"Born to Be Wild"
Posted 04 February 2003 - 09:10 AM
Posted 04 February 2003 - 10:50 AM
Yet I don't think the whole Morris thing worked on a number of different levels. Was it just me, or didn't anyone else think the comments from Morris' dance mistress were hostile to ballet? She basically said Morris doesn't like to choreograph ballet because it's basically "tricks" and he's grounded in the music. But these dancers are so superior, he will deign to choregraph on them and create a musical piece! I was really put off by that comment and found myself scratching my head as to why that was included in the program.
Plus, I thought the entire injection of Baryshnikov was gratuitous, to say the least. It really had no relation to anything on the program. It seemed like they added mention of him to say "hey folks, you've all heard of a ballet dancer, his name was Mikhail Baryshnikov. These guys are like him." Well, sadly, maybe they needed to say that.
Still, I was glad to see something about ballet on PBS.
Posted 04 February 2003 - 11:13 AM
And am I perhaps reading too much between the lines in the comment by Malakhov, where he describes his attitude in working with a choreographer by emphatically squeezing his lips shut with his fingertips, or the one shown immediately after, by Corella, where he says (and I'm paraphrasing from memory) that even if his choreography doesn't look good, his job is to make it look good?
I couldn't help but think they were making not-very-veiled comments about their experience of Morris, and the ballet he was making.
I loved the reviewer quoted in Ari's links thread for today about McKenzie's displaying his chest rug. I kept asking the TV, "Could you have that shirt unbuttoned any lower?" And the topless photo shoot was just plain embarassing.
Will "Babes of the Ballet" be far behind? "They're not just artists, they're wild, bohemian sex goddesses!" I don't think so! At least I hope not. Unless I could pick the babes.
Posted 04 February 2003 - 11:54 AM
Surely the program erred on the side of heterosexual display if you're from the coasts, but non troppo. Here in Wisconsin the most common response to "I'm a ballet dancer" is still "That Roodolf Brishnakov, din't he die of......" so I appreciated it. They were clearly playing to the diverse PBS audience. Partnering ballerinas would have expressed this more eloquently than the locker room asides, however.
I admit I cringed when I saw Ethan without a helmet too, but then I used to work in an E.R. This is Harley country, remember. A cultural thing. Brett Favre would play without a helmet if they'd let him. Besides which a big dome would have ruined the shot. We're in the eye candy business after all.
Posted 04 February 2003 - 01:33 PM
Posted 04 February 2003 - 02:46 PM
Posted 04 February 2003 - 03:16 PM
I would agree, however, that the Real Men stuff is geared toward all potential audience members and not us degenerates in NY and the SF/Bay Area. What may seem like Too Much to us may be worth repeating elsewhere. (This is not intended as a knock on the heartland, I should note.)
I must say, however, that you'd think public television, at least, would be enlightened enough to avoid certain kinds of crude gender stereotyping. I rather doubt a profile of four ballerinas would be called "Born to Be Wild" and feature a dancer saying something like, "I just love being handled by all these strange men."
Posted 04 February 2003 - 03:31 PM
As I watched the program I tried to consider how some of my male friends who have stereotyped opinions of male ballet dancers would have responded. Unfortunately, IMO, no matter how much they tried to emphasize the masculinity theme, much of what was presented underscored all of the stereotypes. First, Mark Morris seemed to support the stereotypes. Then, I was so disappointed that with all of the fantastic choreography that could have been part of the program that men partnering men was selected. (For the record, I love ballet and don't find men partnering men objectionable.) Why couldn't it have been something more balanced, more representative of ballet?
And Mahattnik, your post about Malakhov's technicolor nightmare had me laughing out loud . Thanks for the chuckle.
Posted 04 February 2003 - 04:20 PM
Posted 04 February 2003 - 04:25 PM
However, forcing those four great-looking men to appear in outfits reminiscent of (at best) members of the Brady Bunch, or (at worst) our mothers-in-law, is eminently deserving of a visit from the fashion police.
If the writers of this special wanted to show the world something hot, chic, and 100% appealing as a man, the final performance should have featured any or all of the four dressed in a classical tunic and a pair of tights.
Posted 04 February 2003 - 07:32 PM
NancyHJohnson, your second paragraph is so perfect! And I agree with the other comments you made as well.
Although I am still glad it aired, and that I saw it... I still don't understand why Mark Morris was chosen as the choreographer for a documentary about any ballet dancers.
Posted 04 February 2003 - 08:40 PM
I wonder, though, if this mixed message was intentional. In fact, I don't see how it couldn't have been. If I were trying to present male ballet dancers to the general public as heterosexual "regular guys", as was, on the surface anyhow, the intent, I wouldn't choose Morris as their choreographer. I bet he enjoyed a hearty chuckle over this program - the irony is just too sweet - it made me laugh too. I happen to love Mark Morris but he's by no stretch of the imagination an icon of heterosexuality.
Greedy for any ballet bones thrown at me, I still liked the program. For me, the highlights were the clips of these men as dancing children. I also agreed with the others who were the most intrigued by Malakhov's comments about his childhood and his famous encounters with Grigorovich. Others have stated that one had to be purely Russian - no Ukrainian or Georgian, etc. - but it still was surprising to hear that even someone with Malakhov's impressive gifts received the same treatment. We owe Grigorovich a big thank you.
Posted 05 February 2003 - 05:07 AM
In spite of ill-advised artistic choices and heavy-handed scripting designed to play up points which basically do not matter, IMO the 4 leading men of ABT prevail over the decision-makers who produced this show. Let me give them the applause which they so richly deserve.
Nobody can show us the value of the American work ethic, applied generously and strongly, than Ethan Stiefel. Nobody loves his mother or respects his teachers more than Vladimir Malakhov. Nobody is more at home in his skin as a man than Jose Carreno, and he does not need to show us a hairy chest or talk about handling girls to prove it. Most of all, Angel Corella shows us emotions: his childhood not-fitting-in, his early job frustration, his wisdom about the business of living and ultimately his spirituality itself, and he shares these things as freely as he shares his double tours.
As role models, these guys are not bad. If we look between the lines, we see the system that they work (successfully) every day........all that and, good grief, can they dance!!!! Bravo.
Posted 05 February 2003 - 11:52 AM
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