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Tapfan

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Posts posted by Tapfan


  1. 53 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

    Alexandra Waterbury and her supporters have tried to "cancel" NYCB in particular and ballet overall,  and have managed to generate high profile negative discussion in the NY Times,  the Washington Post and even Law and Order SVU.  If the Corona virus hadn't shut down Broadway and ballet,  they might still be demonstrating in the street.  (Although it's likely that her mostly teenage supporters would have moved on by now.)  Ballet has a PR deficiency.  Right now companies are just preaching to the choir instead of reaching out to the public.

    I forgot about the Waterbury protests. From my vantage point, they seemed to be sort of puny.  But of course, I wasn't on site to observe the number of participants nor the length of time they demonstrated.

    But yes, yes, yes. Ballet has a massive PR problem that the art's gatekeepers seem at best, unable to tackle and at worst, seem indifferent to. The Russian  guardianship seems to be particularly static and proud of it. 


  2. On 6/25/2020 at 4:15 PM, On Pointe said:

    Latino and Spanish dancers are well represented in American ballet,  possibly over-represented in some companies.  When Ballet Theatre (precursor to ABT) was founded,  it was even planned to have a Latin American wing.  Lincoln Kirstein had intended for Ballet Society,  later NYCB,  to have equal numbers of black and white dancers,  but that idea fell by the wayside.

    The descriptor Latinx is tricky to define even by members of  the community itself.  But doesn't it generally refer to an ethnicity or culture  more than a race?  After all, many Latin dancers look and self-identify as white.

    I'm happy to see so many black students - especially females - in the upper levels of SAB.  But I'll believe real change has come when substantial numbers actually get hired by the company and aren't just used in photos for the school's brochure.  

     

    Such a pity that American National Ballet theater went down in flames. It would have been nice to see a company built specifically with diversity in mind.  


  3. 5 hours ago, cubanmiamiboy said:

    I truly hope a wave of cancel culture doesn't start for ballet companies...

    I doubt that ballet has a high enough  profile for most people to bother. I'm constantly surprised by the number of people who one would consider to be culturally expansive and sophisticated in their knowledge of art, who don't give a flying fig about ballet. 

    I suspect this may be because classical dance in even its more esoteric forms isn't totally inaccessible.  But the culture surrounding ballet frequently is. 


  4. I knew Tanya Howard was mixed-race but I had no idea that Jordana Daumec was biracial until she showed up at Theresa Howard's Mobballet symposium in Philadelphia. I thought Jordana was a curly-haired Caucasian. Serves me right for being so smug about what I thought was very accurate racial radar. 

     

    Anyway, NBC is like most ballet companies, not so much racist as culturally myopic and indifferent to social changes because few things can pierce the bubble of classical dance.  Someone always has to show out to get their attention.    This is so weird and self-defeating when you  consider the fact that the ballet establishment is always saying it wants to expand it's audience.


  5. I suspect that most people in positions of power simply don't see lack of representation as a problem, especially since they can always double down on the lie that no qualified black people are out there.  

    And THAT is the problem. As has been said before on this very forum, AD's don't have to justify their preferences which frequently exclude black dancers. 


  6. Although it's gotten better, ballet was and continues to be a very conservative and insular world.  Some of the art form's gatekeepers, taste-makers  and biggest supporters like it for those very reasons.  

    The fastest way to make people lose their minds when speaking about classical dance,  is to mention race and representation - especially black female representation. According to the powers that be,  predominately white companies in the West are always justified in their lack of black  women because  black women are always too something. Too muscular, too lacking in refinement and talent,  too under-trained or too distracting in white ballets like Giselle. Of course, prominent black ballet talents tend to strongly disagree. 

    And the current national mood sees black ballet folks emboldened to speak openly about a system that they feel is sorely in need of major change. They've had it with self-congratulatory baby steps at schools that  lead nowhere or with endless excuses about the supposedly limited talent pool.  They see it as so much bull excrement. 


  7. On 4/22/2020 at 5:30 PM, pherank said:

    Anyone familiar with Nikisha Fogo?

    She's a huge favorite at Theresa Ruth Howard's Mobballet Instagram site.  She's so beloved there that they have something going called "Fogo Fridays" where they post videos of her dancing almost every Friday. She's  has killer technique, superb musicality and is hella charismatic.   I'm betting that Manuel Legris hates losing her. 

    Also, she becomes just the 2nd woman with black ancestry to make it to the rank of  principle in one of America's "big three" companies.   She should be a major draw for black audience members. 

     

     

     

     

     


  8. On 1/18/2020 at 5:18 AM, Mashinka said:

    Seeing how fakir behaviour includes meditating in the open air in all weathers, a weather beaten look is appropriate in comparison with the other characters.  Kind of permanent first degree burn.  I once watched a performance of Swan Lake in Marbella, a lot of the dancers had clearly taken advantage of the sun.  No uniformity that night.  Some had a fabulous tan, some had turned red, while the ones that had eschewed the beach looked pasty by comparison.   

    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.  


  9. 15 hours ago, Balletwannabe said:

    She posted the girls IG name, along with a re-post of the original text, including 6 other Russian girls IG's, 5/6 which are now "not found".  When you re-post, it is not necessary to post the text/names.  You can easily just post the picture.  It shows up on their end when their name is tagged.  Misty knows that.  And yet still, after all of the bullying, she doesn't delete the text and names?  She could leave her original message and picture and delete their identities.  Any reasonable person would do so upon hearing that children are getting death threats. 

