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High extensions


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Poll: High extensions (98 member(s) have cast votes)

High extensions

  1. YES!! The higher, the better. (16 votes [8.99%])

    Percentage of vote: 8.99%

  2. In some ballets, but not in others. (130 votes [73.03%])

    Percentage of vote: 73.03%

  3. Don't care one way or the other. (3 votes [1.69%])

    Percentage of vote: 1.69%

  4. UGH!! Ballet is *not* for contortionists. (29 votes [16.29%])

    Percentage of vote: 16.29%

Vote

#61 leonid17

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 12:50 PM

Then we should just agree to disagree, after all, the world would be a pretty dull place if we all liked the same thing :sweatingbullets:


I have found that Miss Guillem is one of those dancers that divide balletgoers into two distinct groups. She is not alone in this. In the past in London I have found that Nureyev, Baryshnikov,Ruzimatov, Lopatkina, Zakharova, Dowell, Bujones, Kolpakova, Fracci, and others have divided seasoned aficionados in their appreciation of these dancers.

Regards
Leonid

#62 winky

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Posted 07 July 2007 - 12:30 AM

Well, I voted so I guess I should reply. I think high extensions are being overused. I find Guillem and Zakhorova one act ponies who simply have high extensions, but little else. I like watching dancers who are artists, I don't see that with the typically high-extensioned dancers. Strength seems to be lacking in the highly limber dancers as well.

If a dancer can make me feel something while they are dancing, I care very little about extreme displays of technique. Depending on choreography high extensions are quite appropriate, but not for everything! Sometimes it just looks silly.

#63 atm711

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Posted 08 July 2007 - 06:49 AM

I find Guillem and Zakhorova one act ponies who simply have high extensions, but little else.



If you can get past the intrusions of Guillem's extensions and feet I think you will find a fine artist there. I did.---as to Zakharova---you have a point well taken.

#64 Phaedra392

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Posted 10 July 2007 - 04:19 PM

When a dancer is known for her extreme extensions, I find myself watching for the next extension rather than watching the dancing. They can have the look of a parlor trick, and they can distract from the dance as a whole. I do agree, though, that there are exceptions, such as the previously mentioned Bugaku, and others, such as Rubies and Agon. Generally, these high extensions seem more at home in leotard ballets.

#65 Mel Johnson

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Posted 16 September 2007 - 07:13 AM

I once saw an Odette do a six o'clock penché while wearing an old-fashioned hooped tutu. The hoop got caught under her chin and snagged on her headpiece, and I'll be she never wore one of those again, and maybe, if she were both smart and lucky, she reconsidered her position on extreme extensions in classical ballets.

#66 bart

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Posted 16 September 2007 - 10:04 AM

I once saw an Odette do a six o'clock penché while wearing an old-fashioned hooped tutu. The hoop got caught under her chin and snagged on her headpiece, and I'll be she never wore one of those again, and maybe, if she were both smart and lucky, she reconsidered her position on extreme extensions in classical ballets.

How did she get out of the situation?
Did the headpiece come off? The tutu? Or did she have to hop on pointe with her skirt stuck to her head until she disappeared into the wings? :)

#67 Mel Johnson

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Posted 16 September 2007 - 12:28 PM

Fortunately, these were the arabesques she does right before the "These...swans...you...shoot...not" mime when all the swan-maidens are up left, and she must have wanted to spice them up by making them penché. At that speed, the skirt had nowhere to go but up over her head since there was no partner there to restrain it. Siegfried stepped in front of her and she ripped the thing off, unfortunately leaving her with an extra tailfeather trailing behind her. A good thing they exit immediately after that, and repairs were effected backstage.

#68 bart

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Posted 16 September 2007 - 12:31 PM

[ ... ] leaving her with an extra tailfeather trailing behind her.

Moulting season, perhaps?

#69 Mel Johnson

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Posted 16 September 2007 - 12:41 PM

She nearly moulted her job for changing choreography without anyone's foreknowledge, permission or direction.

#70 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 17 September 2007 - 08:50 AM

Well, I voted so I guess I should reply. I think high extensions are being overused. Sometimes it just looks silly.

