Nanarina

Dancers Who Smoke

242 posts in this topic

Surely if Aurelie Dupont, Marie Agnes Gillot or any other dancer or indeed person wishes to smoke it's their business and theirs alone. But if you truly feel so strongly about it why not write to the POB and take it up with Dupont? I'm sure she'd be delighted.

www.operadeparis.fr

Well I agree that it's "their business" if they smoke, but if they smoke in a film being made about their lives, that film is a public document (as they know) and their smoking on film is a choice that the viewers may well comment on and wonder about. For myself, I often like to express myself strongly to other fans without necessarily thinking that those feelings merit being mailed directly to dancers involved (or that I should be needled about doing so).

Principal ballet dancers are de facto role-models to young ballet students, but it's hard to say what kind of responsibility that imposes on them--probably not much. Kirkland felt compelled to append a few lines to the credits for the Wolftrap video (in which she appears with Baryshnikov) in order to criticize her ultra thinness and urge young dancers not to follow her example; she points to him as the better example (unlikely as that may sound to a reader of her first book). But she has come to see herself as having a kind of mission in the ballet world, and that is hardly typical...Moreover her point had a bearing on the quality of dancing specifically--she tells young dancers you can't dance well when you are that thin. Though of course anorexia is not good for non-dancers either!

Like others on this board, I have noticed a lot of dancers smoking, doubtless for a variety of reasons (weight and stress presumably being among them). I also think the ultra-restrictions on it in the U.S. are out of hand--it would be more honest to make it illegal than to ban it in outdoor spaces. (I write as someone who has never smoked and gets migraine when exposed to second-hand smoke; I am also appalled by its long-term health impact.)

Oh...and I do think smoking almost always looks strangely attractive, even sexy, at least when I can't smell it and no-one is coughing.

Share this post


Link to post

[it wasn't a cloud of smoke -- it was a single cigarette lit up that sent a bomb down the street.

Well as long as we have exploding cigarettes, then there is a severe problem isn't there?

As far as the term "happiness", I was replying to your use of the the term. You were no longer "happy" when you had to pass through the mushroom cloud. It must have been very upsetting.

Share this post


Link to post

Well I agree that it's "their business" if they smoke, but if they smoke in a film being made about their lives, that film is a public document (as they know) and their smoking on film is a choice that the viewers may well comment on and wonder about. For myself, I often like to express myself strongly to other fans without necessarily thinking that those feelings merit being mailed directly to dancers involved (or that I should be needled about doing so).

Principal ballet dancers are de facto role-models to young ballet students, but it's hard to say what kind of responsibility that imposes on them--probably not much. Kirkland felt compelled to append a few lines to the credits for the Wolftrap video (in which she appears with Baryshnikov) in order to criticize her ultra thinness and urge young dancers not to follow her example; she points to him as the better example (unlikely as that may sound to a reader of her first book). But she has come to see herself as having a kind of mission in the ballet world, and that is hardly typical...Moreover her point had a bearing on the quality of dancing specifically--she tells young dancers you can't dance well when you are that thin. Though of course anorexia is not good for non-dancers either!

Like others on this board, I have noticed a lot of dancers smoking, doubtless for a variety of reasons (weight and stress presumably being among them). I also think the ultra-restrictions on it in the U.S. are out of hand--it would be more honest to make it illegal than to ban it in outdoor spaces. (I write as someone who has never smoked and gets migraine when exposed to second-hand smoke; I am also appalled by its long-term health impact.)

Oh...and I do think smoking almost always looks strangely attractive, even sexy, at least when I can't smell it and no-one is coughing.

The thing is Drew Dupont, Gillot etc didn't ask to be role models, nor would they claim to be them. Sure one can say that they are de facto role models, but this is nothing more than an outside or third party reading. For these two Gallic luvverlies they probably thought no more of lighting up in that casual Frech sexy way than they would do walking down the Champs Elysees eating a croissant, singing Chanson D'Amour and pouting their lips sounding out "boff" to signal their disapproval of foreigners not sporting the latest haute couture. Not that I'm making a grossly contrived, vaguely xenophobic caricature of the French or anything.

I suppose that's the only problem I have with the main content of the argument they smoke, it's a part of who they are for the present, their dancing is what makes them aspirational everything else is immaterial to anyone wanting to make them a role model or so they would argue.

