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Ashley Bouder Makes The Front Page of the NY Times


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#121 Mel Johnson

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 04:09 PM

I have never heard the latter expression, but "MERDE!" is a common good-luck charm among dancers. "Break a leg" is, after all, a rather crude wish, even for dancers - it's more popular among actors - but the even cruder "sh*t" works just fine on the theater gremlins who take a good wish and, being gremlins, turn it to evil. "MERDE!" carries with it the secondary wish "You go to hell!", just as it does in English.

#122 vipa

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 04:34 PM

I have never heard the latter expression, but "MERDE!" is a common good-luck charm among dancers. "Break a leg" is, after all, a rather crude wish, even for dancers - it's more popular among actors - but the even cruder "sh*t" works just fine on the theater gremlins who take a good wish and, being gremlins, turn it to evil. "MERDE!" carries with it the secondary wish "You go to hell!", just as it does in English.



Off topic, I heard a well known British actress interviewed on NPR. She spoke about the origins of "break a leg." I can't remember who the actress was. She said it was from the old days when, if your monolog, song or solo got a lot of applause you would step forward and repeat it. After repeating it you would take a little curtsey-like bow with the back leg bent or "broken." So wishing "break a leg" is wishing that the person get that kind of applause. I've always wondered if this is true. It doesn't make much sense for the men. In any event that's what the actress said (I'll post if I remember who she is).

#123 bart

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 05:03 PM

Coincidentally, I was just looking up the opera version of this: toi toi toi (pr. "toy"). There are apparently many variations for the "break a leg" usage. The wikipedia article also refers briefly to "merde" and "toi toi toi."

I know this is :lol: , but are these phrases used only among theater people? Is it appropriate for a layperson to wish a performer a successful performance by using this kind of theater-speak? ("Good luck" is, apparently, "bad luck" in this context, so I wouldn't want to wish that on anyone. :beg: )

#124 Mel Johnson

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 05:09 PM

We tend to wish one another "MERDE!" When Ordinary Mortals wish us "break a leg" we smile, hoping further to deceive the theater gremlins.

#125 Mel Johnson

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 05:25 PM

For persons of Italian heritage, "toi, toi, toi" (pronounced toy toy toy) is a version of saying "ptui, ptui, ptui" (spitting over the left shoulder) at the slightest hint of a good luck wish.

#126 Kathleen O'Connell

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 09:25 AM

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 ...

#127 carbro

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 05:52 PM

This afternoon, she added this Tweet:

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



#128 Helene

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 04:58 PM

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.


#129 bart

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 06:07 PM

:) 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.

#130 kfw

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 06:31 PM

: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:

#131 dirac

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 06:32 PM

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.

#132 papeetepatrick

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 06:43 PM

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.

#133 PeggyR

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 07:01 PM

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?

#134 bart

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 07:03 PM

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?

#135 kitcat

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 07:54 PM

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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