How tall must a male dancer be?
Posted 06 January 2002 - 04:43 PM
But the other night another NYCB fan was telling me she was "tired of seeing short dancers" in the gigue of Mozartiana. After all, she said, the part was made on Victor Castelli. And even though Castelli didn't get to dance it till after Ib Andersen, he made an indelible impression. "I want to see someone tall in the part again," she said. Her remarks brought to mind Arlene Croce's scathing diatribe some years ago against Gen Horiuchi, whose extemely short stature Croce seemed to blame on Peter Martins. (In the years since, I've blamed Martins for almost everything myself.)It is true that when Horiuchi lifted a ballerina part of the effect was comic, but I've always thought the ferocity of Croce's attack was unwarranted. He was a great Faun in The Four Seasons, led the men in Stars and Stripes spectacularly, and was an interesting Oberon (the immediate cause of Croce's ire, as I recall.)
It's certainly true that physical attributes play a major part in determining whether someone will have a career in ballet. So how tall must a man be to dance?
Posted 06 January 2002 - 05:09 PM
Posted 06 January 2002 - 07:53 PM
Actually, Chris D'Amboise was the original dancer in the gigue and Ib Anderson was the original male principal. I remember seeing the pictures of D'Amboise in the book about the making of "Mozartiana", but I think that someone did get injured, so perhaps the role was done on Castelli, but D'AMboise danced the premeire. As I remember, D'Amboise was of average height (?).
I don't have a problem with a short dancer in the gigue-there's nothing else on stage to compare the dancer against. The dancer's body type probably matters more-a short, but lean dancer might not look much different from a taller, lean dancer. However, a shorter, stockier dancer like Ulbricht may not appeal to everyone's asthetic.
In my opinion, as long as the dancer's height does not interfere with his partnering or look out of place in comparision to the woman/other dancers, it doesn't matter. Technique and talent are more important-I'd rather see an excellent Ulbricht than a less wonderful "Mr 5ft10".
P.S. It's interesting to note that David Liu, one of Horiuchi's classmates at SAB who quit ballet after SAB because of his lack-of-height, has been moderately successful as a competitive skater competing in threee Olympics for Chinese Tapei.
Posted 07 January 2002 - 12:04 AM
I don't have an issue with a short dancer doing the gigue, but I do have an issue with an inelegant dancer doing the part. I think it's been turned into a "rustic" part and that's not what I think the intent was. Balanchine used two elegant, reedy dancers (Castelli and Andersen) in the male leads and there was more balance than there is in present casts. Right now, the person I'd like to see get the role back (again) is Alexander Ritter. I think that might restore some balance.
Posted 07 January 2002 - 07:00 AM
My not quite 14 year old son is already 5 foot 10. He did seem to mature (physically) early in many way. He lives for ballet, but how tall is too tall to expect to dance professionally?
Posted 07 January 2002 - 07:27 AM
Posted 07 January 2002 - 08:55 AM
Posted 07 January 2002 - 11:13 AM
However the appearance of the extremely tiny Alina Cojocaru must be raising the career hopes of a lot of our shorter men!
Posted 07 January 2002 - 01:42 PM
Posted 22 September 2003 - 03:06 PM
I just figured since this forum is a bit slow that I'd revive this thread for some of the newcomers, or even the not so newcomers to comment upon, if they're so moved.
I love to watch a tall male dancer on stage - is he not usually cast as "the danseur noble"? Is it type casting to suggest this...just as it might be type casting for a shorter male dancer to be cast as solely a spritely, puckish fellow or a jester?
Just as certain companies tend towards certain female heights due to their corps is there this same correlation within the male corps of various ballet companies - or is it less so because they rarely have to perform en masse as, for example, the "shades" or the "swans", etc.?
Posted 22 September 2003 - 03:28 PM
Posted 22 September 2003 - 03:48 PM
Leigh, in the version I saw with the Ballet Russe in the mid 40's, the Gigue was danced by StanleyZompakos. He wore a colorful costume (red with touches of yellow) and he was more muscular than Castelli or Andersen. I can remember being taken aback the first time I saw the current version.
I don't have an issue with a short dancer doing the gigue, but I do have an issue with an inelegant dancer doing the part. I think it's been turned into a "rustic" part and that's not what I think the intent was.
Posted 22 September 2003 - 04:51 PM
Seriously though, unless one is a star or otherwise necessary to the company in some way, one pretty much needs to be able to partner a range of heights, and tall men can do that more easily than short men. Of course, there are the odd times when one is paired with a taller woman, but the result isn't usually pleasant for anyone
Posted 22 September 2003 - 08:51 PM
I'm sure there are roles suited to Horiuchi, and I'd bet Balanchine could have made some for him we'd have all loved.... Is he still dancing?
Posted 22 September 2003 - 09:27 PM
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