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#16 yudi

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Posted 05 September 2014 - 07:32 AM

Nureyev was 17 when he entered the Vaganova Academy, though he had a background in Bashkir folk dancing.

 

Melissa Hayden started late, at 15 or 16.  There was always more of a chance to start late as a man, too.

 

Thank you both for your professional and informatics replying!

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I have another question regarding the ballet body.  Would Ivan Vasiliev be considered to have the "right / wrong" body for ballet, if he had applied the America Ballet School?

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#17 Helene

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Posted 05 September 2014 - 12:20 PM

In America basic foundation training can happen at local studios anywhere or at the company-affiliated or other elite schools. Just about anyone can train in ballet, even at the elite schools in the general/"no audition" tracks, and where focused professional training starts in the tweens or teens when students are allowed to live away from home.  It's not like at the Vaganova Academy or Paris Opera Ballet School where their sole purpose traditionally is to train a very small number of students who meet strict standards for body type, proportions, flexibility and other physical attributes and for whom they predict the "correct" body past adolescence to become professional dancers.  (Now they have a sub-business in attracting international students who will write college tuition-sized checks to subsidize their schools.)  

 

If he were an American, chances are that if he survived the Creative Movement recital in which he was the only boy, and they stuck a bunny tail on him, or bypassed that and started later, Vasiliev, if he became serious in ballet and showed promise -- or tagged along for auditions with friends and got in -- would have auditioned for summer intensives, and as a boy, likely would have gotten at least partial scholarships, and then woould have been invited for training in a year-round professional program, leading to a contract.  If he attended SAB, chances are his musculature would have been different, simply from the training he would have gotten.  There have been plenty of men at NYCB and any number of SAB students dancing around the world who are shorter virtuoso dancers:  body type is much less of an issue in America than in Russia, and in Russia, he received elite training and won Moscow and Varna and joined the Bolshoi, so it wasn't an obstacle there either, where the standards are a lot more limiting.



#18 yudi

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Posted 05 September 2014 - 10:26 PM

I have been think about this often. But, I have not solution and answer. Just thinking and watching, to see if I can get inspiration and perception.
 
The "right body" for ballet indeed represent kind of beauty. Ballet performance asks for dancers not only to complete the body movements as choreographer has required, which is just the first step. The more important is to portray the characters in ballet drama. Just like singing opera requires good voices, beautiful voices; dancing ballet asks for "right body", beautiful bodies. 
 
The "right bodies" can play as princes and princesses beautifully. But, the "wrong bodies" might score a great success in the characters in modern ballets. 
 
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#19 sandik

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Posted 06 September 2014 - 11:53 AM

 

Just like singing opera requires good voices, beautiful voices; dancing ballet asks for "right body", beautiful bodies. 
 
 

 

 

Over the years, we've had multiple conversations on the board about "right body," but I think the closest we've come to consensus is that there are always exceptions to the rule.  In the end, I'm less interested in creating boundaries that keep people in their place than I am in seeing what they do when they're working at the edges of their skills.



#20 Helene

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Posted 06 September 2014 - 12:30 PM

 

Just like singing opera requires good voices, beautiful voices; dancing ballet asks for "right body", beautiful bodies. 
 

Opera might require good voices, but opera does not require beautiful voices.  There have been many great voices that are far from beautiful -- Callas comes first to mind -- and a number of beautiful voices that were used in a very dull, unimaginative way.



#21 volcanohunter

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Posted 06 September 2014 - 12:58 PM

Yes, there have been very great singers with less than beautiful voices, and there have been even more singers with beautiful voices, who, unfortunately, are extremely uninteresting musicians and performers. Much depends on the repertoire. Mozart sung by unbeautiful voices is usually intolerable, but in other repertoire power or agility are more important than a beautiful voice, and even in Mozart good technique is more important than lovely timbre. A beautiful voice is a wonderful thing to have, but it isn't the most important thing.

 

Ballet is not necessarily that different. A beautiful physique is also a wonderful thing, but it doesn't automatically translate into a good dancer. Just as I've heard lots of lovely-sounding but boring singers, I've seen (so-called) dancers with beautiful bodies, who are also awkward, technically deficient, unmusical, inexpressive, dramatically inert and/or just plain uninteresting. And as with opera, some ballets can tolerate flawed bodies better than others, as yudi noted.




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