Met Opera House at Lincoln Center with lots of photos of the buildings at Lincoln Center (so shiny new then) as well as all the guests, including current First Lady Lady Bird Johnson escorting Imelda Marcos (I SAID it was a different world, didn't I???).

Anyway , it took some months, but I ended up going to my first opera performance and decided it was something that appealed to me. It took another year or two, and a far more conventional introduction ( one of my high school teachers with a passion for Fonteyn and Nureyev) hooked up with the world of ballet.

Now my own example sort of straddles some of the thoughts on this thread. In one way it's in the camp of those who treasure the "mystique" that ballet has and don't want to see it evaporate. A very glamorous, glitzy photo spread created the image of a very colorful, intriguing world for me. But the vehicle itself, Life Magazine had a huge target audience. It was very much a way of getting the attention, in a very current way, of huge masses of readers and opening new avenues for them.

Back to tweeting.....

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Simon, I'm not familiar with Cooper's tenure and my memory may be faulty, but the exclusivity I remember him speaking of -- and, in any case, the exclusivity I'm speaking of -- is one of atmosphere, not ticket prices or other actual impediments to access. "Elite" is a better word than "exclusive," actually, although "exclusive" is the word I remember, and I know "elite" is out of favor -- precisely, I guess, because it now connotes exclusivity. (I see that richard53dog thinks they're equated too). I'm using it in the sense of merit and meritocracy, and of Kirstein's comment that whether or not a young girl would become a dancer "C'est une question morale." To become a principal dancer in NYCB is a high achievement, and of course high achievement is highly admirable and highly attractive. It's an ideal, and ballet itself presents an ideal of beauty far above the mundane.

How tweets will attract people who are indifferent to videos, reviews, and print, web and city-wide ads I'm not too sure. I suppose they'll enlarge the already existing fan base of the dancers who use them by turning them into celebrities. I just distinguish between "celebrity" and "star," and I'm more or less indifferent to the former, just as I'm indifferent to most dancer tweets.

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At 149 posts and counting, does anybody else believe that we've squeezed all the blood we're likely to get out of this turnip?

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