On the subject of Kirkland and snaffling down elephantine amounts of cocaine do you remember in 2005 the Cocaine Kate scandal? When Kate Moss was pictured tooting in a recording studio. The press was in umbrage saying how could a role model to this? But she wasn't a role model, she's never claimed to be anything other than just a model. I'm not for one minute saying that Moss is anything other than a rather silly woman, and Dupont & Gillot are indeed artists, but you've just got to accept that chaque une a son gout et C'est la vie, mon brave!

Share this post


Link to post

It's really no longer glamorous to smoke in the way it used to be and most European countries have smoking bans – Germany appears to be the exception. I believe that part of the impetus for the bans had to do with the costs to national health systems.

Wikipedia list of smoking bans

I remember our design class teacher always sitting on a stool as he lectured, in a crisp white shirt and bow tie and a cigarette in one hand that he would switch for a piece of chalk when he went up to the board. A friend who worked at Time in Chicago said that the floors were covered with piles of cigarettes before each deadline. (In the last minute madness she once made the mistake of letting an issue of Sports Illustrated go to press with the old price of 15c on it instead of 20c). Cigarette smoking seemed to have become a part of the rhythm of modern life – the drug to keep production flowing. It's supposed to be as hard to give up as heroin is.

I seemed to have grown up with no curiosity or animus towards it – I guess I associated it with my parent's generation, their drinks and their party noise. I don't fault dancers for smoking. It seems to have an element of melancholy and solitude to it now. The compulsion to text has taken its place, a small decafinated pleasure that seems to dull rather than sharpen the mind.

Yes, Sternberg more than any director liked to use smoke as a visual element in his films, against black backgrounds – anything moving slowly through air: smoke, feathers, black lace, they mesmerized him. After some time of watching that stuff, you'd want to get out of his class as quickly as possible for one where a bare bones neo-realist or Sam Peckinpah film was being shown and discussed – and where cigarettes were scarce due to rationing or black market sourcing, or took a long time to roll.

Share this post


Link to post

For kids smoking will always be associated with louche coolness, anti establishmentarianism and belonging to the in clique, which let's face it every kid wants, long term health isn't an issue. I'll never forget my terror on my very first day of kindergarten. Sensing my fear my mother pressed her pack of Marlboro reds and her zippo lighter into my chubby little hand and told me to wait until break and then share them out amongst all my new friends, she was right, I soon became the most popular pre schooler in juvenile detention. Her heart was in the right place, if nothing else, my dear mama.

Share this post


Link to post

Most if not all of the indoor bans are justifiable but these open air ones cross the line. I think it's questionable to call on the powers of the state to protect you from the occasional whiff, even the occasional big whiff. One of the hazards of democracy is putting up with some of your fellow citizens' bad habits in public places.

Share this post


Link to post

I see both sides on the matter of banning smoking outdoors. The "second-hand smoke argument" seems to be a "smoke screen," trivial and insubstantial, for such bans.

But there are considerations which might be seen as more reasonable and legitimate when making public policy.

One such reason is the question of litter -- butts. packets, etc. -- and their aesthetic and environmental impact on public spaces. This is not a small matter. Ask anyone in charge of maintaining these facilities.

Another has to do with long-term public health costs, which end up being shared by everyone, smokers and non-smokers alike.

Of course, smoking on the beach will not of itself lead to health problems. One can argue, however, that permitting it in public parks -- even in limited smoking areas -- has the effect of giving public approval to behavior that has harmful, long-term, and costly public (not just private) consequences.

Share this post


Link to post

Another has to do with long-term public health costs, which end up being shared by everyone, smokers and non-smokers alike.

Of course, smoking on the beach will not of itself lead to health problems. One can argue, however, that permitting it in public parks -- even in limited smoking areas -- has the effect of giving public approval to behavior that has harmful, long-term, and costly public (not just private) consequences.

Bart,

On the question of health costs it's actually a non brainer, the costs to the health services of smoking related ailments is actually a fraction of the revenue taken by the treasury from tax on tabacco, Government makes a lot from people dropping dead, far far far more than it does from caring for them, indeed if the treasury was to lose the income from tabacco tax they'd be in trouble.

