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Ashley Bouder Makes The Front Page of the NY Times


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#106 dirac

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 11:10 AM

None of them is an attack on Ms. Bouder, though criticisms of course have been made about her tweets. Tweeting is a public activity -- like dancing -- and what one tweets is not above questioning and criticizing. Especially when it makes the NY Times. :wink:


It's a fine line all the same, and I trust people are bearing that in mind as they comment on Bouder's tweets or those of any other dancer.

#107 kfw

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 11:30 AM

None of them is an attack on Ms. Bouder, though criticisms of course have been made about her tweets. Tweeting is a public activity -- like dancing -- and what one tweets is not above questioning and criticizing. Especially when it makes the NY Times. :wink:


It's a fine line all the same, and I trust people are bearing that in mind as they comment on Bouder's tweets or those of any other dancer.

It is a fine line, and that line is unavoidably there when discussing some cultural issues, and that's why people need to read carefully so as not to read feelings into opinions when they aren't there. :) Bouder isn't really the focus of the discussion anyhow, just an illustration of the issue. The issue is cultural.

#108 abatt

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 11:39 AM

Thanks, abatt, for starting us off. You definitely lighted a spark. :wink: :) :)

My pleasure! By the way, as a regular audience member at NYCB I have to concur with all the posts that praise Bouder's dancing. She is a wonderful dancer who always gives her audience 110 percent. She has never "phoned in" her performances and she takes enormous risks on stage. Most of the time the risk pays off with a thrilling performance; sometime she lands on her butt, but we love her all the more for her attempt. The seasons that she has been out with injuries have been among the dullest at NYCB.

#109 dirac

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 11:41 AM

It is a fine line, and that line is unavoidably there when discussing some cultural issues, and that's why people need to read carefully so as not to read feelings into opinions when they aren't there.


And write carefully, as well. I think we are all agreed.

#110 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 12:02 PM

This, coming from someone who spent his whole life watching the very body of his home country ballet company formed by veterans MEN and WOMEN, is still kind of hard to digest.


Ok ... I just have to go here. But these are men and women who wouldn't be allowed to twitter, unless they defected to the U.S., because they lived in a regime with no regard to free speech or human rights.


Twitter didn't even exist back then, to start with. On the other side, gossiping about the traffic situation was not a specially item of interest for the Cuban KGB. The regime is still the same as it was 50 years ago, Internet is now accessible to those who can afford a computer and still, defections occur. The current guidelines within the Cuban company are ancient ones, still under the tyrannic hand of Mme, and not very likely to survive by whoever takes control after her. Some people are tired of them, I know...as they are of her ancient stagings of Fedorova or Nijinska, but...what a wonderful level of artistry had they carried thru all this decades...!
So let's see when the tweets and dweets start taking possession of the Cuban company too...

#111 canbelto

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 12:19 PM

Twitter didn't even exist back then, to start with. On the other side, gossiping about the traffic situation was not a specially item of interest for the Cuban KGB. The regime is still the same as it was 50 years ago, Internet is now accessible to those who can afford a computer and still, defections occur. The current guidelines within the Cuban company are ancient ones, still under the tyrannic hand of Mme, and not very likely to survive by whoever takes control after her. Some people are tired of them, I know...as they are of her ancient stagings of Fedorova or Nijinska, but...what a wonderful level of artistry had they carried thru all this decades...!
So let's see when the tweets and dweets start taking possession of the Cuban company too...


Of course Twitter didn't exist back then. But ... Mme. Alonso has allowed herself to be a representative of a tyrannical, intolerant regime that is still living the Cold War about 20 years after the rest of the world stopped. The Cuban ballet dancers who defect (god, what an awful term that is) do so with the knowledge that they won't be welcome back, and that they have no job security whatsoever in their new country. Still, they do it, and why? I believe it's because their quality of life in Mme. Alonso's company is so poor that they'd rather take the risk. Where's the mystique, where's the magic in that?
I am not saying Mme. Alonso didn't achieve great things with her company (she has), but really, let's not idealize the indefensible.

