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David Hallberg on Colbert Report

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The December 2011 edition of ABT's Pointe of View E-newsletter states that David Hallberg will appear on the Colbert Report on 12/07/11.

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Watched last night. Hallberg came on during the last 10 minutes of the half-hour program (so near midnight). He was charming & fielded Colbert's silly questions with aplomb. The piece de resistance came after the last advertisement break, when Hallberg & lovely Hee Seo began dancing the Nutcracker pdd coda...and were soon joined by Colbert, now wearing black tights along with his usual dark-suit jacket and striped tie. Colbert hilariously tried to 'mirror' Hallberg's moves, as he stood a bit behind. At the final moment, Colbert jumped in front of Hallberg to catch Hee Seo in the final-pose fish dive. The ballerina survived but her face spoke volumes. I'm sure that it will be on YouTube soon.

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It looks like YouTube rejected the clip, due to copyright violations. However, you can see the entire episode on Colbert's own site:

http://www.colbertna...-david-hallberg

Hallberg starts at 14:38. Last night I heard a local newscaster report that Colbert had studied ballet while a student at Northwestern. I thought it was actually a nice intro for audiences that had never seen ballet.

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I am glad Colbert turned it serious for a few moments because David is such an awesome guy. I had the pleasure of dancing with David during my time in Ballet Arizona and you could not meet a more humble guy. I think the pas de trois they did together was tasteful and not over the top. It made me laugh and anytime Hallberg is performing, it is always a high point in dance.

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  • Watching the clip from the Colbert report made my morning. So will Hallberg now have "groupies" showing up at hs ABT performances? I wonder why Hee Seo was removed from all of the upcoming Nutcracker performances at BAM.

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I cannot speak for the Nutcracker performances but Hee Seo is scheduled ot dance Nikiya in Bayadere at the Kennedy Center in early February.

I'm so happy that Hee was selected to dance this Colbert gig, even if we got her on TV for just a minute or so.

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Maybe, she is preparing for La Bayadere. i hope she is being coached by Irina K and/or Natalia M.

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...and they are on the Times website, in "Arts Beat." Great. Though I've read little about Colbert, (and haven't seen the show other than on You Tube), I got the impression that underneath all the silliness is a person seriously interested in the arts!

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...and they are on the Times website, in "Arts Beat." Great. Though I've read little about Colbert, (and haven't seen the show other than on You Tube), I got the impression that underneath all the silliness is a person seriously interested in the arts!

Definitely true. Colbert attended Northwestern where he was a theatre major, where the theatre program is intense and very comprehensive in getting the students involved in all aspects of the arts.

Colbert definitely has a love of the arts and much more. otherwise, he would NOT be able to have the success that he has as a satirist. People definitely don't give him enough credit.

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It looks like YouTube rejected the clip, due to copyright violations. However, you can see the entire episode on Colbert's own site:

http://www.colbertna...-david-hallberg

Hallberg starts at 14:38. Last night I heard a local newscaster report that Colbert had studied ballet while a student at Northwestern. I thought it was actually a nice intro for audiences that had never seen ballet.

The interview was just tasteless. Whenever Hallberg would try to get into some thoughtful comment Colbert then would start again with all that cheap comedy act. Every time I see this phenomenon-(the fact that the laughable dose seems to be mandatory for any act to be successful)-I remember a friend, a teacher of 40 plus years , who always tells me that she can't take the new school guidelines for which professors are ordered to make classes "fun". As she says, school was never meant to be fun, but to learn, many times the hard way. I think it would have been more interesting would Colbert have allowed a little more seriousness into the interview, which was short to start with, let along all the time wasted with the clown thing. And then , just as photocopying Letterman in his interview with Part, there is the necessary mocking gestures of ballet jumps and poses. The "humping" remark was plainly vulgar. Finally, when one thinks some bit of a ballet performance will be broadcast so people who has never seen it can have the opportunity to enjoy some seconds of such beautiful art, the omnipresent clownish act needs to make its necessary inclusion. How sad. Now understand why Alonso always refused to make such pseudo-appearances on TV, unless there were "real" ones...

Or maybe it is just me, who was never fond of clowns, but as the saying states, to each his/her own...

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The interview was just tasteless. Whenever Hallberg would try to get into some thoughtful comment Colbert then would start again with all that cheap comedy act. Every time I see this phenomenon-(the fact that the laughable dose seems to be mandatory for any act to be successful)-I remember a friend, a teacher of 40 plus years , who always tells me that she can't take the new school guidelines for which professors are ordered to make classes "fun". As she says, school was never meant to be fun, but to learn, many times the hard way. I think it would have been more interesting would Colbert have allowed a little more seriousness into the interview, which was short to start with, let along all the time wasted with the clown thing. And then , just as photocopying Letterman in his interview with Part, there is the necessary mocking gestures of ballet jumps and poses. The "humping" remark was plainly vulgar. Finally, when one thinks some bit of a ballet performance will be broadcast so people who has never seen it can have the opportunity to enjoy some seconds of such beautiful art, the omnipresent clownish act needs to make its necessary inclusion. How sad. Now understand why Alonso always refused to make such pseudo-appearances on TV, unless there were "real" ones... Or maybe it is just me, who was never fond of clowns, but as the saying states, to each his/her own...

