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Dancers Who SmokeWhy do they put their life at RISK?


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#76 Simon G

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 02:23 PM

If you know you stink, you stay away from people; even homeless people who don't have an opportunity to bathe understand that and usually settle themselves in some out-of-the-way spot.


And the 2011 Marie Antoinette Award for the Civically Minded goes to....


Oh, but if Dupont had just said a quick "do you mind?" to those present before taking that cigarette, I would have cheered for her! If more people were willing to be a role model for etiquette, perhaps we wouldn't need so many laws to enforce what should just be common sense and good manners.


The fact that she didn't makes me love her all the more, anyway, she was with smokers, why would other smokers mind? Now she has to be a role model for etiquette too? With that much weight on her shoulders the next time she performs the rose adagio she's going to fall flat on her face, as if crushed by a giant iron lung.

Who, please, is the "smoking nazi" in this scenario? Who has a seat, and who has none?


Lebensraum is always a tricky one, but as the one to have coined the smoking Nazi soubriquette in this discussion I think I've hit upon the solution for the smoking problem. Some might say a Final Solution.

Let's put them in camps. Great big camps. Where they can smoke like chimneys.

P.S I'm Jewish so the last statement wasn't offensive rather post modern, self referential, culturally ironic humour.

#77 puppytreats

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 05:33 PM


If you know you stink, you stay away from people; even homeless people who don't have an opportunity to bathe understand that and usually settle themselves in some out-of-the-way spot.


And the 2011 Marie Antoinette Award for the Civically Minded goes to....


Oh, but if Dupont had just said a quick "do you mind?" to those present before taking that cigarette, I would have cheered for her! If more people were willing to be a role model for etiquette, perhaps we wouldn't need so many laws to enforce what should just be common sense and good manners.


The fact that she didn't makes me love her all the more, anyway, she was with smokers, why would other smokers mind? Now she has to be a role model for etiquette too? With that much weight on her shoulders the next time she performs the rose adagio she's going to fall flat on her face, as if crushed by a giant iron lung.

Who, please, is the "smoking nazi" in this scenario? Who has a seat, and who has none?


Lebensraum is always a tricky one, but as the one to have coined the smoking Nazi soubriquette in this discussion I think I've hit upon the solution for the smoking problem. Some might say a Final Solution.

Let's put them in camps. Great big camps. Where they can smoke like chimneys.

P.S I'm Jewish so the last statement wasn't offensive rather post modern, self referential, culturally ironic humour.


Pretty offensive.

#78 papeetepatrick

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 06:12 PM

The fact that she didn't makes me love her all the more, anyway, she was with smokers, why would other smokers mind? Now she has to be a role model for etiquette too? With that much weight on her shoulders the next time she performs the rose adagio she's going to fall flat on her face, as if crushed by a giant iron lung.


Absolument. There was no reason she should ask smokers if she should smoke, nor worry about fallout from potential boycotts of ticket sales (even if the 4th ring of wherever is still open) due to role-model-refusal tailored to ballet discussion board members (who, by the way, ought to consider not attending the POB season next year, shoudn't they, if Aurelie and Marie-Agnes won't shape up, not to mention, mind their manners if they don't want illegalisms to force the issue?)

Baryshnikov and Peter Martins both have talked about enjoying cigarettes, but that's beside the point. Nobody said anything about Martins's DUI in relation to 'role-modelism'. Why are the French girls expected to be better 'role models' than Peter Martins, and in alcohol-related accident is potentially far more fatal than that frightfully intrusive 4th-hand smoke you might get if you were at a performance with somebody whose tutu or ballet dress may have been in the presence of cigarette smoke (or was that barbecued pork from the cookouts they had to attend to make nice-nice with some of the suburban donors?)

#79 kfw

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 06:42 PM

Baryshnikov and Peter Martins both have talked about enjoying cigarettes, but that's beside the point. Nobody said anything about Martins's DUI in relation to 'role-modelism'. Why are the French girls expected to be better 'role models' than Peter Martins,[ . . . ]

I don't think we have any right to expect them to be good role models, but they're in a privileged position, so they have the opportunity to be good role models in that respect if they want to be. In any case, chosing to smoke and getting a DUI through carelessness when one doesn't abuse alcohol aren't parallel. The first is a conscious choice; the second is a dumb mistake, and we all make those.

#80 papeetepatrick

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 06:50 PM


Baryshnikov and Peter Martins both have talked about enjoying cigarettes, but that's beside the point. Nobody said anything about Martins's DUI in relation to 'role-modelism'. Why are the French girls expected to be better 'role models' than Peter Martins,[ . . . ]

I don't think we have any right to expect them to be good role models, but they're in a privileged position, so they have the opportunity to be good role models in that respect if they want to be. In any case, chosing to smoke and getting a DUI through carelessness when one doesn't abuse alcohol aren't parallel. The first is a conscious choice; the second is a dumb mistake, and we all make those.