#112 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 12:58 PM

The Cuban ballet dancers who defect (god, what an awful term that is) do so with the knowledge that they won't be welcome back, and that they have no job security whatsoever in their new country. Still, they do it, and why? I believe it's because their quality of life in Mme. Alonso's company is so poor that they'd rather take the risk. Where's the mystique, where's the magic in that?
I am not saying Mme. Alonso didn't achieve great things with her company (she has), but really, let's not idealize the indefensible.


But if you read what they all have to say about it when they are interviewed, right after their longing for other opportunities and repertoire and their attacks on the indefensible items-(agree with that)-then they ALL proceed to express their gratitude and devotion to her for what they became and learned under her ARTISTIC regime, tyrannical and all.

Mme. Alonso has allowed herself to be a representative of a tyrannical, intolerant regime that is still living the Cold War about 20 years after the rest of the world stopped.

This is true, and believe me...I'm very aware of it. I just try to concentrate on her artistic career, which is my only interest about her. I guess this is something people who praise Lifar can relate to also, for instance.

Now, political agenda aside-(to which I agree with you 100 %, canbelto,)-I also want to get in line to declare that I have had no intention whatsoever to pour any venom on Miss Bouder-(and want to apologize if my words gave the wrong idea...given the fact of how harsh can they be sometimes...I know). Actually, even if I've never seen her onstage, I was recently engaged in a passionate discussion in which I was one of her few defendants over her Spessitseva's variation clip, which I loved-(and you know how do I get about this particular variation).
I just didn't like her "my taxi driver is an idiot" thing...I know we all say things like that, but it was kind of weird to see it written in such an open, public way by her.

(Edited to add: There's a language issue going on here too. The Spanish literal translation of the word "idiot"-"IDIOTA"-is RARELY used-even if it means the same-due to its EXTREME harhness. Now that I think about it, I know that it is way more popular in its English nemesis.)

#113 bart

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 01:15 PM

None of them is an attack on Ms. Bouder, though criticisms of course have been made about her tweets. Tweeting is a public activity -- like dancing -- and what one tweets is not above questioning and criticizing. Especially when it makes the NY Times. :wink:


It's a fine line all the same, and I trust people are bearing that in mind as they comment on Bouder's tweets or those of any other dancer.

dirac, I'd love to hear your thoughts about the fine line you see here. (I say this out of curiosity and don't wish to be argumentative.) This was not a stolen personal message. It was posted for public consumption and was subsequently reprinted in the New York Times (a public relations triumph, I would think). Does this not make Bouder's tweeting a "public" statement, analogous to a public performance?

Setting aide my own impression that everyone on this thread has been very respectful of Bouder's dancing and has been careful in their evaluation of her tweets: how SHOULD one discuss communications of this sort when one reads them in the national press?

#114 canbelto

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 01:16 PM

This is true, and believe me...I'm very aware of it. I just try to concentrate on her artistic career, which is my only interest about her. I guess this is something people who praise Lifar can relate to also, for instance.

Now, political agenda aside-(to which I agree with you 100 %, canbelto,)-I also want to get in line to declare that I have had no intention whatsoever to pour any venom on Miss Bouder. Actually, even if I've never seen her onstage, I was recently engaged in a passionate discussion in which I was one of her few defendants over her Spessitseva's variation clip, which I loved-(and you know how do I get about this particular variation).
I just didn't like her "my taxi driver is an idiot" thing...I know we all say things like that, but it was kind of weird to see it made public under the writer's consent.


I guess my point is ... do you think Mme. Alonso would have been able to build such a great ARTISTIC company if she hadn't also cozied up to a tyrant? Do you think that other voices of dance in Cuba deserve or deserved to be heard and seen, but were not because of Alonso's symbiotic relationship with the Castro regime? Now if Mme. Alonso can sit back and say that she did this all to create a great ballet company, then more power to her, but I'm just pointing out that in the past (and probably in the present) dancers haven't hesitated to use foul political connections to get ahead. They haven't hesitated to sleep their way to the top, or wield an iron fist behind the scenes. All this is documented, and it's part of the ballet world. If Bouder is using twitter to build a larger fanbase, then I'd say that she is not being dirty or underhanded, just media and tech savvy. So I fail to see how she's defaming her art or her profession.

