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Does it bother you when dancers fall?

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#16 Guest_Red Shoes_*

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Posted 10 June 2001 - 09:45 AM

The only time I have seen a dancer fall on stage (I've seen plenty fall in class!) was during a BRB performance of Tharp's 'In the Upper Room' in March. It is a very hard ballet, and the dancers were doing it flat out.One fell, and got straight back up and picked up his place in the choreography without missing a beat. It made me feel proud of the dancer. They love ballet so much, they dedicate their lives to it, and to me that fall symbolised all of that.

#17 Helena


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Posted 10 June 2001 - 10:36 AM

The only dancer I can remember seeing fall was Nureyev, when he was young - I think it was in one of the very early performances of the Bayadere Shades scene, but I have an idea it happened more than once. He took such risks, something was bound to go wrong occasionally. It was just another thing to gasp at!

#18 Basilio17


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Posted 10 June 2001 - 02:15 PM

For some reason, I love it when a dancer falls and gets back up with a big grin on his/her face and just keeps going. That just shows you how strong dancers are. I do however feel bad when it is a really bad fall and you can tell the dancer is in serious pain. It bothers me when audience members make a big deal about someone falling and judge the company on that one persons fall. I'm like HELLO!!, just because X fell doesn't mean that co. sucks!!! Come on lets loosen up people!!!

#19 Manhattnik


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Posted 10 June 2001 - 02:23 PM

I have seen lots of dancers fall, and, like Michael, I admire the way they tend to bounce back up and find their places and continue on, like troupers. I've always observed that the gal (or guy) with the biggest smile onstage is always the one who's just pulled herself up from a fall, because she knows everyone is watching her (to see if she'll do it again?).

Falls come with the territory. Dancers aren't machines, and mistakes happen. It's really no big deal as long as it doesn't happen every night.

When dancers actually injure themselves, it's another story. I'll never forget poor Robert Weiss's busting his Achilles tendon during Ballo de la Regina, which led to Merrill Ashley's legendary act of finishing the ballet alone. Or a recent opening-night performance of Symphony in C where Nikolaj Hubbe took a hard fall and hobbled off the stage, not to return (thank God he was back dancing shortly thereafter). One doesn't deduct points in such situations, of course, but simply pray for the dancer's speedy recovery.

It is sobering to realize just how much these people put themselves at risk every night for our entertainment and inspiration.

(Funny, I don't think I ever saw Kirkland fall.)

#20 Lukayev



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Posted 10 June 2001 - 03:32 PM

For me, when I saw my first on-stage fall (during, I think, those tricky traveling fouettes in Pas de Quatre), my response was, "Mommy! Tell the people to stop making the stage slippery!" There are a lot of things that contribute to a fall, i.e. miscalculation, raked or non-raked stages (Americans must have fun tumbling around on sloped Russian stages), not being an "on" night, or just bad luck. When a dancer can get back up and return to what they were doing before, that's true professionalism, to me. The people who curse, slam their feet down and get back up with chin jutting out like a grumpy witch may have the best technique in the world but lack artistry.

I saw a video of Nureyev as Conrad in Le Corsaire, and during his variation in the Grand Pas de Deux, he really went for the jump, and sort of slip-slippety-tumbled his landing, only to return in true form and style for the next attitude pique. When a dancer holds back and doesn't make the tiniest slip or stumble, that's nice for them but then I get the feeling that ballet isn't really the place of safety. It's an art that revolves entirely around the body, and a dancer should take risks to make the dance that much more pleasing.

I couldn't imagine a timid Lilac Fairy taking baby steps up to the King and Queen. Her status seems to represent a ground-covering, large-movement lady who's really presenting the ballet for the Prologue and First Act.

Now that I've exhausted my virtual vocal chords, I'll reiterate.. You don't become a dancer for a career that spans forty years and pays so well that you can own a Beverly Hills home. That should tell you something about risk, and falls are part of that. :)


[ 06-10-2001: Message edited by: Luka ]

#21 Nora



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Posted 10 June 2001 - 03:36 PM

I have been sitting here blithely reading and enjoying these comments thinking that I certainly have nothing to add to the conversation because the last time I saw a dancer fall was in 1965! Now, that in itself is incredible! When you think about the feats of artistic athleticism that are accomplished onstage everyday, it's amazing that it doesn't happen more often.