On the question of public approval, this is where I have a real problem, even though I'm no longer a smoker, smoking is a personal choice and the notion that the public must be so censorious or didactic makes me uneasy, if you don't smoke watching smokers won't make you start. I mean how far underground do you want to push it? what's next Smoking Speakeasys a la Chicago during prohibition? In which case I want to be the emphesemic Al Capone, the Godfather of Nicotine. I always thought I could make it big in organised crime, if someone here would like to be my moll?

Share this post


Link to post

One of the hazards of democracy is putting up with some of your fellow citizens' bad habits in public places.

I've lived in major cities for more than three decades, and I've put up with many bad habits of my fellow citizens in public places. I'm just glad that legislators agree with me for the most part on this issue and continue to be more stringent.

Share this post


Link to post
On the question of health costs it's actually a non brainer, the costs to the health services of smoking related ailments is actually a fraction of the revenue taken by the treasury from tax on tabacco, Government makes a lot from people dropping dead, far far far more than it does from caring for them, indeed if the treasury was to lose the income from tobacco tax they'd be in trouble.
Agreed, up to a point, though I'd like to see a financial statement or cost-benefit analysis.

You are leaving out the possibility that some political groups in a position to influence policy in some localities and states genuinely wish to reduce tobacco consumption.

I know I'm playing devil's advocate here, but it seems to me that controversy is more complicated than it appears at first sight.

(So is the topic of this thread: "Dancers Who Smoke.") :wink:

Share this post


Link to post
Of course, smoking on the beach will not of itself lead to health problems. One can argue, however, that permitting it in public parks -- even in limited smoking areas -- has the effect of giving public approval to behavior that has harmful, long-term, and costly public (not just private) consequences.

I'm sorry, bart, this whole "public approval" business sounds dicey to me. I do take your point, however, - better to be forthright and say "You can't do this because we don't like it," rather than concoct dubious scientific rationales.

Agreed, up to a point, though I'd like to see a financial statement or cost-benefit analysis.

I think such a cost benefit analysis would show that smokers who die earlier than usual save us a lot of money thereby, but even if it didn't, does that mean you have the right to forbid a smoker to sit on a bench under a tree in the park and have a cigarette? Also, how far would you go? Should the fellow be jailed? He's costing us a lot of money, drat him.

Share this post


Link to post

As far as the term "happiness", I was replying to your use of the the term. You were no longer "happy" when you had to pass through the mushroom cloud. It must have been very upsetting.

:wub: That may teach me not to try to be so cute...

I should have written, "I left the theater happy as a clam, but then someone lit up a cigarette, and I was suddenly dizzy with nausea."

Edited to add:

To address the original question in the topic subtitle, I don't think dancers risk their lives by smoking for different reasons than smokers in any other professions. My question would be, why would dancers, athletes, or anyone else who makes his or her living through strenuous physical activity voluntarily decrease lung capacity, make breathing more difficult, adversely affect internal organs, and the rash of other things that adversely affect physical achievement, especially when there are so many environmental things that do damage or why make an extremely hard thing even harder?

I can do what I do under extremely limited physical circumstances, but I don't dance for a living.

Share this post


Link to post

In order to bring this convo full circle, here's a video of Marie Agnes Gillot puffing away like a chimney whilst onstage no less, albeit in Le Jeune homme et La Morte. It comes at the 8:20 mark, I looked closely and YES unlike Clinton she's inhaling.

Impressively, unlike Aurelie Dupont, Nicolas Le Riche declines to join her.

Share this post


Link to post

This is also the ballet that plays under the opening credits of "White Nights" and when we first see Misha it's medium close in and he's....smoking.

My question would be, why would dancers, athletes, or anyone else who makes his or her living through strenuous physical activity voluntarily decrease lung capacity, make breathing more difficult, adversely affect internal organs, and the rash of other things that adversely affect physical achievement, especially when there are so many environmental things that do damage or why make an extremely hard thing even harder?

People do a lot of things that are risky for them in the long run for the sake of short term needs.

This debate isn't new, now that I think about it. There's a scene in The Band Wagon in which Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse, getting off on the wrong foot, find out that among the many things they don't have in common is smoking. Astaire lights up and offers one to Charisse, who sniffs that she doesn't think dancers should smoke. Later in the movie she bums a cigarette off him.

