Dance and the Draft
Posted 22 January 2003 - 08:34 PM
Apart from the relative merits for the armed services of a new draft initiative, under which there would be no deferments or exemptions, wouldn't compulsory military service have a drastic effect on dance education? I mean, all of the young men (and, maybe, young women) whose schooling and/or budding careers would be put on hold for the critical ages 18 through 20.
Mel, I know that you served in Vietnam; I assume that you enlisted, however.
Posted 22 January 2003 - 08:42 PM
Denmark still has compulsory military service, but very few dancers have served. It's easy to get injury extensions, I've been told. Volkova's advice was to get any extension you could, because eventually, as a dancer, your chances of having an injury serious enough to keep you out of service was likely. A cheery, practical way of putting it.
Posted 22 January 2003 - 08:49 PM
Actually, I was drafted, but I enlisted in the Air Force before induction time with the idea that it might be less likely to send me to the Big Muddy. WRONG!
Posted 23 January 2003 - 02:46 AM
Posted 23 January 2003 - 08:32 PM
I imagine that dancers inducted into the armed services via the draft would return home with bodies fit for combat, and would have to be physically "rehabilitated" for dance. This would be especially true for women (if a putative U.S. draft were to include women).
Israel has a compulsory draft for both men and women (albeit with a religious exemption). How do Israeli dancers cope?
Posted 29 January 2003 - 01:40 PM
This would not only keep dancers in relatively rehabilitatable (if not quite performance ready) shape, but it would be a great way to discover new dancers whose talent had heretofore been untapped.
Actually, a dancing friend who had enlisted many years ago told me of conflicts in boot camp: Other soldiers did jumping jacks, while she did echappes.
Posted 29 January 2003 - 04:40 PM
Posted 29 January 2003 - 11:59 PM
Musician/Dancer. In the case of musicians and dancers, this status is accorded following auditions. I think that Excellent Dancers would usually be positioned in an office job and would be entitled to work half days or until 2 p.m. (Musicians would often be positioned in the Military Orchestra.) As the IDF HQ is situated a 5 minutes walk(!!) from the Bat Dor Dance Studio in central Tel Aviv and a 15 minut drive from the Bat Sheva Studios, this is a viable solution. (Saddam, don't aim for the ballet dancers..)
In my day (over ten years ago), a number of girls I knew got married 'fictitiously' (i.e. to other dancers, preferably gay) as married women aren't drafted either. [Hilarion, I can't think of many dancers who are religious enough to be exempt from service on that account.] Sadly, some female dancers aren't drafted because they are underweight (I'm not sure how thin you have to be for the IDF to declare you medically underweight).
In reality, however, over the past few years it has become comparatively easy to evade the draft. As the IDF has enough external problems, it doesn't really wish to deal with motivational problems and I believe that most draftees (certainly, female ones) can try to have a psychological or social evaluation that will determine them unfit to serve (in non p.c. language - pretending to be unstable to get out of fulfilling a civic duty). I have no idea how many dancers resort to this method.
Posted 30 January 2003 - 03:18 AM
Posted 30 January 2003 - 08:34 PM
There are plenty of forums for discussing war and Peace, that is the appropriate place.
Posted 30 January 2003 - 09:00 PM
I wonder if the Romans had choreographers? Maybe an ancient counterpart to Ballanchine produced a very, very early version of Apollon Musagete.
Posted 31 January 2003 - 03:55 AM
Posted 31 January 2003 - 10:04 PM
Mel, I nominate you to this post. The Senate will shoo you in, if it knows what's good for it.
Posted 31 January 2003 - 10:56 PM
Originally posted by Estelle
I've always wondered about how it worked for the French dancers. The compulsory draft has been suppressed very recently (something like two or three years ago), before that it was supposed to be compulsory for all men, but it was becoming easier and easier to be excused for it (is that what "extensions" mean?) for medical reasons, or also to make a "civil" service (in general longer). For example, many of the maths students I know managed to do a "scientific" service, e.g. teaching in military schools. Also the students could postpone it until the end of their studies most of the time. High-level sports champions could do a special military service, but I don't know about the dancers. I remember reading that Cyril Atanassof had done a "real" military service in the early 1960s, but the biographies of other dancers never mention it.
One of my daughter's ballet teachers was French. He talked about his experiences during his military service: finding quiet places to do a barre, while everyone else was resting. An officer saw him doing this one day, and commented that it would be good if some of the other draftees had such focus and discipline.
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