    She said this on Twitter: "But until we can call people out and make people uncomfortable, change can't happen".  

    But I digress.  This is the reality of social media.

    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. 

     


  10. 12 hours ago, On Pointe said:

    I'm curious - what did Michaela DePrince say about racism?  Her life story is so unique I'm not sure that anything she has to say applies to anyone but herself.  (African Americans generally dislike being conflated with recent African immigrants.  It has become something of a hot button issue.)

    I'd heard about it,  but that photo made me sick to my stomach.

    You seem to be implying that Misty Copeland is the one acting with malign intent,  and that she intentionally wanted to make those girls' lives hell.  I believe that a principal dancer has more important things to do.

    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.

     


  11. 2 hours ago, Mashinka said:

    It is pretty easy to offend through ignorance actually.  Not knowing about local customs/superstitions can easily cause upset/embarrassment/anger, even mispronouncing a foreign word can get you into trouble.   Innocuous example: once gave a Russian friend twelve roses, was unaware even numbers of blooms in bouquets are unlucky, she was clearly upset.

    I'm reading this thread with incredulity, cannot believe anyone would defend the harassment of innocent young girls.

    Who defended the harassment of innocent girls?


  12. 8 minutes ago, FireDancer said:

    Agreed.

    There was a suicide at the Bolshoi Academy last year- let's hope there's no repeat! 😢

    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.  


  13. 33 minutes ago, Helene said:

    If it was connected to Copeland before you were aware,  there is a good chance that it was suggested to you because of all of the traffic her post generated to it.  It is standard for algorithms to suggest posts that have been viewed and shared.  Social media platforms are only in the business of generating their own clicks if there is advertising money behind it.  It is cheaper and easier for them to let the online community generate its buzz, and then exploit that.

     

    Edited to add to avoid the double-post:

    The double-edge sword of being famous is that, despite your niche, when your fans deliver death threats and hive on a target, it's on you, and you are judged by your reactions.  You doesn't get a global pass when you're wrong.  If [pick a dancer that only their home city has heard of] or a WNBA All Star did the same thing, it might get a few mentions in the general press, just like an NFL bench player, but if you're [pick an NBA star, a Barca star, etc.], there is going to be a lot of press and inevitable debate and criticism, if your fans go there.

    In figure skating, a group of rapid fans of YuNa Kim, called "Yunabots" delivered death threats and hive attacks on Adelina Solnitskaya, who beat Kim for the 2014 Olympic gold medal, after a long campaign of attacking Mao Asada, Kim's long-time rival.  Similarly, Evgenia Medvedeva has fans who've attacked Alina Zagitova, who beat Medvedeva for the 2018 Olympic gold medal.  I don't read Russian, but Russian-speaking friends have told me both were huge news in the Russian press, although, not surprisingly, both being Russian, Medvedeva has supporters in Russia that Kim doesn't.

    Both Medvedeva and Kim were criticized harshly for never making a statement that this was unacceptable behavior.  In terms of an apology from Copeland, I think it would be appropriate for her to add that it was a mistake to post the social media handle of a ballet student, if she wanted to attack the Bolshoi Ballet.

    If you are going to say that Russian ballet students should protest blackface, in my view, you need to protest against every student and dancer who has done a stereotypical Arabian or Chinese dance at the same time, ie, anything that isn't authentic folk dance.  

    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.  


  14. On 1/14/2020 at 4:03 PM, Leah said:

    Copeland sent her followers to her Instagram who posted death threats and messages to the girl to kill herself. I saw it before it was deleted and I highly doubt Russian teachers act that way. Copeland pointedly did not identify the Bolshoi or reply to anyone asking who it was. It’s cowardly to go after a student and not the company responsible.

    Blackface is obviously terrible but Copeland’s behavior was pretty gross.

    Copeland instructed her followers to harass teens? That's a pretty serious accusation. 

     

     


  15. 3 hours ago, nanushka said:

     

     

    As far as I can tell:

    • no one is calling Misty Copeland a villain;
    • no one is saying that everything is her fault;
    • no one is suggesting she should be punished;
    • no one is suggesting she is looking for someone to harass (or even that she harassed the young Russian dancer whose picture she reposted).

    These are all attacks on straw people.

    Adding these to the list:

     

    6 hours ago, FireDancer said:

    How many people follow random students of the Bolshoi school?

    Exactly.

    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. 


  16. 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?

     


  17. 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. 


  18. On 2/24/2019 at 1:05 AM, Drew said:

    I haven't the faintest, but from what I do know I am not inclined to believe Bouder is the problem here. Or Stafford.

    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.


  19. 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.

     


  20. On 12/23/2018 at 1:51 PM, dirac said:

    I'm not sure why they wouldn't (?) It's been broadcast on PBS in my vicinity several times, for one thing.

    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. 


  21. On 12/19/2018 at 7:49 AM, California said:

    This seems like a good time to remind everybody: Raven Wilkinson is included in a wonderful documentary called Black Ballerinas. It's available for free viewing on Amazon Prime and I would recommend it.

    https://www.amazon.com/Black-Ballerina-Joan-Myers-Brown/dp/B07HF7KSTC/

    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. 


  22. 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.  

     

     

     

      

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