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NBA draft and ballet comment

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#1 balletmama



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Posted 26 June 2002 - 04:09 PM

I agreed to watch some of the NBA draft with my son tonight. A 7-foot tall player named Nikolai something-or-other from the republic of Georgia was drafted by a team whose name I have already forgotten. Sorry, I only follow high school hoops. ;-) Anyway, the sportscaster said to him, "I hear you started out doing ballet in Georgia." I was stunned by the player's response. "I was six years old and it wasn't ballet," he said. "Ballet is for women. I was doing national dance, and we have swords and bullets, etc." He went on about how macho Georgian national dance is. I was surprised because although I know this attitude toward ballet is prevalent in the U.S., I didn't think this kind of gender stereotyping existed in the former USSR. Was he just pandering to the American sports public, or is ballet considered "for women" among certain social groups in Russia, etc.? :confused:

#2 Alexandra


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Posted 27 June 2002 - 07:29 AM

I've read similar comments by Russian dancers -- that they had trouble in their teens from parents and peers. But I've also read, as I gather you have, that there's generally a more positive atmosphere there. I remember reading an article once with excerpts from letters little boys wrote to the Bolshoi, begging to get in. "I will be the next Vasiliev!" Oleg, age 7. Perhaps, as in many instances, it's an individual thing.

I don't know whether this is the same fellow, but there was a brief news item the other night on CNN about a 7-footer who began studying ballet as a boy but GREW TOO TALL TO PARTNER ANYBODY!!! I'll bet there's a six-foot girl out there who'd disagree :(

#3 dirac


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Posted 27 June 2002 - 10:56 AM

I don't think all basketball players think that way. I can't recall the name now, but I do remember reading about a couple of players who took ballet lessons, and they weren't Russian.

In the NY Times a couple of weeks back there was a piece about Melvin Mora of the Baltimore Orioles, whose wife recently had quintuplets. The article mentioned that the bedroom for the boys was decorated with wallpaper representing ballplayers, while the girls' bedroom had ballerinas. "Guess it's never too early to make with the sexual stereotypes," I thought. I don't mean to pick on the Moras -- a utility infielder with quints has got enough problems -- but it's unfortunate.

#4 Farrell Fan

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Posted 27 June 2002 - 11:38 AM

Not to make trouble, but wasn't it a one-time Georgian named Balanchivadze who said, "Ballet is woman"?

#5 dirac


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Posted 27 June 2002 - 11:59 AM

There are Georgians and Georgians. :( Besides, I don't think Balanchine meant quite the same thing.....

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