The worst is when they start a variation displaying their overextended limbs to ridiculous levels and right after they prove to be a disaster in everything else...(e.g, balances, jetes, sautees, etc...)...I have some names, but i better keep it quiet... :)

#71 Paul Parish

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Posted 17 September 2007 - 03:54 PM

I wish ALina Cojocaru wouldn't raise her leg so high sometimes, BUT ... it doesn't much matter in her case. I find her intuitions are SO fine, so true to her characterizations, which are so noble, and the general expansiveness of her dancing so in harmony with my taste in everything else that her high legs rarely bother me. Her giselle is so poignant and touching -- her mad scene w(in that Japanese production) is the finest most detailed acting I've ever seen, you can feel the daisy petal between her fingers, you can see her trying to think her way through this, thought by thought, incident by incident, where was I mistaken?" and she DANCES with the same intelligence. And she's only taking her leg a little higher htna Bessmertnova had already taken hers. If she weren't so extraordinarily free in the breast-bone, collarbone, shoulders, neck, arms, if her port de bras were not so expansive, and if her judgment were not so juste, the high legs woulod be exceptoinable -- but she uses her neck and arms as extensions as well, and you can't find nobler head positions....

And as Aurora, she modulates her extensions with very good taste. If she lets the leg go way up in he step-up develloppes, well, ok, that's climactic, it's OK there (and Sizova let her leg go way high there, too) -- what matters more is the way she stepped backwards into arabesque after arabesque as if it were nothing, and even more, the simplicity of her diagonal to the violin solo -- the reach out through the arms, the gentle corkscrewing of the wrists, a la Russe, the delicate feel for Russian character dancing that enlivens her entire upper body.... The things she WANTS to do fascinate me, as much as the fact that she can do them -- and in her case, high legs are way in hte background of her performances.

#72 carbro

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Posted 17 September 2007 - 05:50 PM

Hi, Paul! I agree that Alina's leg goes too high, but like you, I don't get bent out of shape over it. Why? Partly for the reasons you cite, but mostly because she doesn't get bent out of shape. She doesn't push the hip out or ginch her side to get it up there. Still, I'll never think it's the most appropriate line for Giselle.

Veronika Part, whose build couldn't be more different than Cojo's, also has hinge-y hip sockets that allow her legs to go way high without throwing off her plumb line. It's fine for Odette/Odile, but seems wrong for Aurora.

#73 papeetepatrick

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Posted 17 September 2007 - 06:23 PM

I'd like to know more about Ms. Guillem. I've only seen her on the video of Nureyev's 'Cinderella', and this is the only time I've also seen this sort of high extension. This viewing itself has been done about a year ago. I recall writing a pm to Helene about this, because I hadn't ever seen these and wanted to know if Ms. Guillem was well-known for doing this, which Helene confirmed. At the time, I was impressed with seeing something that is obviously common knowledge among balletomanes, but was novel for me. However, I don't care for 'Cinderella' and that's primarily why I am now glad I watched it--there are many other ballets...Looking back at the images that go through the mind, I don't remember anything else about Ms. Guillem except perhaps she reminds me of some of the actresses in Eric Rohmer movies.

The question for me, though, is: You see the ease with which she does these high extensions, and she surely knows that there is much criticism of this by people who think it is wrong for this ballet, etc., so she chooses to use them. But is she as capable of doing the less high ones? I don't mean physically in the same sense as those who cannot do the high extensions, or is it something she always does and can she do the less extreme ones not only also, but can she do them as well as other ballerinas? If she cannot, then it means she can do only the highest ones with ease and perfection, and therefore feels unnatural doing them in a more restrained way. I find that, after seeing them done as she did in 'Cinderella' I do not care for them, but then I agree with those who say it is unrealistic to expect that this would not come to be. This extra stretching of one kind of another is always going to be done in all areas. Some things I get used to, other things, like 'Second Life', which I just read a NYT article about, I don't expect to be able to get used to. But I'd like to know if Ms. Guillem always used these very high extensions, and whether the ability to do them easily makes it almost impossible to resist doing.

#74 Paul Parish

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Posted 17 September 2007 - 06:38 PM

Papeetepatrick, I think Guillem's high extensions in CInderella were exactly what Nureyev wanted. THe problem is Nureyev's manic choreography.

Guillem CAN do 90 degree etensions. Check out her famous performance of "Grand Pas Classique" at hte Hans Christian Anderson Awards -- a display piece of not-great choreographic merit other than to test the aplomb it requires and displays to great advantage. She does a diagonal of releve ballones at standard height with immaculate rotation and elegance, turning in retiree on every 4th, and in the last sequence repeats the phrase with super-high extensions.

I saw her live just a couple oftimes and was impressed with her finish and with her desire to give the audience something worth coming to see. She was miscast in "Fall RIver Legend" and yet took the ballet seriously and was the only person onstage who didn't seem to be embarrassed to be in this tacky old-fashioned ballet, and I admired her enormously for that.

#75 papeetepatrick

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Posted 17 September 2007 - 06:41 PM

Thanks, Paul! That definitely opens up some new territory for me to explore. The finish you're talking about was certainly in evidence, and I have nothing against cool tones. I obviously need to see some of the others.


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