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Everything posted by Tapfan

  1. If authenticity is so vital, why dance La Bayadere at all? Most dancers in Russian companies aren't South Asian. Doesn't that make their portrayals inaccurate? But they allow themselves that amount of artistic license. They should take a cue from film director Mike Leigh who knew better than to make up his white actors as Asian when they were performing the Mikado in the film Topsy Turvy. Yellow face would have been a historically accurate theatrical practice during the film's setting but was NOT used. The N-word was also omitted from one of the Gilbert and Sullivan tunes performed. Yet doing so didn't affect the verisimilitude of the story at all.
  2. I don't take that to mean that she is sanctioning picking on teens. I took it to mean that the Bolshoi has retrograde racist attitudes that they excuse by calling it tradition. I hate I brought this up because I truly thought this would be a non-controversial topic on which even the most conservative and traditionalist of ballet fans would agree. But the topic seems to have been hijacked to focus on the topic of online bullying. Bullying is wrong. The people who bullied those teens are wrong. I even agree that PERHAPS Copeland should have been more careful not to make it easy or easier for SOME of her fans to harass teens. BUT the issue of blackface WAS pushed aside.
  3. Michaela DePrince doesn't speak constantly about racism. No black classical dancer does, not even Misty, although many of her critics may think otherwise. But Michaela has spoken about race from time to time. She said she was told by a teacher that they don't spend much time on the "black girls" (ballet students) because they end up getting fat. She also said that after graduating from JKO, she secured an audition sight unseen - at a ballet company on the west coast but was denied entry to the audition when she showed up even though she had I.D. Precious Adams has also spoken about racial issues in the classical dance world. But she has indicated that she is reluctant to do so because her feelings are evolving, there is a downside to being outspoken and because she isn't as brave as Misty. She recently commented on the Bolshoi blackface issue on her instagram account. My point is that many black female dancers - especially those with darker skin - have experienced additional hurdles that have nothing to do with their ability or work ethic. And yes, things are changing for the better.
  4. Who defended the harassment of innocent girls?
  5. For heavens sake. If the Bolshoi is that much of a pressure cooker, they have major problems that have nothing to do with what Misty says or does. Also, the powers that be at the Bolshoi haven't missed a single opportunity to express how right they feel they are about their artistically vital blackface-loving tradition, so none of the girls are in trouble with management for Copeland's remarks.
  6. I don't expect Russian students to protest blackface or yellowface. I do expect major ballet companies like the Bolshoi and the Mariinsky to know better and to do better. And as was stated in the linked article, the Bolshoi's excuse that it was tradition, was beyond lame. They responded as they did out of arrogance, like dare I say..... spoiled teens.
  7. Copeland instructed her followers to harass teens? That's a pretty serious accusation.
  8. I was the person who originally posted the link of the article that defended Copeland. I stated that I didn't see why pointing out that blackface is wrong was controversial. Someone immediately stated that the reason the subject was controversial was because it led to bullying of teens. I'd say that's a pretty definitive statement that the controversy wasn't over the wrongness of blackface but the wrongness of supposedly picking on teens. The original issue was shoved aside to point to how horrible it was that some people picked on teens.
  9. So the controversy is only about the girls being bullied? Come on. I'm not buying that. With the ubiquity of American culture seeping into all corners of the world, Russians are pretending that they had no idea that blackface is repulsive. And since when is something offensive based purely on intent? Also, there's proof the Copeland instructed her fans to hound the students? And she should apologize for what her fans do? In what universe?
  10. A dance studies scholar makes a strong argument in support of Copeland's criticism of Russian companies for continuing to use blackface. https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-01-12/blackface-bolshoi-copeland-twitter-tweet Why this is controversial is beyond me.
  11. Reverse discrimination at NYCB that victimizes white ballet dancers? Well, the powers that be surely do a bad job of it seeing as how their roster hasn't exactly been flooded with non-white dancers these past 20 years. Nor at any other time for that matter. And that includes dancers of Asian descent who are prevalent in nearly every other company in North America, Europe and the Antipodes, but NOT NYCB. Lack of racial diversity at NYCB is an issue that the organization had handled poorly in the past and one that they were working hard to remedy according to AD Stafford in an article in Dance magazine. Geez, Making a monumentally wealthy and connected institution like City Ballet out to be victims of pc bullying is enough to make Theresa Howard's head explode. And anyone who doesn't know who Theresa Howard is, should learn.
  12. Tapfan

