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Great Ballerinas #2

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Alexandra, I am glad you recognize the development of young dancers as the central problem in classical ballet nowadays(absence of adequate directorship, or "management" is the other main problem that's wrecking many companies today -- though that could be the subject of another topic).

Sadly, the Kirov Ballet, rightly proud of its tradition, is not immune to this flaw either. Attending rehearsals can be instructive for this matter. I'm not throwing stones at anyone - it's really too painful - , but when during a studio rehearsal a leading ballerina has to admit in tears that she has forgotten every single step of the ballet she is supposed to be dancing in the evening, then I guess there is something seriously wrong with the training. Everything was gone. And of course, anybody can have a blackout. But then you realize that this person isn't even twenty, and yet she is supposed to master a repertoire which normally for somebody of thirty-five would already be a major achievement. Everything is going much too fast. Nobody is instructed to watch examples anymore. None of the youngsters has or takes the time to watch a performance by an older colleague, who is sidelined anyway. The phenomenon of "living examples" is disappearing. Add to that the strain of endless touring, the responsability of being a "star-ballerina" at twenty, and you easily understand that some performances are anything but satisfactory.

But still, she can lift her legs behind her ear and she has a nice smile... The general ballerina of today? I'm afraid so.

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This probably should be a different thread but...the developement of dancers or the coaching of ballets seems to be the biggest problem these days. I was reading the reviews in the latest Dance Magazine and almost all pointed out that the ballets weren't being taught right, that dancers performed the ballets in a homogenized style. I don't think it's because the dancers are not talented. They can do it, but they're not getting the support they or the ballets need. Is it a money issue? Do companies feel that coaching is a place where they can save a few bucks? Or do dancers feel that they are out of school and don't want to "take lessons" any more. I know that in music there was a point where instrumentalists felt that while they always had to practice, there was some point where they didn't need to study anymore. However, opera singers never stop working with their coaches. Even the best of the best still take lessons. I've noticed that Nina Ananiashvili still works with her coach just to make sure she's not slipping. It's sad to hear that this is happening at the Kirov, where it always seemed that older, retired dancers stayed around to help the next generation.


[This message has been edited by Dale (edited 01-18-99).]

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I'm going to start two new threads, because this one is getting too long:

Please don't post anything more here.

If you want to talk about Great Ballerinas, please go to Great Ballerinas #3.

If you want to talk about coaching or the lack thereof, please go to Coaching or the Lack Thereof. I'm going to copy Dale's posts to that thread, just to get it started.



[This message has been edited by alexandra (edited 01-18-99).]

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