Share this post


Link to post

In order to bring this convo full circle, here's a video of Marie Agnes Gillot puffing away like a chimney whilst onstage no less, albeit in Le Jeune homme et La Morte. It comes at the 8:20 mark, I looked closely and YES unlike Clinton she's inhaling.

Impressively, unlike Aurelie Dupont, Nicolas Le Riche declines to join her.

:rofl:

Well Le Riche clearly declines as he had just finished one of his own and is fearing the wrath of the stage manager for putting out another one on the stage flooring. That stuff isn't cheap!

Share this post


Link to post

My question would be, why would dancers, athletes, or anyone else who makes his or her living through strenuous physical activity voluntarily decrease lung capacity, make breathing more difficult, adversely affect internal organs, and the rash of other things that adversely affect physical achievement, especially when there are so many environmental things that do damage or why make an extremely hard thing even harder?

I can do what I do under extremely limited physical circumstances, but I don't dance for a living.

:)

People are complex, and dancers are no exception.

-d-

Share this post


Link to post

I'll never forget my terror on my very first day of kindergarten. Sensing my fear my mother pressed her pack of Marlboro reds and her zippo lighter into my chubby little hand and told me to wait until break and then share them out amongst all my new friends, she was right, I soon became the most popular pre schooler in juvenile detention. Her heart was in the right place, if nothing else, my dear mama.

Oh, my. :)

Just curious: did you actually start smoking then?

(When still a grade-schooler I remember drawing red circles with a felt-pen around the middle of my dad's cigarettes in an attmept to get him to stop. The anti-smoking ads of the late sixties showed someone doing that, so my little bros and I did it, too. Dad was furious. But, being a medical doctor, he finally decided he could not also be a hypocrit. So he quit.)

-d-

Share this post


Link to post

I'll never forget my terror on my very first day of kindergarten. Sensing my fear my mother pressed her pack of Marlboro reds and her zippo lighter into my chubby little hand and told me to wait until break and then share them out amongst all my new friends, she was right, I soon became the most popular pre schooler in juvenile detention. Her heart was in the right place, if nothing else, my dear mama.

Oh, my. :)

Just curious: did you actually start smoking then?

(When still a grade-schooler I remember drawing red circles with a felt-pen around the middle of my dad's cigarettes in an attmept to get him to stop. The anti-smoking ads of the late sixties showed someone doing that, so my little bros and I did it, too. Dad was furious. But, being a medical doctor, he finally decided he could not also be a hypocrit. So he quit.)

-d-

No, it wasn't quite that bad, I did go to dance school, first White Lodge, then London Contemporary Dance School where I started smoking at around 16/17, LCDS was very very stressful and it did contribute to my decision, also everyone else smoked so it just seemed natural to start - strangely I had been rabidly anti-smoking prior to that. Though I remember feeling sick to the gills for several weeks while I acclimatised to the air of Marlboro Country. There was tar in them there hills.

Share this post


Link to post

In order to bring this convo full circle, here's a video of Marie Agnes Gillot puffing away like a chimney whilst onstage no less, albeit in Le Jeune homme et La Morte. It comes at the 8:20 mark, I looked closely and YES unlike Clinton she's inhaling.

Impressively, unlike Aurelie Dupont, Nicolas Le Riche declines to join her.

:rofl:

Well Le Riche clearly declines as he had just finished one of his own and is fearing the wrath of the stage manager for putting out another one on the stage flooring. That stuff isn't cheap!

Maybe Jeune Homme is actually an allegory on the perils of smoking, with La Morte being death by smoking-related causes? The ballet is indeed way existential.

Share this post


Link to post

For those really passionate about it anti-smokers, here's a suggestion, work towards getting the cigs made illegal.

Richard,

Are you secretly Rob Reiner? The thing is cigs will never be illegal as long as tax revenue is there to be garnered and indeed why should it, people have been enjoying a tab for millennia in one form or another.

Though if it were to be made illegal it'd just push it underground, it'd be just like the days of prohibition with Emphysema Speakeasys, with a troupe of wheezing hoofing iron lung flapper girls.