    Sergei Polunin

    Somewhere, Kevin Heart is thinking, "Is that all the career damage he has to endure?" Boo hoo.
  13. Word. Even if Martins has the right to determine casting, his behavior comes across as meddlesome. What ever happened to the virtues making a clean break? On the other hand, as one of those folks who has always felt that NYCB was like the New York Yankees of ballet - filthy rich, successful, overexposed, condescending, arrogant and really easy to hate, the feeling of schadenfreude at all the recent turmoil, is quite satisfying.
  14. Way to go Precious! Precious Adams has won the Emerging Artist Award at the National Dance Awards in London. She was also nominated for "Best Classical Performance/Female" for her role dancing the Calliope Rag in Kenneth McMillan's Elite Syncopations. I'm so happy for her because she is such a beautiful and versatile dancer whose degree of talent is beyond dispute.
  15. Because possessing a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of American ballet history, is unfortunately, not a priority for far too many of American ballet's AD's, administrators, fundraisers, educators and tastemakers. In interviews, too many of them show a shocking level of artistic and historical myopia.
  16. Bless you for the heads up about this documentary. Seeing all those pioneering black ballerinas is inspiring. Too bad that many of the gatekeepers of the art form in America will never see it.
  17. I thought that merely mentioning the fact that some ballet dancers might have eating disorders, was offensive to many classical dance fans. But how can you work to resolve an issue if you're afraid to confront it?
  18. I'm an outlier myself because I like ballet but didn't like Center Stage. It's so beloved that I figure there must be a special place in hell for dance fans who don't like it. I found it to be impossibly corny, unrealistic and predictable. Also, Aesha Ashe didn't get the credit she deserved for being Zoe Saldana's dance double. On the other hand, I like Black Swan because it's an unconventional horror movie with a ballet setting that winks at it's own preposterous conceits. As to eating disorders in ballet, they may not be as common as they were in the 1980's but they still exist and probably always will considering how important one's lines are in classical dance.
  19. I didn't see Black Swan as reinforcing stereotypes because the Natalie Portman and Winona Ryder characters were clearly outliers. I never got the feeling that the story was implying that all ballerinas are neurotic and sexually repressed. Just these particular ones.
  20. Most people in most professions are focused professionals. But where's the drama in that? I think people are hypersensitive about how ballet dancers are portrayed because there are so few movies made about ballet. Ballet dancers are like underrepresented racial, ethnic, religious or sexual minorities when it comes to film. People get angry because the films that do get made have the impossible task of being all things to all people in the underrepresented community.
  21. He's getting paid and is getting seen by audiences that probably didn't know he exists, but I'm not a fan of the Lil' Buck/ ballet collaborations. Ballet has an infamous habit of exploiting dancers in other dance forms in an attempt to appear more artistically or culturally "woke" than they actually are, or are expected to be. It's an attempt to wear pop culture like a cloak of hipness. And this form of slumming with their so-called artistic lessors gives them an excuse to not bother with actually expanding and advancing their own art form. You know ballet is stuck in a self-reverential time warp when the big news is that Freed of London is now making brown and bronze-colored pointe shoes.
  22. Isn't there a great deal of defensiveness within the ballet community about eating disorders? Whenever it's discussed outside the worlds of major companies and major ballet academies - particularly in pop culture - dance professionals seem to get angry. I think about how pissed off so many people were with the dramedy horror movie Black Swan. It was as if they were terrified that implying that some dancers might have eating disorders was an accusation against all female dancers. The reaction by so many within the classical dance community struck me as over-the-top and it led me to suspect that too many classical dance people are too insular and devoid of a sense of humor.
  23. Ansel for Tony? Can't see it. Hope I'm wrong but he seems as miscast as the guy who played Tony in the original. Neither guy screams gang member. As for Maria, I hope they find an actual Puerto Rican singer/actress and don't hire yet another tiny English actress which is what Hollywood defaults to when casting everything nowadays.
  24. What you're describing is true of almost all dancers who train in North America and end up at a major company where their feeder school serves as a finishing school. If that training background means NYCB dancers can automatically dance anything, then wouldn't it be reasonable to assume that someone who has come up through the schools at say Houston or San Francisco can just as easily dance Balanchine and get it right? They're all well-trained dancers. Yet merely hearing the name Houston Ballet would have some people saying, "They're going to butcher Balanchine." Once again, I'm not saying NYCB dancers don't have the ability to dance classically or to do cutting edge contemporary, I'm saying that as professionals, they don't have the opportunity because it's not why the company exists. Why is it hard to believe that being in a company that frequently dances Forsythe or Pina Bausch would make you better at it than a company that dances them on rare occasions? They may be well-trained but if I want to see Bausch, the first company I think of isn't City Ballet. And if I want to see some Robert Garland, I don't look to the Bolshoi. Can anyone picture the Mariinsky even thinking about trying the piece Michelle Dorrance is setting on ABT ? Of course not because it's too far out of their cultural and national frame of reference. Yes, that's an extreme example, but it illustrates my point that all companies no matter how well-trained have strengths and weaknesses. I simply disagree with the assertion by so many of it's fans that "NYCB can dance anything, but we choose not to because everything other than Balanchine and Robbins is beneath us and we can spend only so much time slumming. It's this kind of fan attitude that makes me think of City Ballet as the New York Yankees of Ballet, real easy for non-NYCB fans to hate. And George Balanchine is to Ballet what Bear Bryant is to college football, a long-dead great that lots of unscrupulous people live on.
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