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Tapfan

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Posts posted by Tapfan


  1. 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. 


  2. 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.


  3. 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.

     


  4. 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. 


  5. 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. 


  6. 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.  

     

     

     

      


  7. 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. 

     


  8. 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. 

     

     

     

     


  9. 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.

     

     

     


  10.  

    On 10/13/2018 at 2:55 PM, Helene said:

    Much European contemporary ballet -- that's 40 years worth at this point -- has never been to the taste of NYCB audiences whose eyes have been honed by neoclassicism.  And that's aside from the main challenge that NYCB faces, which is that its rep is so vast every season -- no other major company in the world comes close, not the Royal Ballet, Mariinsky Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, the two-venue Paris Opera Ballet, Dutch National Ballet  -- that they don't even have the rehearsal and coaching time for what they have, let alone time to workshop new styles and dedicate company classes in the lead-up to them, even if that's not a deep dive much of anywhere in North America.  It shouldn't come as a surprise that a lot of dancing has to happen via shorthand, that the dancers tend to slot into what they know, which is a cycle in itself, and given the strain of different styles on their bodies, they need to be self-protecting to be standing in any way by season's end.  Paris Opera Ballet has long been described as being two companies within a company, with the contemporary branch and the classical/neoclassical branch, and there had been much hair-pulling about appointing etoiles who were primarily in the contemporary branch.  NYCB wouldn't have that luxury, even if it wanted to go in that direction.  The closest it got was having a tight group of hand-picked Robbins dancers when he was still alive.

     

    Excellent points.


  11. 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. 


  12. On 10/13/2018 at 11:47 AM, vipa said:

    Looks like some of us will have  to disagree about the versatility if NYCB dancers. I believe they are incredibly versatile. I think it should also be noted that for most NYCB dancers SAB serves as a finishing school. A dancer attends a summer intensive for one or more summers and then is in SAB for approx. 1 to 3 school years, before becoming an apprentice. (There are the exceptions of a few dances who go through SAB from the age of 8). These dancers got their foundational training elsewhere, training that often included tap, jazz and other forms of dance.  As with any group of dancers some NYCB dancers are more versatile than others, but on the whole, I think they are super adaptable. 

    .

    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. 


  13. Sorry NinaFan. I shouldn't have specified your words. 

    I mean to answer the frequently expressed opinion that  only City Ballet can dance Balanchine "properly" but conversely, City Ballet can dance anything and everything when they don't want to dance everything nor have they  EVER  been tasked with doing so. 

    All companies have baked-in and shifting strengths and weaknesses. 


  14. 16 hours ago, NinaFan said:

     To say NYCB dancers can’t switch between styles is really selling the dancers short.   It’s the other way round in that dancers from other companies often have difficulty dancing Balanchine properly

     

    I'm not talking about switching from Balanchine to Robbins. SAB trains their dancers to dance both.  I'm talking about  switching from the NYCB style to Petipa or the more adventuresome contemporary dance makers.   It's not that NYCB dancers don't have the ability to dance classical ballet, or to perform really weird stuff.   It's  that doing so isn't part of their mission,  so why would they be good at something they almost never do?  And no, Justin Peck isn't really weird stuff.  And neither is Ratmansky

    The average City Ballet patron may hate the way POB dances Jewels - I personally prefer their version to New York's - but I'd bet that POB is better at dancing Jewels than City Ballet is at dancing Don Q or In the Middle Somewhat Elevated, or Manon or Chroma. And my point isn't to make an argument as to the merits of anyone dancing Don Q. It's about being able to see a good production if that's what you want to see. 

    I also disagree that only NYCB can properly perform Balanchine. His works are masterpieces like Shakespeare that can be interpreted in any number of ways that are "correct."  For instance, some ballet fans with informed opinions felt that  DTH used to perform Concerto Barocco better than NYCB. 

     

     

      


  15. 4 hours ago, NinaFan said:

    With regard to your comment "What's wrong with staying in your lane?  It's worked for NYCB all these years."  That's actually not true.   They've had plenty of new ballets created on them post Balanchine and Robbins. 

