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Comparing Generations


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#16 sandik

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 11:01 PM

The tutus have definitely changed shape. It don't think it is just weight thas has changed. There is more of a preference for hyperextended legs and high arches. These were not absolutely necessary. In fact, hyperextended legs and high arched feet are actually weaker.


One other thing that has changed is the ancillary training that dancers do -- I can't think of a performer that doesn't do something outside of class and rehearsal. Circuit training, Pilates or other machine-based therapies, swimming... dance training is very different now than it was just a few years ago.

#17 Buddy

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 10:37 AM

One other thing that has changed is the ancillary training that dancers do -- I can't think of a performer that doesn't do something outside of class and rehearsal. Circuit training, Pilates or other machine-based therapies, swimming... dance training is very different now than it was just a few years ago.



Sandik, I wonder how much 'Russian sphere' dancers do this.


Rolando Sarabia

I guess this can be an example of generational difference and much more. This is somewhat of a promo, it seems, but it does give some more insight.



#18 Birdsall

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 12:38 PM

I don't know much about behind the scenes in the dance community, but I did know the U.S. Pilates scene for a short time, when I was doing Pilates everyday and even became an instructor for a short time (and went to trainings and conferences) and almost all the Pilates instructors I have known were former or current local dancers. I was in the vast miniority of Pilates instructors and got away with not having been a dancer yet still accepted as a Pilates instructor because I was male (very few Pilates instructors seem to be male and most studios like having a male instructor to encourage more men to do Pilates). So I think Sandik may be correct. I suspect in the U.S. most ballet dancers get involved in Pilates today, and I would be surprised if foreign dancers didn't do so also (Pilates is worldwide now).

At the studio where I worked one woman who had two c-sections had abs and a body that skinny teen-age girls would die to have. Pilates really works. I have seen practical miracles happen through the practice. I need to get back into it, but I find yoga more fulfilling actually, so I gave up washboard abs for a more rounded look! LOL

I do know that Joseph Pilates started teaching in New York in the 1930s and Balanchine, I believe, even did Pilates from some reports. So I wonder how many ballerinas in the 1950s, for example, took part in Pilates training as opposed to how many do today. We might be surprised to find out that many did Pilates even in the 1950s.

#19 Buddy

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 01:00 PM

I do know that Joseph Pilates started teaching in New York in the 1930s and Balanchine, I believe, even did Pilates from some reports. So I wonder how many ballerinas in the 1950s, for example, took part in Pilates training as opposed to how many do today. We might be surprised to find out that many did Pilates even in the 1950s.



Nancy Reynolds (George Balanchine Foundation – Director of Research)

"I always had a weak back. I went to Pilates also. These were both Balanchine’s recommendations, which shows that he was concerned with his dancers."

http://dancetabs.com...or-of-research/

#20 sandik

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 01:30 PM

At the studio where I worked one woman who had two c-sections had abs and a body that skinny teen-age girls would die to have.


I had to giggle -- my niece is just finishing her Pilates teaching certification, about the same time that she's scheduled to give birth -- it's been an interesting process!

Buddy, I have heard of dancers trained in the Soviet/Russian tradition using physical therapy and gymnastics techniques to improve strength and flexibility. I don't know so much about systems that were developed in the West, like Alexander and Feldenkrais.

#21 canbelto

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 02:18 PM

Ok here's Dying Swan, through the years.

Anna Pavlova:


Maya Plisetskaya:


Uliana Lopatkina:


#22 Birdsall

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 02:20 PM


At the studio where I worked one woman who had two c-sections had abs and a body that skinny teen-age girls would die to have.


I had to giggle -- my niece is just finishing her Pilates teaching certification, about the same time that she's scheduled to give birth -- it's been an interesting process!

Buddy, I have heard of dancers trained in the Soviet/Russian tradition using physical therapy and gymnastics techniques to improve strength and flexibility. I don't know so much about systems that were developed in the West, like Alexander and Feldenkrais.


Your niece might have an easy birth. I have had female friends say their Pilates practice made childbirth so much easier. Many clients at the studio I worked at did Pilates up until very close to their due date, and when they returned, Pilates helped them get their bodies back very quickly. The one woman I said had two c-sections was a very A-Type personality, and she did Pilates everyday at the studio and at home, so there was absolutely no sign of having had two children by c-section at all. She is proof that determination can do wonders! LOL

I have a studio reformer that I bought for home, but I really miss the trap table!!!! I just don't know where I would put the trap table (cadillac) if I bought one!!! Not to mention these things cost a fortune!!!

#23 Buddy

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 06:48 PM

Canbelto, I worship the Anna Pavlova video. I've watched it for almost ten years and I consider it possibly the ultimate statement of the art. She is probably another example of someone who transcends generational differences.

In this regard I might also call attention to the Rolando Sarabia video. This is a man who probably rivals the great pre-Petipa virtuosos and also, based on live viewing, has a remarkable nobleness, gracefulness and charisma. All this put together once again crosses generations.