Though I understand Colbert's need to inject humor into the conversation--he is a satirist isn't he?--and thought the bits about Hallberg being "a double agent" because he now dances for both the Russians (Boshoi)and Americans (ABT)ok, as well as the very relevant points (these days) about bullying, I tend to agree with cubanmiamiboy about the general tendency of most American popular tv interview programs (PBS excepted) to be snarky at the least and condescending/demeaning at the most, with the clueless ones in the middle. At least Colbert did ask a few serious questions, (though as noted, he didn't let DH reply completely), and did show some respectible dance moves; I immediately noticed Colbert's correct turnout and fifth positions, and realized he had had some training somewhere--though I was unaware of his Northwestern Univ. experience.

But actually, the whole interview/demo of Colbert/Hallberg (& Letterman/Part previously) reminded me of an interview Angel Corella did with a similarly formatted Spanish tv program a few years ago (most of these interviews are available on YT). There, too, a demo followed the sit-down interview. But this time, maybe Angel was too canny to allow himself or his art to be demeaned. In his street clothes (ie. what he was wearing during the interview), Angel only did a few moves at a barre, a pirouette (of course!) and so, only the interviewer's actions--I think he donned tights (& a tutu?) were silly. Another similarity to the Colbert/Hallberg Q&A about bullying, and wanting to confront them now with Hallberg's success and prove them wrong, was Angel's being bullied at school when young, and now the building is named after him. I do not know if Angel ever had the chance to meet those former bullies after this happened. I will say, however, (and sorry for not being that fluent in Spanish) that the interview section seemed more serious than most interviews I've seen on American popular television.

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Colbert's interviews are always in a satirical and often goofy spirit; for one thing he is playing a character who is supposed to be an ego-maniacal buffoon. And he was not remotely MEAN-stupid (for which my model is Letterman interviewing Makarova well before 1989 and asking her why she does not ever go back to Russia very much as if that were a real option for her. She actually commented in some distress that she had been told that Letterman's show was supposed to be funny).

My main complaint about Colbert was no video footage at all of Hallberg dancing to "show" what he does in a more effective way than the bit in the studio could and no explanation for the younger television audience of what the Bolshoi is. Just one sentence would have been helpful even if done in a satirical spirit ("Stalin's favorite ballet company").

I thought that in the comedy context David Hallberg "represented" ballet very well--came off as very nice and natural. Colbert's regular viewers also know that Colbert genuinely seems to like/respect the arts or at any rate that he is willing to give them some sort of popular platform. I will say that he seems to me especially interested in and, behind all the goofiness, serious about modern painting and that does not seem at all to be the case with classical ballet.

But if you want a serious interview then watch Charlie Rose--though whatever his "seriousness" he can hardly be called knowledgeable. Ratmansky had to correct his confusion between the Kiev ballet and the Kirov ballet. Not making that up. I suppose the producers, or whoever prepares Rose's notes, should take some of the blame for that one. As a ballet fan, I found the slip at least as embarassing as anything on Colbert, but I'm still grateful to Rose for featuring dance artists on his show.

Hallberg was excellent on CBS Sunday morning which was also "serious"--and included the story of his injuring himself during the Bolshoi film broadcast of Sleeping Beauty, not saying a word, and finishing the performance. Plus, as one might expect these days, several questions on bullying. The highlight for me, though...some lovely footage of him as a young student.

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I'm surprised that posters here were expecting a serious interview on a show that labels itself not only as a comedic and satirical news show, but is on a television station called Comedy Central where shows like South Park and Reno 911 are the line-up. The way Stephen conducted his interview with Hallberg was no different from any of his other interviews with his other guests where he pokes fun at/ jokes with them. Good thing Hallberg is familiar with the show and didn't take his interview seriously like he was being interviewed by Katie Couric.

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I'm surprised that posters here were expecting a serious interview on a show that labels itself not only as a comedic and satirical news show, but is on a television station called Comedy Central where shows like South Park and Reno 911 are the line-up. The way Stephen conducted his interview with Hallberg was no different from any of his other interviews with his other guests where he pokes fun at/ jokes with them. Good thing Hallberg is familiar with the show and didn't take his interview seriously like he was being interviewed by Katie Couric.

I'll take Steven Colbert over Katie Couric any day, thank you!

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I'm surprised that posters here were expecting a serious interview on a show that labels itself not only as a comedic and satirical news show, but is on a television station called Comedy Central where shows like South Park and Reno 911 are the line-up. The way Stephen conducted his interview with Hallberg was no different from any of his other interviews with his other guests where he pokes fun at/ jokes with them. Good thing Hallberg is familiar with the show and didn't take his interview seriously like he was being interviewed by Katie Couric.

