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Misty Copeland - Divided ViewsWas, ABT on Tour - Casting for Austrailia


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#16 sandik

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 08:51 AM

 She has become the Kim Kardashian of ballet. 

 

I haven't followed Copeland's career in detail, but this seems out of proportion to your objections.



#17 Tapfan

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 09:57 PM

I wouldn't call Misty a Kim Kardashian.  She may not be a world-class dancer in the eyes of many, but at least she does have a job in show business and isn't  famous for being famous. 

 

I agree that  her constant self-promotion  can get tiresome.  But the fact that deserving white dancers like Sara Lane and deserving minority dancers like Stella Abrera  don't have higher profiles or jobs as principals isn't Misty's fault. Heck, the fact that most ballet superstars aren't as famous as Misty isn't her fault. The PR hustle Copeland engages in is open to most of the people of stature in ballet who are willing to do the work. 

 

I personally think that ballet could do with more "vulgar" profile raising. 

 

I agree with Virginia Johnson who said that in an ideal world there would be 15 or more great black female classical dancers whose career trajectories at major companies were so steep that we could be certain of finally seeing black women in the senior ranks.

 

But right now, for those black ballet fans  who want to see reflections of themselves on stage in lead roles,  Misty is all we've got. There isn't another black woman anywhere else in the world who comes close to her seniority at a major company. The fact that she obviously generates lots of haterade in some people is a fact most of us are willing to overlook in order to see a black woman get a chance at lead roles. 

 

Copeland will finally get to dance an iconic role after seven years as a soloist, and that won't hurt any other female dancer in any way. Nobody who is brilliant  or even just  good, will be held back because of Misty.   



#18 sidwich

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 12:39 AM

I agree with sandik and Tapfan that comparing Misty Copeland to a woman whose original claim to fame is a sex tape seems uncalled for.  While I too would prefer to see a number of other dancers at ABT get chances at major roles before, this is Kevin McKenzie's decision not hers.  After seven years as a soloist, is Copeland supposed to turn down the biggest opportunity of her career?  And are there like comparisons for Hee Seo, Isabella Boylston and Julie Kent at this point in her career?

 

And like it or not, her story is very unique like Jeremy Lin in the NBA.  Maybe it is tiresome to longtime ballet fans, but if we complain about companies not reaching out to new audiences and potential new fans, should we also be complaining that Copeland, along with promoting herself, is promoting ballet and ABT to a group that has been and still is very underrepresented in the art and in its audiences?

 

I know the last time I was in NY at an ABT performance, I sat behind an African-American family with two little girls, and they were very excited to see Copeland dance.  They really went wild every time she came onstage.  Maybe that's not how it should be, but it is.  (I do remember the first time I saw Asian people not playing cooks or laundry owners on American TV.  I actually called my mother to tell her there were Asian people on TV.  ​And they were eating cornflakes!)



#19 abatt

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 04:49 AM

Wasn't referring to the sex tape. In fact, didn't even realize that there was a sex tape.  Was referring to the fact that Kim and Misty are both publicity seekers.  If you read my original post it was in the context of Misty's quest for publicity.  She uses the media to become more famous and gain traction at ABT for better roles. Contrast this with Hallberg, who initially became famous due to his brilliant dancing and his inviitation to join the Bolshoi, which was then followed by the media seeking him out for interviews.  Not vice versa - ie - Misty is famous for her personal story and other non dancing factors, not for her dancing.  Hope this clarifies that the comparison had nothing to do with sex tapes.



#20 abatt

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 04:59 AM

 

Copeland will finally get to dance an iconic role after seven years as a soloist, and that won't hurt any other female dancer in any way. Nobody who is brilliant  or even just  good, will be held back because of Misty.   

I beg to differ.  If they were going to pick a short soloist for SL, it should have gone to Lane, not Copeland.  Lane is a superior dancer, and has also performed the role with Corella Ballet.  Merit should win out, but it doesn't.  Do we really want ABT to become a company where roles are based on a popularity contest  instead of quality?  This is a very slippery slope. 



#21 Tapfan

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 05:12 AM

I agree with sandik and Tapfan that comparing Misty Copeland to a woman whose original claim to fame is a sex tape seems uncalled for.  While I too would prefer to see a number of other dancers at ABT get chances at major roles before, this is Kevin McKenzie's decision not hers.  After seven years as a soloist, is Copeland supposed to turn down the biggest opportunity of her career?  And are there like comparisons for Hee Seo, Isabella Boylston and Julie Kent at this point in her career?

 

And like it or not, her story is very unique like Jeremy Lin in the NBA.  Maybe it is tiresome to longtime ballet fans, but if we complain about companies not reaching out to new audiences and potential new fans, should we also be complaining that Copeland, along with promoting herself, is promoting ballet and ABT to a group that has been and still is very underrepresented in the art and in its audiences?

 

I know the last time I was in NY at an ABT performance, I sat behind an African-American family with two little girls, and they were very excited to see Copeland dance.  They really went wild every time she came onstage.  Maybe that's not how it should be, but it is.  (I do remember the first time I saw Asian people not playing cooks or laundry owners on American TV.  I actually called my mother to tell her there were Asian people on TV.  ​And they were eating cornflakes!)

Let the church say, Amen!  Your remarks remind me of stories told by my parents about the time when they were children in the late fifties and early sixties.   This was a time that  seeing black people on TV was so rare, that when someone like the young comic Bill Cosby appeared on Johnny Carson's The Tonight Show, black parents would wake the whole family to see him. 