Do you know that he didn't choose to drink too much and think he might be just fine anyway? A DUI is not usually considered a 'dumb mistake' or 'careless', and it certainly is not considered to matter a whit by law enforcement. And, as I said, Baryshnikov AND Martins both have talked about smoking. I know many dancers who smoke. A DUI, though, could definitely be considered 'alcohol abuse' even if it's 'carelessness'.

#81 Simon G

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 06:58 PM


Baryshnikov and Peter Martins both have talked about enjoying cigarettes, but that's beside the point. Nobody said anything about Martins's DUI in relation to 'role-modelism'. Why are the French girls expected to be better 'role models' than Peter Martins,[ . . . ]

I don't think we have any right to expect them to be good role models, but they're in a privileged position, so they have the opportunity to be good role models in that respect if they want to be. In any case, chosing to smoke and getting a DUI through carelessness when one doesn't abuse alcohol aren't parallel. The first is a conscious choice; the second is a dumb mistake, and we all make those.



Kfw,

This is where I really disagree and actually get pissed off. My sister was killed by an idiot who made the "dumb" mistake of getting into a car and driving while nearly three times the legal limit. In the UK our DUI laws are rather different, there's no vehicular manslaughter, he got off with a 12 month suspended sentence and a three year driving ban.

There is absolutely no excuse ever to get into a car and drive drunk. Whether one is an alcoholic or just one-off dumb, is immaterial, being put out by passing through someone's smoke won't kill you. A half a tonne of metal ramming into you because some idiot has decided to drive sozzled will.

There is absolutely no way that smoking a personal choice to harm oneself can be seen as a greater evil than drunk driving. The latter is an act of gross misanthropy, the effects are devastating, immediate and destroy lives in an instant.

I'd share a cig with Aurelie and Marie any day, I certainly wouldn't get into a car with Martins, Snr or Jnr, who seem to view vehicles not so much as modes of transport but as party time.

And to Puppytreats I fail to see how my post was more offensive than a blank statement that the homeless keep away from us God-fearing, ballet-loving, decent folk because they know their stench will affront our delicate sensibilities.

#82 kfw

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 07:11 PM

There is absolutely no way that smoking a personal choice to harm oneself can be seen as a greater evil than drunk driving.

Simon, I understand your feelings, and I'm sorry you had to experience that tragedy. I don't think this is the place to discuss the issue in detail, so I will only repeat that I don't see lifestyle choices and one-off dumb mistakes as parallel when it comes to modeling behavior, whatever their outcomes.

#83 papeetepatrick

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 07:49 PM


There is absolutely no way that smoking a personal choice to harm oneself can be seen as a greater evil than drunk driving.

Simon, I understand your feelings, and I'm sorry you had to experience that tragedy. I don't think this is the place to discuss the issue in detail, so I will only repeat that I don't see lifestyle choices and one-off dumb mistakes as parallel when it comes to modeling behavior, whatever their outcomes.


Then Peter Martins has at least two one-offs of differing sorts, the first of which was spousal abuse in the early 90s. This is public record, not gossip. I suppose you can call that a 'dumb mistake' and that he 'didn't choose to do it', not really anyway. Spent a few hours in the clink for it too. Another thing we disagree on is the 'opportunity to be a role model'. You don't have to be privileged to want to be a role model. For those here who want a 'role model for etiquette', there are quite a number at Ballet Alert who are very good at it (I mean that quite sincerely), as well as many who are not (I mean, not just me and someone else, who aren't interested in it in that sense, insofar as if I'm judged for having a cigarette as to my worth, I really am not interested in the opinion). Marie-Agnes Gillot is a role model for fouettes, that ought to be enough for any good citizen. It is really incredible how the extremely gifted are supposed to stand for things thought 'noble' by various classes of citizens, and yet it may be because the 'less privileged' don't think they're capable of it either, or haven't been rewarded enough to have to.

#84 Helene

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 07:55 PM

Role models cut both ways. There are people who are attracted to "bad boys", to power, to being able to get away with criminal behavior, and all sorts of things.

#85 papeetepatrick

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 08:00 PM

Role models cut both ways. There are people who are attracted to "bad boys", to power, to being able to get away with criminal behavior, and all sorts of things.


But that's not the kind we're talking about here. We're talking about ballet dancers being 'good role models' by not smoking and other 'unseemly behaviour that young girl ballet students or budding stars might emulate'. That would include the men who smoke too. Mere smoking does not make ballet dancers, male or female, 'good or bad girls or good or bad boys'. The context of this discussion is a 'pure-oriented role model', not those (like me) who are attracted to Obama, etc., and his 'cool hand Barack', as Maureen Dowd called it. But there are lots of 'bad boys' who are politicians, and I knew somebody who thoroughly admired John Gotti, when I was terrified of him when I had to play at the Beekman Tower, where he often came (I was even instructed to play 'Come Back to Sorrento', I believe.)

