California

Marcelo Gomes

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I can't find a separate forum on Marcelo Gomes, so I'll start one. (Please move this if it's in the wrong place.)

A very good quality YouTube of the entire performance of Gomes and Paris in Sinatra Suite from the Smith Center PBS show was just posted:

Thanks to Dance Magazine for sending out a notice of this on Twitter!

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I have seen Gomes just a couple of times, but I want to add my two cents to this well deserved thread to say that it is important to note that the one openly gay-(within a very scarce list)- ballet dancer has been the one to look at as an example of what a masculine danseur should look like. He should be giving lessons to many straight dancers out there on how a man is supposed to correlate to a woman onstage. That is Mr. Gomes, so here's my reverence. bow.GIF

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I have seen Gomes just a couple of times, but I want to add my two cents to this well deserved thread to say that it is important to note that the one openly gay-(within a very scarce list)- ballet dancer has been the one to look at as an example of what a masculine danseur should look like and how a man is supposed to correlate to a woman onstage. That is Mr. Gomes, so here's my reverence. bow.GIF

I totally agree. He is a great example of masculinity and also being himself. That's a sign of being comfortable with yourself. I don't understand anyone being in the closet at all anymore in this day and age. In my experience the world does not come crashing down b/c people know you are gay. They actually like you better b/c you stop seeming fake and are so refreshingly honest and real. And it probably helps someone's art to be like this.

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I think the true brilliance of Marcelo Gomes is that one's personal sexuality is meaningless when on stage. Artistry is what's important when everything is said and done. I mean no question the fact that Marcelo is gay certainly destroys the stereotype of gay men being "girlish" in attitude for lack of a better phrase. He does bring a wonderful masculinity and strength to his elegant and noble dancing. But more then that, Marcelo is a gifted partner. He is extremely attentive to his ballerinas. He makes sure they shine as beautifully as possible. You just know his ladies feels safe and protected in his strong yet loving arms. The ladies actually seem more alive with Marcelo. They seem more daring, more animated; they seem to glow more in their dancing and in their characterization. They seem to become these glorious creatures who have become free to fly as high as they wish because they know they have someone there to catch them, not just in terms of dancing, but also in terms of emotion. Marcelo allows them to be uninhibited, which in turns, makes the ladies extremely exciting to watch.

And the sexual chemistry Marcelo exudes with his ladies - especially Diana Vishneva - is fabulous to watch. When he's on stage he is completely and totally in love with the woman he's dancing with. Marcelo is gay but there's no question he has a great love and respect for women and he shows that every time he's on stage with them.

For my money, Marcelo Gomes is the BEST male partner currently in ballet...not to mention the best actor.

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Thank you California for posting that wonderful clip!

I agree with GeorgeB fan that Marcelo's love for his partner is always evident and that he is the best male ballet partner today - at least the best that I have seen.

It's not just that Marcelo's partnering is flawless, strong and engaging, but that he doesn't differentiate between "dancing" and "partnering". With a lot of male dancers, even if they're good partners, there is an visual separation between when they do their own steps (as in "now I'm down stage right doing entrechats") and when they partner ("now I'm stage left spinning my ballerina"). With Marcelo I don't see that - they're one in the same (as they should be). To him, partnering IS dancing; there's a visual synergy. Sometimes with other male dancers, partnering sections look like something that they have to get through (or suffer through) in order to get to the "real" dancing.

I'll bet if ABT did a fund-raising auction where the highest bidder got a chance to dance with Marcelo at a gala dinner or something similar, the ladies (and probably quite a few gentlemen) would bust their coffers at the chance! And, if ABT has already done this, then shame on me for missing out!

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Though I've never seen Marcel Gomes in person, he looks as though he's a great partner. But should a gay male have to turn off his personal sexuality when he's on stage? Doesn't dancing comes out of one's love of life with one's whole self, and isn't dancing supposed to be about truth not self-censorship. Sorry for being sensitive about this, but the drift of this thread seems to be about giving MG an honorary "straight male" membership.

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the drift of this thread seems to be about giving MG an honorary "straight male" membership.

