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Tapfan

Senior Member
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Everything posted by Tapfan

  1. Several months ago, I was taken aback by a South African-identified BA poster who stated that he/she assumed that the lack of black ballerinas was because most of them (black women) had flat feet that made point work difficult. The ignorance in this sweeping generalization surprised me because I expected more of BA posters. But then, stereotypes have been known to die hard even in intelligent people. Just the other night, I was looking at photos of my mother taken when she was in her late teens. It's ironic that my mum, who grew up as a small town, East Tennessee, basketball-playing, Dolly
  2. Precisely, Drew. Racism in institutionalized form is not a question of individual prejudice (although individual action can make a difference in ameliorating the problem, once recognized). So then the institution may be prejudiced even if none of the individuals in the institution are prejudiced. Makes sense to some people. nanuska wrote: I don’t assume no black dancers ever face racism. But I’m intrigued by the logical assumption on which the “black female dancers are held back by racism” argument turns: that in the ballet world we find a phenomenon unobserved anywhere else, people
  3. How is speculating about ABT's motives for instituting the program any different than speculating that race or color may be one factor in the lack of black females in classical dance, especially when there is known history of bias? It's all speculation that assumes the worst.
  4. I disagree that Project Plie' is some cynical attempt by ABT to deflect accusations by big, bad, Misty Copeland that the ballet world is crawling with unreconstructed racists. First of all, in my opinion, Misty's implications of racial and color bias in ballet are far more nuanced than her detractors imply. She's spoken of mostly small instances of subtle racial insensitivity that add up over time. She hasn't said that someone called her the N-word or burned a cross in front of her apartment building. She never said that all of the barriers she's faced in her career have been due to ra
  5. Just as there is the race card, there is also the denial card. Just as some people can and do interject race into situations where it has no bearing, there are people who can and do automatically dismiss any and all racial grievances. There is a long history of denial of racial bias going back to times when it's obvious it existed. I'm talking about the 50's, 40's, 30's and even further back.
  6. I don't believe that those people on the PP advisory board would waste their time with something that's being done just for show. If it is being done just for show, a lot of people have been suckered into participating. Three or four more companies have become affiliated with the program since it's inception. Black men have actually have had quite a bit of success in the ballet world - I agree with you in that sense. Black women are the ones who still face barriers. I used Finlay as an example because his fast (and controversial) ascent to the principal ranks was largely based on potential
  7. Once again, people ignore the fact that those are BLACK MALES. The issue is lack of opportunity for black females.
  8. You'd better not let Virginia Johnson see that remark. Based on interviews I've seen her do, she definitely thinks that prior to its hiatus, DTH was a top-tier company, even if many ballet fans disagree. As to Graf's lack of SAB training, couldn't her skill as a dancer be considered a game-changing factor? And weren't Balanchine works a significant portion of DTH programming? Even if she wasn't trained in Balanchine technique, she most certainly had experience dancing his pieces.
  9. Copeland isn't so young anymore (30, I believe). She and her PR team knew exactly what they were doing in playing the race card, and it appears to have worked. Alicia Graf always let her dancing do the talking, and she was always rewarded with ecstatic press reviews. Misty should give her PR folks a big bonus for all they have accomplished on her behalf. Actually, Alicia was quoted in that 2007 New York Times article about the lack of black female classical dancers that SOME folks found offensive and off-the-mark. She personally didn't complain, but her situation was used to highlight
  10. As a huge fan of musicals, I commend these classical dancers for stepping out of their comfort zones. Apparently they feel that the time lost in their short classical dance careers is worth it in order to experience another type of artistic fulfillment. Broadway gypsies probably don't see their field of dance as a waste of anyone's time, even a classical dancer's. Not all Broadway dancers are frustrated classical dancers. Some folks actually prefer show dancing. Baryshnikov danced other forms of dance during his prime years and seems to have no regrets.
  11. NYC Ballet reminds me of that movie Pleasantville. Everything there seems to be so insular and conformist. I feel the same way! Please, come sit next to me! At least, metaphorically!
  12. Well, I guess I got my posterior handed to me! My honest apologies if my tone was seen as dismissive. That wasn't my intent. In fact, I thought the tone was already implied as somewhat argumentative when I was challenged as to why I felt NYC had a prep school vibe. I get that that this is a Balanchine-centric site and you don't go to Rome and complain that all the food is Italian. Ironically, I went on the offensive because I thought people were being dismissive of my views.
