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Comparing Generations

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The tutus have definitely changed shape. It don't think it is just weight thas has changed. There is more of a preference for hyperextended legs and high arches. These were not absolutely necessary. In fact, hyperextended legs and high arched feet are actually weaker.

One other thing that has changed is the ancillary training that dancers do -- I can't think of a performer that doesn't do something outside of class and rehearsal. Circuit training, Pilates or other machine-based therapies, swimming... dance training is very different now than it was just a few years ago.

This I feel really started to be a regular part of things in my early to mid training days. Before early 80's I get the feeling that ballet dancers rarely cross trained outside of other dance styles but perhaps I am wrong. It was always my impression that we cross trained mostly to help w/ over-use type injury prevention. I can't say I thought to connect the "new" cross training ideas to anything outside endurance and/or injury protection purposes.

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Well speaking of Grand Pas Classique watch Komleva and Soloviev absolutely sail through it:

I'm adding this a bit late, but I'm sure I'll be forgiven.

I found that was my favourite video of all the Grand Pas that were shown on this thread. I sent it to two of my friends, because I wanted to share the lovelyness with them!

Imagine my suprise at how different their reactions were from mine. One of them, the older one, was impressed....at first, all she said was "WOW!" Later, she added how strong their legs were, how she kept wondering during the female variation "Is she ever going to get off that leg? She's so strong to just stay there!" The second friend, a younger one, in her twenties, thought it was lovely, but "the ballerina's turnout and extensions weren't great".

I think I've become more aware, since I joined this board, that sometimes things are just incredible. I can be wowed by what they're doing, but some small part of me can turn that off and just enjoy it, instead of thinking about the hows and whys of what's going on. And I certainly am not one to be impressed simply by extensions!

So thanks, everyone, for making me a more cultured balletviewer. tiphat.gif

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I think I've become more aware, since I joined this board, that sometimes things are just incredible. I can be wowed by what they're doing, but some small part of me can turn that off and just enjoy it, instead of thinking about the hows and whys of what's going on.

I tend to do this a lot, ascballerina.

ksk04, I think that beautiful, soft arms are alive and well at the Mariinsky. The video of Gabriella Komleva, to which ascballerina just referred, shows this beauty from not that long ago. The Ulyana Lopatkina video shows it at its most beautiful today. The Oxana Skorik video, "La Bayadere", from the thread from 'whence this one came', gives an idea of where one of the possible and remarkable 'flag ships' (Ms. Skorik) of the next generation is headed.

(top of the page)


ksk04, regarding your mention of épaulement, Clement Crisp gives this lovely definition.

"In ballet, épaulement denotes the dancer's ability to turn, bend and shape the placing of the trunk, shoulders, arms, neck and head to produce the subtlest contrasts and oppositions. In Italian art it is contrapposto, and this is what gives life, veracity and power to a drawn or sculpted position. In classical ballet it turns the academic pose into the beautiful, the fascinating."


This is from an article highly praising Olga Smirnova, part of the new generation. Diana Vishneva has called her the resolution of the historic or generational debate between the Mariinsky and the Bolshoi. What I see Olga Smirnova accomplishing is to combine the expansive beauty, expression and soul of the Bolshoi with the aesthetic delicacy, refinement and ethereality of the Mariinsky. Oxana Skorik (Mariinsky) who I think of in the same breath, for me, shows more of the pure Mariinsky, in her Essence.

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I think this discussion could also take place in any sport. I am not a big sports fan, but I follow tennis and my husband follows other sports. There used to be an attitude that practicing your sport gave you what you needed. Now the cross training and science it amazing.

You are quite right about this -- I did a tiny amount of reading about sports history a few years ago, and there has been an incredible shift, all across the field. In many ways, dance has been the lucky recipient of research into sports medicine and training, which has extended the career of many, many artists.

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How about weight lifting for the men..? I don't know now, but in Cuba it was part of the regular curriculum. I don't know about other companies, but I don't think the MCB headquarters has a gym with such equipements.

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Here's a comparison of the Black Swan pdd:

Beriosova and Nureyev:


Recent RB HD with Zanowsky and Kish:


In this case I think the technique of Beriosova and Nureyev more than hold up against the modern comparison. And this includes physique -- Beriosova is tall, leggy, with beautiful feet and extension. Her terre a terre technique is IMO stronger than Zanowsky's -- she goes through Odile's variation with more speed and less effort. Only thing is the passe/releve is consistently lower in past generations.

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