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RE: the Copeland discussion, I have a question. I have seen several interviews in which she makes fairly pointed comments about being promoted to principal . . . is it unusual for a dancer to push the issue publicly, or is that fairly standard?

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RE: the Copeland discussion, I have a question. I have seen several interviews in which she makes fairly pointed comments about being promoted to principal . . . is it unusual for a dancer to push the issue publicly, or is that fairly standard?

I think it's somewhat rare to state it so openly and bluntly. I've definitely read interviews in which non-principal dancers talk about principal roles they'd love to dance, but they don't often say, "My goal is to be promoted to principal dancer." For better or worse, ballet culture seems to discourage acknowledging those ambitions openly (at least in the public sphere). Dancers usually talk about it in a more roundabout manner.

What goes on behind closed doors is another matter. I remember when it was reported in the press that Part was leaving ABT, and then her promotion to principal soon followed. So, certainly dancers can try different strategies to make their ambitions know to an AD. I think Misty is unique in being so public about her ambitions, and I'm not sure if it will hurt or help her.

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If what Copeland's been doing is indeed campaigning for a promotion, it hasn't worked so far. She's been saying she wanted to be a principal since at least 2010.

If McKenzie has felt unfairly pressured by what some view as impolitic campaigning for principal by a dancer whom some find undeserving, he's held up well. Very, very well.

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I remember an article in which Gorak said his goal is to make it to principal. Everyone knows that is the ultimate goal. What's unique about Misty is that she links her goals to her assertions regarding race.

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Abatt, I take it you think doing so is unfair.

I remember an article in which Gorak said his goal is to make it to principal. Everyone knows that is the ultimate goal. What's unique about Misty is that she links her goals to her assertions regarding race.

Doing so is unethical only if she implies that she does not make it to principal just because she's black. Otherwise, aspiring to be the first black woman to advance to a position in a profession which was until fairly recently largely closed to women of African descent, isn't seen as a bad aspiration by all people.

Some black women would embrace such a distinction, other's wouldn't. Depends on the person.

I still don't see why Misty ticks off so many people. They behave as if she's attacked them personally. I don't see all this outrage coming the ballet establishment. They seem to be pretty darned good at ignoring her.

Most seem concerned with the same old things, the latest Russian sensation and Balanchine worship.

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Otherwise, aspiring to be the first black woman to advance to a position in a profession which was until fairly recently largely closed to women of African descent, isn't seen as a bad aspiration by all people.

Some black women would embrace such a distinction, other's wouldn't. Depends on the person.

I still don't see why Misty ticks off so many people. They behave as if she's attacked them personally. I don't see all this outrage coming the ballet establishment. They seem to be pretty darned good at ignoring her.

Most seem concerned with the same old things, the latest Russian sensation and Balanchine worship.

Completely agree with the first sentence. I think Misty Copeland's aspirations are great...and presumably make her all the better a ballet dancer!

For the rest: I still don't see why love of (some) Russian Ballerinas and admiration of Balanchine ticks off so many people...who also seem to take it personally.

I assume the answer is something like 'lt leads to unfairness to others...' but I don't think that's fair.

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Most seem concerned with the same old things, the latest Russian sensation and Balanchine worship.

For the rest: I still don't see why love of (some) Russian Ballerinas and admiration of Balanchine ticks off so many people...who also seem to take it personally.

I assume the answer is something like 'lt leads to unfairness to others...' but I don't think that's fair.

It's not even as if Copeland has aspirations of being a Balanchine ballerina or that Balanchine dancers and ballets are especially prized at ABT. Balanchine isn't even a variable for her, since she wants to be a classical ballerina.

It's also not as if Copeland didn't know what ABT was, regardless of race: it's a place where many, if not most, people go to see cherry-picked imports who sell tickets, most of whom are Russian or have Russian training, regardless of where they got it.

The question is whether she's being treated fairly with respect to her home-grown colleagues, who, except for a few years under Baryshnikov, have gotten/get short shrift in general.

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Just from my own observation here in Seattle, dancers seem to speak pretty freely about parts they'd like to perform, and dances they'd like to see added to the repertory, but promotions aren't a topic of conversation nearly as often.

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Ballet's inherent racism? Ever heard of Arthur Mitchell, et al.?

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