     

    I know they've danced works by other choreographers.  My point is that it appears that a substantial portion of NYCB patrons would rather see lesser known Balanchine and Robbins than new pieces by others. 

    Every time a new work by another dance maker is premiered, you hear the deafening howls of lots of City Ballet fans and some dance critics, exclaiming that it's a waste of money, time  and the dancer's talent to put these new monstrosities  on the stage when the company has treasure trove of works by the house masters that could be presented. The artistic merit or lack thereof  of the creations by those  whippersnapper outsiders isn't the point.  It's that for many ballet fans and critics, these new creations aren't their cup of tea, so they need to go.  

    These folks have time and time again made it clear that if they wanted to see dances made by other choreographers, they'd see other ballet companies. 

    As to the dancers, all of them know whose works they will be dancing most of time and they're more than happy with this fact. Isn't that why dancers have a legacy company as a dream company?

    I  know that there has been a decades-long debate about the best ways to prevent ballet institutions from becoming museums.  But truthfully, the fact that that some companies are museums is why some patons love and support them. Does anyone expect or even want the Mariinsky Ballet to change its mission when it has worked all these years?

    Balanchine is a god, Robbins is his son, City ballet is the church of Balanchine. Shouldn't its followers have no other gods before them? 

    Besides, other companies are far more adept at switching to other styles than NYCB. Heck, even a stately old battleship like the Royal is better at dancing in different styles.  


  16. On 10/9/2018 at 2:29 PM, NinaFan said:

      Yes, the classics of Balanchine are the backbone of NYCB, but why stop there?    

    With the possible exception of  some pieces by Justin Peck,  many of NYCB's biggest fans and financial supporters are always going to be resistant to  anything that isn't Balanchine or Robbins.   It's as predictable as sand is in the desert that they will resent different  work because it means fewer chances to see even more selections from the prolific works of  B & R.    

    What's wrong with staying in your lane?  It's worked for NYCB all these years.  As to the dancers, they didn't become  NYCB dancers because they wanted to dance  Petipa,  Forsythe  or McGregor. 


  17. 8 hours ago, Rock said:

    It interests me that many posts have referred to the "complaint", which means they've read it. Yet no one has mentioned Chase Finlay's mental state. Aside from the gut wrenching texts and videos apparently sent around, the language he uses and the things he says indicate, to me at least, a very troubled person who needs help. 

    If he wasn't  a participant in a high classical art, wasn't from an affluent family  and didn't look like a model from one of the old, pre-diversity,  Ralph Lauren adds, would folks use so delicate a term as  "troubled" to define Mr. Finlay?


  18. 6 hours ago, wonderwall said:

    During graduate school, I remember reading a few ethnographic studies on male sports teams regarding gender norms, masculinity, etc. One of the interesting observations made was that male teams in sports typically viewed as a "softer" or "more feminine" often had cultures that endorsed toxic masculinity (I remember a particularly shocking one about a male volleyball team, but interesting nonetheless). Of course, ballet is not a gendered team sport in the traditional sense, but reading through this, it makes me wonder whether their profession causes some male dancers to feel the need to overtly demonstrate macho masculinity/womanizing behavior (compensating in some way). While ballet is already entrenched in gendered roles/power structures, it is just interesting food for thought.

    I watched this after reading this thread and thought it was very interesting--especially 2:52 through the end.

     

    I've always been bothered by the fact that some straight male classical dancers, feel the need to declare how in to women they are and to brag about how much access they have to scantily clad, nubile women.  

    It sounds so defensive and definitely isn't the most mature stance you can project.  

    Will the resolution of these troubles result in real and lasting change?  As is the case with many august arts institutions,  when you get outside the nexus of it's biggest fans and supporters,  NYCB can seem hopelessly insular and so concerned with the preservation of the Balanchine and Robbins legacies that other issues are given short shrift. 

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