Oh, what a great idea..! toot.gif

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Though I've never seen Marcel Gomes in person, he looks as though he's a great partner. But should a gay male have to turn off his personal sexuality when he's on stage? Doesn't dancing comes out of one's love of life with one's whole self, and isn't dancing supposed to be about truth not self-censorship. Sorry for being sensitive about this, but the drift of this thread seems to be about giving MG an honorary "straight male" membership.

not at all, just a tribute to his acting as well as his dancing.

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Though I've never seen Marcel Gomes in person, he looks as though he's a great partner. But should a gay male have to turn off his personal sexuality when he's on stage? Doesn't dancing comes out of one's love of life with one's whole self, and isn't dancing supposed to be about truth not self-censorship. Sorry for being sensitive about this, but the drift of this thread seems to be about giving MG an honorary "straight male" membership.

In partnering--male/female--acting often is required.

That is true whether the dancers are gay or straight. It isn't like most of the people dancing together are necessarily attracted to each other.

If a gay male dancer is in Bayadere, Giselle, Romeo & Juliet...he really should seem like he is in love with his leading lady. As should a straight dancer. And many don't. No matter what their orientation.

I don't think its a matter of Marcelo denying himself or turning off his personal sexuality. I think he draws upon it to create a successful portrait of a person in love. I also think he really honestly cares about his female partners and about presenting them in the best light, which, for example, Polunin (a straight male dancer), clearly does not.

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I think he draws upon it to create a successful portrait of a person in love. I also think he really honestly cares about his female partners and about presenting them in the best light, which, for example, Polunin (a straight male dancer), clearly does not.

Which was exactly my point earlier when I said that he could give lessons to straight dancers on how a man should correlate with a woman onstage. I personally think he's the best example of how to "dar una galleta sin mano"-(a Spanish saying which would be translated somehow as to "how to slap a face without using your hand")- to much vitriol on male ballet stereotypes out there. Good for him.

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I don't think its a matter of Marcelo denying himself or turning off his personal sexuality. I think he draws upon it to create a successful portrait of a person in love. I also think he really honestly cares about his female partners and about presenting them in the best light, which, for example, Polunin (a straight male dancer), clearly does not.

Well said! Couldn't agree more.

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I agree with that too. A person in love is a person in love, no matter if the person is in love with a man or a woman. The feeling remains the same and this is what should be portrayed, regardless of who the partner is.

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All of the above is true. Gomes, being gay, has faced the monumental task of trying to erase that particularity in the audience mind when he's interacting with a female partner onstage, particularly at the numerous times where sexual attraction needs to be portrayed...hence with a higher amount of difficulty than it could be for straight dancers in order to be credible. I think he has carried like few others the very important message that one essential point of ballet-(as with other scenic arts)-is the game of "make believe", and he has done it like no other great gay ballet male star before or during his time-(definitely way over Nureyev, who even being a legend, accounts for not being convincing at times on that matters). Weren't many film stars of the past very afraid to loose their appeal to female audiences in the case their homosexuality would be put in the public spot...?-(Hudson comes to mind immediately). Don't we realize that there are VERY few actors or dancers who have done what Gomes did...? It takes courage to be out there with such a sensitive-(and not completely accepted)-side of your life completely exposed AND usually portraying roles that requires the bailarin to look and act like THE macho man..(Albrecht, Franz, Spartacus, Desire, etc...).

Bravo Marcelo! bow.GIF

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Cristian, you are right. In the movies it has become even vogue for straight actors to play a gay man, but I think it is still rare for films to use openly gay actors to portray straight men, although it probably happens. I don't keep up with the movies so much anymore.

I think Marcelo Gomes is a wonderful role model for male dancers. His sexual orientation doesn't matter while you are watching the performance b/c he becomes the character.

And I suspect his talent and open-ness (open heart) as a performer, dancer, actor, etc. is a direct result from being totally true to himself and being who he is in all aspects of his life. He is able to portray the characters he does, b/c he truly lives life fully.....that's what I suspect. I will never forget knowing an ugly duckling guy (who was gay and closeted and tense) and he came out to his parents (who accepted him) and stopped worrying what people thought and simply blossomed into a gorgeous man. The way he walked, the way he talked completely changed. He gained confidence, and his face was not this blank, guarded face. He was smiling and gorgeous suddenly! It was like night and day! I tell this story to anyone who doubts that coming out is a good thing. I literally witnessed an ugly duckling blossom into a swan (and became a guy every guy wanted to date).