#86 Helene

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 08:06 PM

I know that is not what was meant up-thread about "good" role models, but not everyone has the same definition, especially aspiring dancers. Given the discipline needed to be a professional dancer, how dancers are called "boys" and "girls", how they are pushed around by choreographers and artistic directors, etc., some breaking the mold, appearing glamorous or adult (at least in their own eyes), could be considered positive, either because they are looked at as rule-breakers or as exhibiting normal, adult behavior, and there aren't a lot of options when you get up early every morning to take company class. I wish someone would eat a pizza instead and break the food taboo instead of lighting up a cigarette -- although PNB's very slender Maria Chapman said in a Q&A that she needs to eat 3-5K calories a day to maintain weight at the height of the season -- but you don't always get what you want.

A friend whose daughter is on the brink of deciding how seriously she will pursue dance and in whom a major US company has shown interest told me which company dancer he wanted as a role model for his daughter, and the first thing he said was, "She doesn't smoke." Hopefully his daughter feels the same way.

ETA: Dupont might be considered a great role model at POB, where dancers, particularly the females, are held to an extremely thin standard overall. At the end of the Wiseman's "La Danse", Brigitte Lefevre meets a young corps dancer in her office. That dancer is, to my eyes, frightfully thin, even if she is one of the few who doesn't gain camera weight and that is her actual size. Lefevre approves when the dancer talks about how she has lost weight. I can't imagine Lefevre having a problem with a weight control habit.

#87 4mrdncr

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 09:13 PM

I'm sorry, but this whole discussion has become rather specious. To say that dancers are so weak and impressionable that when they see an etoile or lesser star smoking they will too, doesn't say much about their strength of character, purpose, or intellect. When the perils of smoking are so known and publicized today, I think most dancers can make the choice not to smoke. If they are still worried about weight, then there are nutritionists on staff at many companies who could probably recommend something more healthy than smoking.

When I see a dancer who smokes, I wonder why they would so wilfully injure the body that is their instrument? They are not only shortening a dance career, they are shortening their life. They are hurting themselves. And I wonder what insecurity or need inside them would cause them to override all sense of health, ambition/ability, future life or career, to destroy it, however slowly? Of course, I believe some of the addictive impulse (which smoking is surely part of) can be hereditary. But then again, I know lots of people whose parents or idols smoked, and yet they chose not to, and in many instances, tried to get the person they admired in most other ways, to cease and desist.

#88 Helene

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 09:22 PM

Why would dancers, who generally start smoking as professional division dancer or school dancers, be any less impressionable than any other teenagers? I would say they would be more impressionable, because they, as teenagers, are often in boarding situations and a step away from being a professional, unlike most people their age, and their professional idols -- principals and etoiles -- are right there if they are at a school that's affiliated with a company. Performing children's roles, they share the stage with their idols.

#89 dirac

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 09:33 PM



Baryshnikov and Peter Martins both have talked about enjoying cigarettes, but that's beside the point. Nobody said anything about Martins's DUI in relation to 'role-modelism'. Why are the French girls expected to be better 'role models' than Peter Martins,[ . . . ]

I don't think we have any right to expect them to be good role models, but they're in a privileged position, so they have the opportunity to be good role models in that respect if they want to be. In any case, chosing to smoke and getting a DUI through carelessness when one doesn't abuse alcohol aren't parallel. The first is a conscious choice; the second is a dumb mistake, and we all make those.


Do you know that he didn't choose to drink too much and think he might be just fine anyway? A DUI is not usually considered a 'dumb mistake' or 'careless', and it certainly is not considered to matter a whit by law enforcement. And, as I said, Baryshnikov AND Martins both have talked about smoking. I know many dancers who smoke. A DUI, though, could definitely be considered 'alcohol abuse' even if it's 'carelessness'.


Adding to what Patrick said - the distinction between "conscious choice" and "dumb mistake" is a bit of a stretch, surely? You don't know the motivations and the history of the smoker down the way, and one could argue that the casual drinker who has a few too many and gets behind the wheel is more culpable than the alcoholic, because the former has the judgment to know better and prepare for the contingency.

Dancers are obligated to dance well. Which is certainly hard enough, we don't have to load them down with anything else. Let's just put Aurelie and Marie-Agnes in stocks in the public square and have done with it. Good grief.

#90 Quiggin

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 10:12 PM

I've sort of lost track of the cycles of this thread ... but when did dancers have to become good role models for other dancers? Were Allegra Kent or Suzanne Farrell great role models or Nureyev? The most interesting dancers in our local company probably have the greatest character flaws, including, but not limited to, being smokers.

(By the way the characters in the book I've resumed reading, "Your Face Tomorrow" (2002-2009), do a fair amount of smoking: "Wheeler took a few puffs and looked with bemusement at the lighted end, doubtless unaccustomed to the feeble, insipid cigarettes I usually smoke.")


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