Herman Stevens, on 24 July 2012 - 11:55 AM, said:
Unfortunately the Raymonda broadcast was taken off the internet after a day.
What I find rather puzzling is this discussion about the way Raymonda's story is un-PC. Of course it is. Virtually all 19th century ballets entail stereotypes we would like to believe are gone. What are you going to do about it?
And on the other hand Alexandrova's facial features are discussed here with a judgmental frankness that does not seem to take into account that her cheekbones and close-set eyes are ethnic features, and I doubt we would talk this way if it concerned an American company and an, let's say, African-American dancer.
I'm not casting aspersion; I'm just saying there's a little disconnect here IMO.
Raymonda is definitely supposed to feel some attraction to the Saracen; it's in Bessmertnova's face and in Semenyaka's, too. Part of the triumph in Act III is that she's managed to shake this thrill. That's what makes Raymonda such a fascinating ballet: not just killing the weird guy, but confronting and mastering the weirdness in ourselves.
I like your interpretation about confronting the weirdness in ourselves. I think that is an element of Raymonda.
By the way, when I talked about Alexandrova's facial features as being stern or her eyebrows I did not view her as anything but Russian/European. I did not really think of her features as any ethnicity other than European and many Europeans do not have her stern look, so I wasn't not thinking of her features as a race issue, although I want to say that I find her to be a beautiful woman, so I am not trying to criticize her looks at all. I was just trying to explain why she may have looked more disgusted by Abderakhman than when other dancers portray Raymonda. I think she is able to look disgusted very easily, and that is due to her unique look that I think is about her own personal features and not about her race.
I am half Asian (Japanese mother and Anglo-Saxo father descended from French, English, and German people). In my family, my dad would joke that we are Japs and we would laugh at his white legs at the beach. Also, I had a grandmother who did not like the fact that my father married a Japanese woman, although she eventually grew to love my mother, so racial issues and racism are sort of normal issues for my family. Issues of race and racism are not taboo at all. My reality of growing up with a grandmother who was racist against my mother and yet still loving both of them gave me a different perspective on racism also. There are levels of racism and also a person who is racist is not necessarily a horrible person.....just has not had exposure or has ideas that may change over time with positive experiences.