Another thing that might be interesting across the generations and related to the very welcomed, apparent improvement in physical health considerations is the general atmosphere of a company. A very fine example of the positive effects of a relaxed, friendly environment and probably an essentially modern development might be the Miami City Ballet. We have posters here who are near experts on this company so they might want to comment. From my somewhat distant perception over the years, this company has produced dancers of the highest order in an environment seemingly as friendly and mutually supportive as one could hope for.

#24 ksk04

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:17 PM

I think dancers today may not be smaller/weigh less, but they are certainly more sculpted in the arms/torso which changes their upper body appearance dramatically, and makes them look thinner. There's few dancers today that have soft upper arms--everyone's are sculpted to the max. Some women have taken it too far, imo; sometimes all you can see is the musculature and not the epaulment. Even Tamara Rojo (who used to be a bit softer, which I appreciated) has dramatically changed her upper body in the last few years, most likely through Pilates.

#25 vipa

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:18 PM

I think this discussion could also take place in any sport. I am not a big sports fan, but I follow tennis and my husband follows other sports. There used to be an attitude that practicing your sport gave you what you needed. Now the cross training and science it amazing.

#26 Tara

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 09:06 PM


The tutus have definitely changed shape. It don't think it is just weight thas has changed. There is more of a preference for hyperextended legs and high arches. These were not absolutely necessary. In fact, hyperextended legs and high arched feet are actually weaker.


One other thing that has changed is the ancillary training that dancers do -- I can't think of a performer that doesn't do something outside of class and rehearsal. Circuit training, Pilates or other machine-based therapies, swimming... dance training is very different now than it was just a few years ago.


This I feel really started to be a regular part of things in my early to mid training days. Before early 80's I get the feeling that ballet dancers rarely cross trained outside of other dance styles but perhaps I am wrong. It was always my impression that we cross trained mostly to help w/ over-use type injury prevention. I can't say I thought to connect the "new" cross training ideas to anything outside endurance and/or injury protection purposes.

#27 ascballerina

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 06:22 AM

Well speaking of Grand Pas Classique watch Komleva and Soloviev absolutely sail through it:

I'm adding this a bit late, but I'm sure I'll be forgiven.

I found that was my favourite video of all the Grand Pas that were shown on this thread. I sent it to two of my friends, because I wanted to share the lovelyness with them!

Imagine my suprise at how different their reactions were from mine. One of them, the older one, was impressed....at first, all she said was "WOW!" Later, she added how strong their legs were, how she kept wondering during the female variation "Is she ever going to get off that leg? She's so strong to just stay there!" The second friend, a younger one, in her twenties, thought it was lovely, but "the ballerina's turnout and extensions weren't great".

I think I've become more aware, since I joined this board, that sometimes things are just incredible. I can be wowed by what they're doing, but some small part of me can turn that off and just enjoy it, instead of thinking about the hows and whys of what's going on. And I certainly am not one to be impressed simply by extensions!

So thanks, everyone, for making me a more cultured balletviewer. Posted Image

#28 Buddy

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 09:06 AM

I think I've become more aware, since I joined this board, that sometimes things are just incredible. I can be wowed by what they're doing, but some small part of me can turn that off and just enjoy it, instead of thinking about the hows and whys of what's going on.


I tend to do this a lot, ascballerina.


ksk04, I think that beautiful, soft arms are alive and well at the Mariinsky. The video of Gabriella Komleva, to which ascballerina just referred, shows this beauty from not that long ago. The Ulyana Lopatkina video shows it at its most beautiful today. The Oxana Skorik video, "La Bayadere", from the thread from 'whence this one came', gives an idea of where one of the possible and remarkable 'flag ships' (Ms. Skorik) of the next generation is headed.

(top of the page)
http://balletalert.i...s/page__st__135

ksk04, regarding your mention of épaulement, Clement Crisp gives this lovely definition.

"In ballet, épaulement denotes the dancer's ability to turn, bend and shape the placing of the trunk, shoulders, arms, neck and head to produce the subtlest contrasts and oppositions. In Italian art it is contrapposto, and this is what gives life, veracity and power to a drawn or sculpted position. In classical ballet it turns the academic pose into the beautiful, the fascinating."

http://www.ft.com/in...l#axzz2K8RzOIHP

This is from an article highly praising Olga Smirnova, part of the new generation. Diana Vishneva has called her the resolution of the historic or generational debate between the Mariinsky and the Bolshoi. What I see Olga Smirnova accomplishing is to combine the expansive beauty, expression and soul of the Bolshoi with the aesthetic delicacy, refinement and ethereality of the Mariinsky. Oxana Skorik (Mariinsky) who I think of in the same breath, for me, shows more of the pure Mariinsky, in her Essence.

#29 sandik

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 10:26 AM

I think this discussion could also take place in any sport. I am not a big sports fan, but I follow tennis and my husband follows other sports. There used to be an attitude that practicing your sport gave you what you needed. Now the cross training and science it amazing.


You are quite right about this -- I did a tiny amount of reading about sports history a few years ago, and there has been an incredible shift, all across the field. In many ways, dance has been the lucky recipient of research into sports medicine and training, which has extended the career of many, many artists.

#30 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 01:42 PM

How about weight lifting for the men..? I don't know now, but in Cuba it was part of the regular curriculum. I don't know about other companies, but I don't think the MCB headquarters has a gym with such equipements.


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