#22 California

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 05:45 AM

I think we all agree that more racial diversity is needed in classical ballet in the US. But Copeland has muddled the issue more than necessary. I haven't read her entire book, but have seen excerpts in which she always seems to blame racism (never her own technical limits) for excluding her from certain roles. Now, when she does get plum roles, we will always wonder how much those charges of racism had to do with it. She fails the test of "Know thyself" and seems unable to recognize that her own technical limitations might have something to do with it, at least part of the time.



#23 Tapfan

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 05:52 AM

 

 

Copeland will finally get to dance an iconic role after seven years as a soloist, and that won't hurt any other female dancer in any way. Nobody who is brilliant  or even just  good, will be held back because of Misty.   

I beg to differ.  If they were going to pick a short soloist for SL, it should have gone to Lane, not Copeland.  Lane is a superior dancer, and has also performed the role with Corella Ballet.  Merit should win out, but it doesn't.

 

But McKenzie makes that decision, not Misty. If her unyielding self-promotion is supposed to be pressuring McKenzie into promoting her to principal despite her being undeserving, it's not working very well.  After all, she's been selling herself to the public for as long as I've been following her and that goes back to 2010.

 

Also, it's not like Sarah hasn't  had her own fair share of opportunities to dance leads in important  ballets like T&V.  She even had her own mini PR push with the Black Swan dance double controversy. If there is a consensus amongst in-the-know people that she is so vastly superior,  why didn't that assure promotion to the top ranks?



#24 abatt

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 06:22 AM

If McKenzie doesn't see the potential for improvement in the performances of either Hammoudi or Copeland in their debut performances in Australia, he might not cast them in NY in these roles at all.   He gave Maria Ricetto one chance at a Giselle in NY, but never cast her in it again.  I'm not sure if she was given an out-of-town Giselle before her Met debut.   As a I recall, she had some serious problems with executing portions of the choreography.



#25 Tapfan

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 06:23 AM


 

I think we all agree that more racial diversity is needed in classical ballet in the US. But Copeland has muddled the issue more than necessary. I haven't read her entire book, but have seen excerpts in which she always seems to blame racism (never her own technical limits) for excluding her from certain roles. Now, when she does get plum roles, we will always wonder how much those charges of racism had to do with it. She fails the test of "Know thyself" and seems unable to recognize that her own technical limitations might have something to do with it, at least part of the time.

I'm not willing to wait for Black Ballerina Supergirl  - whom everyone can agree is great - to swoop in and prove once and for all that black women can master the art form at the highest level.  Either I or ballet will probably be dead before that happens. 

 

I'd just like to see a black woman dance the lead in Swan Lake. Ballet Black and DTH don't seem to be inclined to program this ballet any time soon. 

 

Following the careers of people with the potential to be stars like say, Precious Adams, is next to impossible and people like Kimberly Braylock and Courtney Lavine don't seem to be on anybody's radar for stardom.

 

So it's Misty or nobody.

 

By the way, despite having done well at the Prix de Lausanne, I can see the resentment amongst many in the balleratti  building towards Precious Adams because she had the unmitigated gall to suggest that she was the victim of unabashed racism in that politics - free bastion of freedom and fairness in Putin's Russia, the Bolshoi school.

 

While it's true that nobody forced her to go there, it's not unreasonable for her to expect to receive fair treatment at a place of learning, if not in the Russian society at large.  



#26 abatt

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 06:26 AM

Alicia Graf was a ballet superstar.  I saw her perform the Balachine rep, as well as other material, many times before DTH went under.  She did master ballet at the highest level.



#27 California

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 06:29 AM

But Calvin Royal is on my radar screen, for sure. Thanks to Ratmansky for giving him such a prominent role in the third Shostakovich piece. I'm eager to see how Ratmansky casts his new Sleeping Beauty. I'd love to see Calvin in Blue Bird, e.g.



#28 Plisskin

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 06:44 AM

Misty has her short comings (I don't like her in anything else besides modern), but right now she is the only dancer a lot of African Americans have to look up to in classical ballet. Some people afforded with the privilege of always seeing someone looking like them doing what they want to do, just don't realize how much it means for minorities to see even the slightest representation in a field they are interested in doing.

Besides, 1 Swan Lake in her entire 7 years as a soloist is hardly a crime. ABT has had other dancers with issues dance classical lead roles. Some of them are sitting in the principal roster right now...



#29 Tapfan

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 06:58 AM

Alicia Graf was a ballet superstar.  I saw her perform the Balachine rep, as well as other material, many times before DTH went under.  She did master ballet at the highest level.

Yes, Alicia was such a superstar that she couldn't get arrested after DTH disbanded. Going to Alvin Ailey was NOT her first choice.

 

Virginia Johnson was particularly annoyed that City Ballet didn't want such a Balanchine-like ballerina. 

 

God Bless Boston Ballet's AD for hiring  Tai Jimenez from DHT as a principal, despite her being an ancient 35 year-old. 



#30 Tapfan

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 07:03 AM

But Calvin Royal is on my radar screen, for sure. Thanks to Ratmansky for giving him such a prominent role in the third Shostakovich piece. I'm eager to see how Ratmansky casts his new Sleeping Beauty. I'd love to see Calvin in Blue Bird, e.g.

Black men don't have the same glass ceiling as black women. Just look at the head shots of American ballet companies. Most have at least one black male. Not so with black females. 




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