What gets me is that sure the odd stray whiff can be annoying, but think of all those sleights small and large, petty infractions, annoyances and irritants that happen to one over the course of a lifetime, are any of those truly worth getting one's knickers into such an inordinate twist?

Smoking is a choice and sooner or later every smoker decides to quit, and it's hard or continue. As tragic as the stories of loved ones dying are, Aurelie Dupont is not nanarina's father and should she continue to puff away till her lungs are black wizened lumps of tar rattling around in her rib cage it has absolutely no relation or bearing on anyone else's death or illness. With all the stresses, insecurities, injuries, hardships and worry a dancer has to face, will you really deny her the occasional cig, or not so occasional if that's what floats her boat?

I really admire Aurelie Dupont, she is currently my favourite dancer, because of what I experienced with my Father,it makes me hate to think of anyone I like(or disliked) suffering in the same way. I know I cannot protect them, and it is none of my business actually. My own daughter smokes heavily and already has had cancer, but carries on. I cannot tolerate smoke from cigeretes, it makes me really ill. Every time my grand children come to stay, I have to wash all their clothes as they reak of nicotine, but of course my daughter does not notice it, I do not think some people who smoke are aware of the stale smell that accompanies most of therm.

Share this post


Link to post

I also smoked for a few years in my youth - due partly to leaving home quite young and being very immature and impressionable, stress, weight-control issues - and in fact I got much better control of my weight after stopping smoking.

Back in those days more than 50% of the dancers I knew smoked - I am in Europe.

Now it is quite different from company to company, I have seen.

It also seems to depend on where the dancers come from.

I have one DD who has asthma and she has serious trouble when confronted with cigarette smoke.

Sometimes I compare smoking around others to blaring very loud music out of a ghetto-blaster: the person playing the music does not mind it, and some of the passersby may also like it or be indifferent, but there are probably going to be some people who are really, really bothered and will feel very uncomfortable and cannot get away.

I tend towards a mantra of "my freedom stops where yours begins". :)

Probably one has to sort of agree on how important it really is to have fairly clear air to breathe while out walking or waiting for a bus, and all of that.

-d-

Share this post


Link to post

It's really no longer glamorous to smoke in the way it used to be and most European countries have smoking bans – Germany appears to be the exception. I believe that part of the impetus for the bans had to do with the costs to national health systems.

"J'adore fumer", said DeNeuve in 'Pola X', and she's talked about cutting down to two a day after dinner, and probably does that or did for a time. She's said "I used to smoke a lot, but these two are delicious". I think so too. In the case of the smoker, it's usually that it's a very small minority that can smoke as a kind of 'dessert' thing like that. I smoke about a pack every 3 or 4 weeks, and don't intend to stop if I can continue it like that. I do it after a meal too, and yet it is not because DeNeuve is my role model in all ways. However, if you can do it like that, it's not even a 'filthy habit', as almost everybody seems to feel self-righteous enough to call it. I know someone at the moment who feels exactly this way about alcohol, and was never an alcoholic, but just cites statistics, so that at the age of 20 she never had a drink, and is now at the age of 35 much like a much older person.

Contrary to what some commenters have said, smoking is still very sexy and glamorous, and I'll get around to reading the wiki specificities later. A Swiss French friend who also smokes lightly says that smoking is allowed in outdoor areas of restaurants in Switzerland and in France. I am fine with bans in restaurants indoors, although personally, I like a good Italian or Spanish restaurants flavours and aromas mixed with cigarette and cigar smoke (this is different from one poster's discussion of the 'loss of scent' when you smoke: It's according to which kind. In a pristine outdoor environment, I'd never think of smoking, but again, I know I'm in the minority about not having the same kind of addiction--and it's not to make me 'special', it's that I get a headache and a sense of depression if I smoke except when partying with other people. I always thought the worst offense vis-a-vis smoking was allowing it in public workplaces, where it was simply nauseating, even if you smoked some yourself, but that's just acc. to the person.)

I like the thread though, as it has caught me up on attitudes about the outdoor anti-smoking campaign in a way I would usually associate with the New York Times. I see it is a kind of war, insofar as the extreme cases of 'right to not smoke' are being invoked as well as 'unhappinesses' of various kinds, and desires for the 'most stringent' forbiddings. I have no sympathy with this, because everything Simon has said is true except for knowing anything about Marlboro Country, he's too young to have known what being a Marlboro Man is like. But even objectively I don't have any sympathy with it, because it really is like liquor prohibition, but just different in kind: A drunk is very glad to impinge on your desire not to be a drunk or around drunks, and for this reason, we may not reinstate Prohibition.

