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Nutcracker Chronicles - NYTimesRequest for photos and memories

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#106 dirac


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Posted 13 December 2010 - 07:47 PM

Iím not sure what the public at large had to do with it. Macaulay made a comment and many people didnít like it. They have a right not to like it, say so, and offer reasons to back up their opinion. I too am tired of the subject and hope that Ringer will hold her TV appearances to one and not prolong the affair further, but even though I tend to side with Macaulay I also understand the fuss. Weight is a sensitive issue for women in our culture and I was bothered by Macaulayís apparent inability to acknowledge that fact, instead opting to accuse his attackers of reverse sexism, or something like it. Well, if he didnít know before, he certainly knows now....

My favorite part of Ringer's interview was her point that people who have eating disorders don't have enough strength for ballet.

True, but begging the question. Anyone with an advanced eating disorder will not be able to dance but that does not address the issue of how s/he got that way in the first place and what environmental factors were involved.

Nutcracker Chronicles, anyone? :)

#107 rnl



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Posted 13 December 2010 - 08:43 PM

I loved the bulk of AM's original review - he writes beautifully about the ballet. The critique of the actual dancing thrown in at the end was coarse, and yes, snarky. I find he often makes little remarks that should just be tempered or edited out - it taints his otherwise thoughtful prose.

I completely agree that critics have the right to criticize, and to be colorful; however, as mentioned earlier in these pages, that element of controversy seems to be condoned and encouraged in this age when everyone's opinion is out there in the blogosphere, and people can say whatever they want (but shouldn't necessarily).

As for the weight issue:

I see the whole thing as simple as "You choose a profession, you deal with it". Weight issues were, are and will be an item in ballet, we like it or not, and many times for being too "politically correct" critics reviews are just totally flavorless. I would hate to see my favorite ballerina's-(or singer, or actress or whatever)-feelings hurt...

Eating disorders are deadly, and although they are prevalent in ballet, a "like it or not" attitude is insensitive and harmful, and it is more than a matter of someone's feelings getting hurt. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. And, a growing percentage of sufferers are men. As a ballet audience, it is our responsibility not to continue this prejudice. So many people in these pages have commented on the beautiful dancing of so many different bodies! And Jenifer Ringer said it herself in her Today show appearance. Hopefully discussions like this one will sink into the ranks of ballet masters around the country, who can put these different body types onstage, for everyone to appreciate their artistry.

In truth, I have been painfully aware of this dilemma for awhile, having been in a position to watch numerous local dance studio performances over the last few years - ballet, jazz, musicals... Numerous girls are overweight, and it is not always pleasant to watch them. However, some "heavier" dancers have a remarkable command of technique, which transcends the weight issue. And a passionate dancer shines no matter what her physique. (I refer to girls, because very few boys dance in these regional shows, at the high school level and below). And often I am really glad the dance teachers put these girls onstage, giving them confidence and encouragement, to express themselves joyously, no matter what their physical appearance. Healthy bodies are neither frail, nor obese, and as dancers mature, hopefully their bodies will become the best instruments their art allows them to be.

#108 rnl



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Posted 13 December 2010 - 08:52 PM

As for the Nutcracker chronicles! I have always loved the NYCB production, and have thoroughly enjoyed some of our local productions - some of which have amazing and elaborate productions, others which are pared down to a few dancers, capturing just the essence of childhood joy, and perhaps the magic of Tchaikovsky. (I'm a sucker for the Waltz of the Snowflakes.) I never get tired of it, and every year, something brings a tear to my eye!

#109 checkwriter



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Posted 14 December 2010 - 05:32 AM

I've read most if not all of the "Chronicles," and find them generally wanting. Perhaps it was a mistake to send a critic on this tour; I'm more interested in reading about the variety of Nutcrackers that are out there than critiques of each one. It seems as though Macaulay is trying to do a bit of both with his reports, and as a result doesn't give us enough of either. It's probably a no-win from his perspective: if he focuses too much on critique, he's damned for attacking the non-NYC companies that rely so heavily on Nutcracker revenue to support the rest of their seasons. If he focuses on the individual variations on the traditional story, then people wonder why a critic was sent on an errand that would be better handled by a features writer.

It reminds me of when I cook dinner for my spouse's (large) family: if I try to please everybody, it's guaranteed to turn out mediocre.

#110 Arizona Native

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 05:09 PM

A.M. will be at the Ballet Arizona production this weekend. It is a beautiful production, and I can't wait to see what he writes about it. Unfortunately, I will not be able to go see the same performances -- duty calls me elsewhere.

#111 Kyeong



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Posted 15 December 2010 - 02:37 AM

The Times (in the UK) ran an article today about Alastair Macaulay's original comments and the follow-ups, under the headline of "Sugar Plum Fairy defends her shape after weight criticism by ballet critic", mentioning also Black Swan and Deborah Voigt, who, according to The Times, was able to regain a role in an opera by losing weight.

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