I'll take Steven Colbert over Katie Couric any day, thank you!

indeed!

Furthermore I will add I thought David handled himself really well. You generally have an option with Colbert (I should note, I like Colbert, I don't really enjoy his interview style)--either just be totally silly and role with it, or be flummoxed by it.

David went with neither. He joked along to an extent but really stayed on target and got in a lot of the points he wanted to make, I thought he acquitted himself remarkably well. He was relaxed about it enough that he didn't seem like he was just ignoring Colbert or was merely reciting memorized talking points, but he didn't let himself be railroaded. For someone in a profession where speaking is NOT your main calling, I thought it especially impressive.

Don't take Colbert seriously guys, he doesn't, and the joke is on those who do. That is how he got off all those HORRIBLY wonderful zingers on Bush at the white house correspondents dinner in 2006--the republicans thought he was actually conservative (OUCH! and WOW!)

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Of note re this discussion, from The Colbert Report:

Nation! Bid on ballet shoes signed by David Hallberg and Stephen Colbert, and worn by Hallberg on The Report. All proceeds will benefit The David Hallberg Scholarship Fund for aspiring male ballet dancers.* LINK.

*I don't see Charlie Rose doing this!

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I'm surprised that posters here were expecting a serious interview on a show that labels itself not only as a comedic and satirical news show, but is on a television station called Comedy Central where shows like South Park and Reno 911 are the line-up. The way Stephen conducted his interview with Hallberg was no different from any of his other interviews with his other guests where he pokes fun at/ jokes with them. Good thing Hallberg is familiar with the show and didn't take his interview seriously like he was being interviewed by Katie Couric.

I'll take Steven Colbert over Katie Couric any day, thank you!

indeed!

Furthermore I will add I thought David handled himself really well. You generally have an option with Colbert (I should note, I like Colbert, I don't really enjoy his interview style)--either just be totally silly and role with it, or be flummoxed by it.

David went with neither. He joked along to an extent but really stayed on target and got in a lot of the points he wanted to make, I thought he acquitted himself remarkably well. He was relaxed about it enough that he didn't seem like he was just ignoring Colbert or was merely reciting memorized talking points, but he didn't let himself be railroaded. For someone in a profession where speaking is NOT your main calling, I thought it especially impressive.

Don't take Colbert seriously guys, he doesn't, and the joke is on those who do. That is how he got off all those HORRIBLY wonderful zingers on Bush at the white house correspondents dinner in 2006--the republicans thought he was actually conservative (OUCH! and WOW!)

I agree...Colbert on the show and "on the job" is NOT to be taken seriously...for the most part, any time Colbert ends up in the media, take it with a grain of salt...but as he's shown at his various appearances (i.e. the white house correspondents dinner), he's as smart as a whip...Colbert's success as a satirist is heavily dependent on his ability to make fun of facts and the truth, neither of which he can do UNLESS he's well-educated and prepared to address the topic.

I've seen Colbert "serious" (as he was my commencement speaker - yes, I'm a class of 2011 grad from Northwestern)

David definitely handled himself well, and he's done a remarkable job in all the interviews he's had in the last few months...he's quite open and candid while being quite serious. It's really refreshing to see/hear David's point-blank and up-front responses to the more serious questions he's gotten. It's nice for once to have people reveal they're true feelings and not feed the "uptight" stereotype of ballet dancers.

Kudos for the auction too! I'm a fan of how David has used his success and this opportunity in the best way possible, to get dialogue going about ballet again as well as the need to foster growth in the art as well as in younger dancers.

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Colbert's interviews are always in a satirical and often goofy spirit; for one thing he is playing a character who is supposed to be an ego-maniacal buffoon.

Right. And Colbert always stays relentlessly in character for his interviews and part of the fun of the show is watching his guests cope with that, although I do remember him forgetting himself when Jane Fonda sat in his lap. Hallberg did well and given how little time these "half hour" shows really have these days I thought the segment was a good one. Although with his otherworldly looks and dancer's frame he did look a bit like an alien from Planet Perfection.

Don't take Colbert seriously guys, he doesn't, and the joke is on those who do. That is how he got off all those HORRIBLY wonderful zingers on Bush at the white house correspondents dinner in 2006--the republicans thought he was actually conservative (OUCH! and WOW!)

Most notably he didn't let his audience off the hook. I'm sure the assembled presspersons never thought that he would take aim at them and it was interesting watching them squirm. Unlikely that he will be asked back.....

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Of note re this discussion, from The Colbert Report:

Nation! Bid on ballet shoes signed by David Hallberg and Stephen Colbert, and worn by Hallberg on The Report. All proceeds will benefit The David Hallberg Scholarship Fund for aspiring male ballet dancers.* LINK.

*I don't see Charlie Rose doing this!

This was actually David's initiative. Colbert signed the shoes as a gift to David. However, Hallberg, always thinking about others, decided to raise money for ABT's JKO school with the shoes. Mr. Hallberg is not only a premiere dancer, but he is a true role-model in character.

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