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cubanmiamiboy

(definitely way over Nureyev, who even being a legend, accounts for not being convincing at times on that matters)

Perhaps Gomes is too discreet for his own good. If you put Nureyev and Gomes in two theaters side by side, Gomes would sell five tickets to tens of thousand for Nureyev. Nureyev danced with his whole being - whatever you think of his technique - and thrilled everybody. He was the one who broke the mold.

And again this straight-acting advocacy, at least in outline, reads like an entry in a 1950's magazine column addressed to African Americans on how to behave if they want to get ahead - that they will have to work twice as hard, etc -

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Quiggin, I don't believe that this is what people here are trying to say. Presumably, and from imagining oneself in a similar position and seeing different dancers or actors, it appears that acting like you are attracted to a person of a gender you are generally not attracted to (whether it is a straight person acting the part of a homosexual lover or a homosexual person acting the part of a straight lover) is more difficult. And that Marcelo Gomes succeeds to be convincing is evidence for him being a great actor for whom such things as gender of the partner don't matter in the moment of acting. It doesn't mean that just because he is gay, he will have to work harder as a general idea. The situation in ballet however is that most relationships in the repertoire he's dancing are between straight couples and if it was hard work to be convincing in a relationship with a partner of the opposite gender you're personally attracted to, that would be a result of that. But then the issue would be with the repertoire of classical ballet and not with people who give their opinion within the given circumstances (i.e. most ballets require this kind of acting). And the way I see Marcelo Gomes, it isn't really 'hard work' for him to be convincing, i.e. he appears so effortless, which makes him that great actually.

It is also not meant as a "how to" in my opinion, but rather stating 'facts' - as if there was a study that found out that in a society with unequal opportunities, African Americans unfortunately at present have to work harder than others to get ahead. And with the acting, the situation is not of that kind in my opinion, unless one wants to challenge the predominance of straight relationships in the repertoire, which would be an entirely different subject.

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Moonlily:

I don't believe that this is what people here are trying to say.

What it seems like is that the ideals of masculinity and partnering being presented here are being so truncated that dancers like Nureyev, Baryshnikov, and Ib Andersen would no longer make the grade. Again, you dance with your whole self and you don't have to work harder. If you're authentic, no one cares about your delivery. Look at the huge appeal of Nureyev in a less enlightened time than ours. (Or was it?)

Good actors throw themselves so completely into their work, doing all sorts bits of fine tuning as they go along, that this self-consciousness of am I straight acting enough isn't even a tiny consideration. The act of performing onstage is itself the erotic thing.

Anyway, it seems implied here that for a gay male dancer to dance with female partner is no fun and rather like having to brace up and each one's spinach.

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Sometimes I think Giselle is a willi and she can fly, as can the sylphs.

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Moonlily:

I don't believe that this is what people here are trying to say.

What it seems like is that the ideals of masculinity and partnering being presented here are being so truncated that dancers like Nureyev, Baryshnikov, and Ib Andersen would no longer make the grade. Again, you dance with your whole self and you don't have to work harder. If you're authentic, no one cares about your delivery. Look at the huge appeal of Nureyev in a less enlightened time than ours. (Or was it?)

Good actors throw themselves so completely into their work, doing all sorts bits of fine tuning as they go along, that this self-consciousness of am I straight acting enough isn't even a tiny consideration. The act of performing onstage is itself the erotic thing.

Anyway, it seems implied here that for a gay male dancer to dance with female partner is no fun and rather like having to brace up and each one's spinach.

Most of what you say is what I was trying to put across as well. For someone like Marcelo Gomes, it is not hard work to do all of that, but it seems to be for a lot of other dancers, straight or gay. And the way I understood, that was the underlying point of many other posters here as well. Often we see otherwise okay or good actors/dancers be not so convincing in roles that portray a character with a different sexual orientation from their own. For those who are great however, these things don't matter and they can act the part with a partner of any gender effortlessly.