I see nothing whatever in the thesis of 'role model' for young dancers for Aurelie and Marie-Agnes. Obama has a fag or two, as is well-known, and that's the U.S. president. Nor do I think that dancers and others who use their physical powers ought to 'know better', because they do. They don't need anything explained to them. They want to smoke, and one can simply try to force them not to. But I doubt they care about lip service on this matter, they want to see tanks if they're going to pay attention.

BUT...the fact is that the thread has proved that there is just battling it out. There are those who don't think smokers have any rights at all, and those who think they should be veritably policed. So they'll just have to see if they can get it done. Nothing really to discuss unless one has the power and energy to call up and join organizations, etc. People in the U.S. have long been smoking much less (last 20 years, I guess), and those who do smoke will continue to until the new crackdowns occur. And of these impending crackdowns I have no doubt. This is an increasingly sterilized country in a number of ways. And while even in France, DeNeuve can't smoke at the Tour d'Argent, she can at the Cafe des Deux Magots, if she ever goes there.

It seems to have an element of melancholy and solitude to it now. The compulsion to text has taken its place, a small decafinated pleasure that seems to dull rather than sharpen the mind.

Not necessarily. I rarely have even a single cigarette when I'm alone, it's for being sociable, even if the other person doesn't smoke (unless s/he minds the smoke, in which case I don't.) I like your comparison of texting, though, which has recently been written up in NYTimes as having ascended to heights of such extreme rudeness that the bimboes who must remain glued to their cellphones don't even mention mid-conversation that they must tend to this; they just do it, and start talking, with the flesh-conversation person left either to decide this is normal or abnormal and maybe just walk away quite as naturally as the texter thought it was to text. But I've seen no attempts to take LEGAL ACTION on all sorts of addictions to technology, because it's not been around long enough to show just how HARMFUL it is to the OTHER person. It boils down to whether you want to be strict and virtually totalitarian or accept some of the imperfections of democracy which are bound to accompany some of the freedoms it gives, as dirac pointed out about halfway through.

Share this post


Link to post

But I've seen no attempts to take LEGAL ACTION on all sorts of addictions to technology, because it's not been around long enough to show just how HARMFUL it is to the OTHER person.

Texting while driving (as with cell phone use) might become, or perhaps already is, an exception to this. I have certainly seen public service announcements on the topic.

Share this post


Link to post

In my observations at social events for the arts; musicians, dancers, even singers in general have a higher rates of smoking than the general population. Dancers in particular smoke to stave off hunger pains and deal with stress. The pressures to remain ridiculously thin are not to be underestimated. The social barriers to smoking in Europe are very low grade in comparison to the US. While it is banned in many restaurants in Europe, most people flaunt these rules as a form or rebellion. In comparison in Seattle, the pressure *not* to smoke is tremendous, and social mores make smokers feel deeply uncomfortable.

I abhore smoking, and my father also died of lung cancer in his early 60's. He was diagnosed the Friday before Mother's Day weekend, and died the week before Father's day. Those 4 weeks were the worst of his life, and the worst of ours, watching him suffer.

There are significant smoking cecession options available now, including Chantix, which I understand is very effective. I hope Ms. DuPont is able to quit for the sake of her own long term health.

Share this post


Link to post

: I am so sorry that you too had the same experience as me, it is something despite trying, I personally can never seem to forget. My feelings are not only criticism but concern for others. Like you I abhore smoking for what it does to me if I am forced to be in a stagnant environment. I was so pleased when it was banned in public places indoors here in the UK. However, people can light up and puff all over you outside.

I had an experience last year when I was unable to walk due to an injury. My Son in law left me sitting in a precinct with a group of 12 young Mums, there were four tables, each of them had a child or two, and sat there smoking heavily.

They were friendly and just doing their own thing, I spoke to them for a while, and in the end had to apologise for moving away, which I did to well out of their field. So in fact smoking can be just as offensive outdoors as in.

Share this post


Link to post