#115 bart

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 01:38 PM

More on social networking from the April/May Pointe Magazine: Maria Kochetkova, principal of the San Francisco Ballet, is quoted in an article by Mary Ellen Hunt ("A Free Soul").

Eschewing the mystique of the "untouchable" prima donna, Kochetkova is an avid social networker, blogging, tweeting and posting about everything from her rehearsal process to her favorite dance movies. Moments before our interview, a quick glance at her Twitter feed reveals this cheerful dispatch from "balletrusse": "Of to the interview with @pointe_magazine."

Kochetkova credits her husband, Edward King, who works in the film industry, with impressing on her the importance of communicating with a larger audience. Some might view all this as mere self-promotion, but for Kochetkova it's less about egotism than reaching out "Dance is for everyone," she asserts.



#116 carbro

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 02:40 PM

Wow! This thread has really grown in such a short time. I'm about halfway through, but a few comments.

One purpose of the arts is to describe the human condition. I disagree with Cristian's assertion that classical artists shouldn't use them. But I think artists should seriously consider certain boundaries.

I have no objection to dancers tweeting about the roles they're working on or the facts of their daily lives. I like knowing that Bouder has a cute beagle named Scout. I no longer need (or even particularly perceive) the mystique of the ballet world. I think the social media can be valuable and constructive audience builders, both for companies and individual dancers. I'd rather they'd not assess their work in 40 characters or less.

I attended the Sleeping Beauty of which she tweeted. Her Vision was lyrical, poetic, and luminous. Her comments

Live tweet from sleeping beauty performance. Intermission=feet up. Rose adag good, solo eh, vision good. Awakening and act III next.

intruded on my memory of it, diminishing my deep satisfaction, adding a note of banality. I should be able to separate what I witnessed from her personal assessment, but I haven't been able to. It's not that she got it wrong, it's that her tweet deflated what was great about her performance (and the Vision was, IMO, great, a public face of modesty constraining her from so tweeting).

I'm on Twitter, but I rarely use it. I don't much like it, but it allows me to follow, for better and worse, some favored dancers and a handful of non-dance-related people/entities.

BTW, one of the other dancers is Marcelo Gomes. A day after I "followed" him, I got a note that he was following me. :wink: If he's waiting for a tweet from me, I hope he's patient.

#117 Simon G

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 02:46 PM

I do have to say that anyone can be forgiven for getting a bit shirty in this conversation as it went to a very strange place very quickly, over what are really some rather sweet innocuous little tweets.

Tweeting is a strange thing and no mistake, does anyone remember this story that caused major umbrage a while back?

http://www.nationalp...html?id=2356770

A mother whose toddler drowned in a pool, tweeted asking for her twitter followers to pray for her son, later when her son died she posted a tweet in memorial. And she got a ****storm of antagonism levied against her.

the thing is I can understand it, if you're in an intolerable situation you pray, you make those deals with God and hope he's listening. In such a way I can understand how powerless that enormous pain which has nowhere to go can make someone feel utterly powerless, and for this mother instead of praying to the ether, she put her prayers on twitter. It was an act of faith translated into cyberspace - had she prayed to God off her own back, pleaded with the universe to save her son, no one would have condemned her. She went to a place of comfort, she logged on - but regardless of the medium the message is still the same. She was asking for a miracle, which didn't come.

Twitter reminds me of that fairytale The Goose Girl, where the princess who's been subjugated into serfdom by her own servant and afraid for her life to the point that she daren't tell anyone, is told by a king, to tell her woes into an old burnt out stove as a form of therapy. Of course the king is listening at the stove pipe in the next room, comes to her aid and saves her - the salvation part is the bit that doesn't always happen, but finding outlets always has done.

I think it unfair to criticise any dancer for tweeting mid performance because we believe that they should be transported by the artistry and event of the performance. I think performers especially ballerinas who are making superhuman demands on their bodies in the space of a few hours have far more pragmatic and pressing concerns a great deal of the time - to make it through three hours of torture without destroying their bodies/careers/futures to name a few, and that's before you get to making an artisitic impression. Again like the Goose Girl maybe Bouder that day felt the need to let off steam, pat herself on the back, announce to the world she'd done it - and so she tweeted.