And when it comes to comparisons with Nureyev, it is also a matter of personal taste, perception etc. smile.png

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Getting my point clearer. Gomes is my poster boy-(and i know to others too)- when I need to 1-Show a masculine ballet dancer, and 2-Show that male ballet dancers, included gay ones, doesn't equal sterotyped mannerisms-(a widely accepted idea, we like it or not). Are there too many out there like him..? Probably, but Gomes is right in the spotlight, being in Dance magazine or The Advocate magazine. I admire people so willing and able to break such old and damaging steorotypes, and Gomes has done so like nobody I can think of. Yes, there are two different things being intertwined here, personal and professional issues, and he has done a hell of a job to present a very attractive final product and come across as a winner.

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And my point was that he is a great actor/dancer and when he dances with a woman he probably draws from the natural human feelings of love, passion, etc. So on the one hand, it doesn't matter if he is gay or straight on stage, but my point was that his decision to be "out" as opposed to simply not talking about his sexual orientation might actually contribute to his ability to open up to the audience and female partners on stage. Maybe not, but I suspect his personality from what it looks like on stage is being an open hearted performer and person, not holding anything back or avoiding sharing who he is. You can't do that if you are closed up and putting up walls between yourself and others and have shame or fear. When you are comfortable with who you are in every aspect of your life you become a more interesting person with much more to share with the world.

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cubanmiamiboy

(definitely way over Nureyev, who even being a legend, accounts for not being convincing at times on that matters)

Perhaps Gomes is too discreet for his own good. If you put Nureyev and Gomes in two theaters side by side, Gomes would sell five tickets to tens of thousand for Nureyev. Nureyev danced with his whole being - whatever you think of his technique - and thrilled everybody. He was the one who broke the mold.

And again this straight-acting advocacy, at least in outline, reads like an entry in a 1950's magazine column addressed to African Americans on how to behave if they want to get ahead - that they will have to work twice as hard, etc -

To paraphrase Ellen Willis, when Nureyev got it on, he got it on with everybody, and it was an essential part of his special appeal, I think. And it didn't detract from his chemistry with his partners but rather enhanced it. But he did break the mold - he was the product of a certain time and place, very much of the Sixties and Seventies. Completely different atmosphere now and in some ways a more restrictive one, paradoxically.

Look at the huge appeal of Nureyev in a less enlightened time than ours. (Or was it?)

I saw this quote from your follow up post after I posted my initial response - we were thinking along the same lines, plainly. smile.png

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cubanmiamiboy

(definitely way over Nureyev, who even being a legend, accounts for not being convincing at times on that matters)

Perhaps Gomes is too discreet for his own good. If you put Nureyev and Gomes in two theaters side by side, Gomes would sell five tickets to tens of thousand for Nureyev. Nureyev danced with his whole being - whatever you think of his technique - and thrilled everybody. He was the one who broke the mold.

And again this straight-acting advocacy, at least in outline, reads like an entry in a 1950's magazine column addressed to African Americans on how to behave if they want to get ahead - that they will have to work twice as hard, etc -

To paraphrase Ellen Willis, when Nureyev got it on, he got it on with everybody, and it was an essential part of his special appeal, I think. And it didn't detract from his chemistry with his partners but rather enhanced it. But he did break the mold - he was the product of a certain time and place, very much of the Sixties and Seventies. Completely different atmosphere now and in some ways a more restrictive one, paradoxically.

Look at the huge appeal of Nureyev in a less enlightened time than ours. (Or was it?)

I saw this quote from your follow up post after I posted my initial response - we were thinking along the same lines, plainly. smile.png

I have always suspected that Nureyev appeal had/has to do more with him as a sole product...not necessarily as a partner. Then, my assessment could be detrimental after the fact that I, of course, never got to see him danced live, but instead got to know his dancing via recordings, like the Giselle with Seymour or the SL with Fonteyn. None of those two speak to me, in terms of "The" male partner the way Gomes does.

Gomes for me embodies the idea of that in order to convince society as a masculine ballet dancer you don't always have to write in a book about being either a marginal straight kid vandalizing the streets of Havana or a straight ex boxer youth from the streets of Queens. Gay guys from quieter streets can do the job as well also.

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There was a documentary of Jock Soto that showed up on PBS a few years ago. It looked at his background, professional and peronal lives. I'm drawing a blank on the name. He was another openly gay dancer who was perceived as "masculine" and treasured by his partners.

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The documentary on Jock Soto was called Water Flowing Together. That name is a reference to the name of Soto's Navajo clan.

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