  13. Unfortunately, not everyone appreciates ballet the same way. And while nobody's gonna ask people like me who are new to the art form to write about it professionally, we can't really care about the art form and NOT have opinions. Even if they are uninformed. I prefer more of what I've seen in Forsythe to Balanchine.
  14. City Ballet can't just order up great works, as the Diamond Project showed. What widely admired choreographers are languishing for lack of commissions? What great contemporary ballets should it import? Great dancers are best shown in and are in part formed by the demands of great material, and Balanchine and Robbins provide it. New dancers can make old ballets fresh again. So too, in a lesser degree, can new costumes and sets, although at City Ballet those frequently seem to be worse (costumes for Symphony in C and Who Cares, sets for Jewels). I know that great choreography can't be ordered
  15. I agree. But I also agree with Sarah Kaufman when she says that those people who love Balanchine and those who are in charge of his legacy, frequently get stuck at worshiping what he made instead of being inspired by it. To me, that supposed commitment of preserving the old works and creating new ones, seems to be in reality, more heavily weighted towards caring for and re-staging the old. The most praise of City Ballet these last few years, has come due to the emergence of great dancers, NOT great works.
  16. I was indeed attempting to be somewhat ironic. It appeared to me that having such a treasure trove of legacy works at their disposal, many of City Ballet's biggest supporters and fans really weren't interested in seeing anything new. So why waste money and time on new works if you know that the critics and audiences are predisposed to hating them simply for not being Balanchine or Robbins? Yes, they almost hired him but let their rival ABT hire him. If he was so great, and City ballet is all about presenting great works, why'd they let him get away?
  17. The SAB specific training is one of the reasons and yes, I know that most major companies have affiliated schools. And of course, I'm not talking about them having high standards. Who would complain about that? Nor am I talking about uniformity of style. I like that about companies like POB. I'm talking about the feeling that us outsiders get that the City Ballet/SAB nexus is a very exclusive club that tightly controls who gets into the club, who should care about the club, why they should care or even who watches the club. It seems that everybody who works or teaches there is only im
  18. Jasmin Perry is a dancer. She went to SAB.
  19. NYC Ballet reminds me of that movie Pleasantville. Everything there seems to be so insular and conformist.
  20. Misty's Mom was a former NFL cheerleader so somebody more like Carmen Ejogo. For Susan Failes Hill, Paula Patton. For Kevin McKenzie, Peter Gallagher. For the woman who discovered Misty and was her first mentor, Sutton Foster. For Misty herself, I don't like the idea of people playing themselves, so I'd say an unknown. Maybe Jasmine Perry who was featured in the Teen Vogue series about SAB. Beyonce?! Good Lord no!
  21. It appears that there's a film producer who thinks that Misty's life story would make a good film. I suspect this forum will become the home of debates about the worthiness of this topic, that are far more entertaining than a film could ever be. I actually would prefer a story on the life of Raven Wilkinson.
  22. The thought of Marcelo bare-chested is lovely. But those feathered pants aren't flattering on anyone. They make even lean, and very fit young men look like they have birthing hips.
  23. Exactly. I read somewhere that in the U.S., ballet's ratio of male to female is the reverse of the military. In the armed services, you have roughly 10 men for every woman. For people trying to make it as ballet dancers, you frequently have 10 women for every man. There's less pressure on the men because there's less competition. (That's not to say that the men don't work hard.) I know that ALL women - including white women - who make it as classical dancers have it rough. But you don't have to be wallowing in victimhood to acknowledge that women of color can have additional hurdles
  24. While I agree that there are many factors other than racism that contribute to the lack of black women in classical dance - lack of access, few black role models, cost - I feel that body type is probably one one of the elements that is emphasized too often. Yes, most African American women are of West African decent, but it's not like that racial subgroup consists of only one heavily-muscled athletic build. As the saying goes, "I've been black all my life," and I can assure you we have our share of ectomorphs who eat like lumberjacks and still look like Alex Wek. Unfortunately, I'm not
  25. Of course not, because none of them had anywhere near as high a profile as Copeland. She's arguably the most famous ballet dancer in the country of any race. I can understand why that might irk some balletomanes who feel that based on talent, she's undeserving of such fame, but it doesn't explain the level of vitriol directed at Copeland. Copeland isn't to blame for the fact that dancers who are better than her aren't better known or that ballet doesn't get the respect or attention from the great, unwashed, masses that balletomanes think it deserves. And Lord knows it's not her fault that
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