I know I myself live for Jedward's tweets via their Twitter, check it out!

www.twitter.com/planetjedward

#118 papeetepatrick

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 04:26 PM

I attended the Sleeping Beauty of which she tweeted. Her Vision was lyrical, poetic, and luminous. Her comments

Live tweet from sleeping beauty performance. Intermission=feet up. Rose adag good, solo eh, vision good. Awakening and act III next.

intruded on my memory of it, diminishing my deep satisfaction, adding a note of banality. I should be able to separate what I witnessed from her personal assessment, but I haven't been able to. It's not that she got it wrong, it's that her tweet deflated what was great about her performance (and the Vision was, IMO, great, a public face of modesty constraining her from so tweeting).


This is very interesting. She couldn't possibly see her own SB as you did, and even though she danced it, it's 'your Ashley's Aurora' that you saw. This may demonstrate that fans usually don't want to really know their favourite stars as human beings, or that they do automatically tend to idealize that the person will be more like the stage persona. This may well have been the same SB I saw, and it has no effect whatever on my memory of it (including whether it was the same one.) I'm far more interested in what I thought of her Aurora, than what she thought, so that when I find out what she thought, it just adds to it. And she's not all that modest according to the first reviews, at least in some viewers eyes, insofar as there was discussion of her not being perfectly modest about her excellent balances. Not everybody thinks modesty is the only virtue, and it certainly isn't, no matter what anybody thinks. Of course some of it is mundane to her. A 'Rose Adagio' is her business as well as something to make enchanting. In any case, it may not have been the tweet per sethat did it, it may have been just her own thoughts that deflated the original impression. If you'd been backstage, or talking to her on a cellphone, she might have said the same thing to you. Performers are notoriously casual and even acerbic sometimes about their own professions, they can be sarcastic. They're not nearly always going to be in a semi-religious fervour, just because some don't laugh much. I find that tweet, though, far more interesting than the one about her dog, which interests me none at all. I just don't care about dancers' pets--any dancers', unless I know them personally.

Not that I don't think this perception is cool, but it sounds as though it disappoints you because your report of this reads as though you wish she saw what had impressed you more as you did. But she's not you, and she's not me. She's doing it, and it's not all that special to her, just because she happens to be able to do something that almost nobody else can do. But she does this all the time. I once read that Paris Hilton said "I lead a fantasy life in many people's eyes. Of course, it's not to me, because it's all I know".

I know I myself live for Jedward's tweets via their Twitter, check it out!

www.twitter.com/planetjedward


Oh, man, I see what u mean! Is this like, in, erm, a kind of British Gaelic? This one is [size=3]Gr8!!!![/size][size=3]:[/size]

"we are getting in trouble but who cares you guys all rock its like romeo and juliet but its the other way round"

#119 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 07:43 PM

I guess my point is ... do you think Mme. Alonso would have been able to build such a great ARTISTIC company if she hadn't also cozied up to a tyrant? Do you think that other voices of dance in Cuba deserve or deserved to be heard and seen, but were not because of Alonso's symbiotic relationship with the Castro regime? Now if Mme. Alonso can sit back and say that she did this all to create a great ballet company, then more power to her, but I'm just pointing out that in the past (and probably in the present) dancers haven't hesitated to use foul political connections to get ahead. They haven't hesitated to sleep their way to the top, or wield an iron fist behind the scenes. All this is documented, and it's part of the ballet world.


canbelto, I will move the answer to your questions to the Alonso sub-forum. It seems unfair to me that by getting too deep into Mme's political agenda we might interfere with Miss Bouder's tweeting ordeal, and I don't think we want that psychological burden over our heads.

Said that, now I will finally proceed to give my last curtain call, formally announcing my retirement from this discussion. It's been a pleasure, as always.
So here I go... :) :) :bow: (kneeling and everything, to follow that old Imperial tradition just to do it "only when royalty is present", you see...? :wink: )

#120 allegromezzo18

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 03:56 PM

Where do the expressions "Merde" and "No Dust, No Feathers" come from?
Are these expressions still used today by Ballet dancers?


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