#22 BalletNut


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Posted 11 June 2001 - 01:22 PM

When a dancer falls onstage, my reaction to it usually depends on theirs. Several years ago, I saw SFB in Swan Lake, and David Palmer missed the final landing in his variation in the Black Swan pdd. I remember it not because it was a terribly nasty fall, but because I heard him say "SH**!!" all the way from up in the balcony. On the other hand, if the dancer just picks him- or herself up and continues as if nothing happened, I think nothing more of it.

#23 Allegro



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Posted 11 June 2001 - 01:53 PM

I am so glad to hear that falling isn't as criticized as I would imagine... (at least not by people who MATTER)Let's just say my nickname is "Trip" and I do it in grand style. But the worst was when I fell during Reed Flutes in Nut., and I was doing hops on one pointe, and my ankle gave out. It has taken me almost a year to forgive myself, and I have been so afraid of going on stage and falling. So thank you, everyone for making my "boo-boo" better! :)

#24 ~A.C~



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Posted 11 June 2001 - 03:18 PM

It bothers me very much when the audience reacts the wrong way more than when the dancer falls. Dancing at full potential, and trying as hard as possible is bound cause a few accidents. The only proper way to actualy go to a live performance at all is to expect a few mistakes and falls. When a member of the audience retorts a bad word about the company just because a dancer fell, or accidentaly hit a piece of scenery (which most people actualy don't notice) tells me a lot about the person. I see the person as innexperienced in seeing a ballet performed live, and expects mistakes to be hidden or be put at the end of the show as "out=takes," like you would expect on telivision. I feel that this person has little sympathy towards this poor dancer, who has worked so hard to become a performer, and has tried so hard to please the people.

When this person happens to be sitting near me, I give them the usual speech at intermission. ("Don't you feel sorry for the dancer? They work so hard just to please you, and it caused them pain, and all you can do is critcise?") It's happened before.

[ 06-11-2001: Message edited by: ~A.C~ ]

#25 Diana L

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Posted 11 June 2001 - 05:32 PM

I would rather see a dancer "go for it" and fall than to play it "safe".
That said though, I don't like when dancers make up their own choreography to show off some of their talents and miss (badly) I've seen a few male dancers in NY do that this year, I have to admit when they miss, I kind of smil and think they should have left the choreography the way it was.
I've also seen dancers laughing, someone falls and shoulders start shaking. :)

#26 leibling


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Posted 11 June 2001 - 07:16 PM

Personally, I find falling unexpectedly onstage (or in rehersal) kind of fun. Don't misunderstand me- I don't like to fall, and as I get older, the fear of injury creeps more and more into my mind, but when it does happen, I guess it gives me a boost of adrenaline, and the rest of the performance at least feels better then it would have had I not fallen. Lately, though, we have had problems with our floor- it is a new marley and has not had enough time to be broken in properly, I guess. Someone fell in nearly every single one of our performances through the spring- usually running and trying to stop, going around a corner, etc, and that is when falling is not so fun- when you know you are entering an uncomfortable situation. I guess the floor is getting better- supposedly we have the same maley as NYCB, and I hear they fall alot.

#27 Sonja



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Posted 12 June 2001 - 02:18 AM

Very interesting topic! Here in Munich normally audience gasps in a way worried about the health of dancers - at least those frequent goers around me.
AND - especially in story-telling ballets where a lot is happening on stage - some people don't even notice when someone of the corps slips!
I remember a very bad fall of one guy in Don Q. pas de quatre when he could not get on his feet again as he injured either his knee or achilles (sorry, can't remember), so the other three guys had to carry him off the stage. This made me feel really sorry and worried for him and left a sad taste in this otherwise so bright production - but of course, the show did go on...

#28 LMCtech


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Posted 13 June 2001 - 08:15 PM

I always chalk falls and other mistakes (like scenery falling down) up to "the beauty of live theater and thank the Gods I'm here instead of at a movie.

#29 tarabera2345


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Posted 18 June 2001 - 03:54 PM

I was recently at my recital and I was not up quite yet so I was watching and as the girl doing her soul was dancing she almost feel but instead just touched the ground. And that bothered me because we were all giving her are attention (we being me and the rest of the audience) and she was not prepared enough to stay balance. I think falling is nto okay because it mostly is really embrassing for you and the group who is obligated to succeededing with you by your side. :rolleyes:

#30 Perfect Performer

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Posted 24 June 2001 - 10:59 PM

Was she okay? It doesn't bother me when they fall, It happens, i Don't know how many times I have fell! But I have seen people fall, And then after the performance, Are crying because they had hurt themselves.

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