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Tapfan

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Everything posted by Tapfan

  1. Was my question offensive? That was honestly not my intention. My apologies.
  2. Are the opening sections of classical pas de deux in which the ballerina is supported by her male partner, very difficult for the ballerinas to perform? I ask because when I've observed these movements - with my admittedly untrained eye - I've been l somewhat underwhelmed. I know that world-class female ballet dancers are incredibly graceful, strong and flexible. But so are many people who practice yoga and other physical activities at high levels. Other than the wondrousness of Viengsay Valdes-type balances, I'm at a loss as to what is so special in adagios. I realize these sections are meant to display the female dancer's grace, line and balance. But isn't such a display redundant considering all the abilities she has already shown in allegro? Also, the fact that a ballerina needs a male partner to show off is a bit sexist, is it not? Do male dancers need women to show all aspects of their virtuosity?
  3. Thanks to everyone for your responses. I realize that on the list of really important things, the dearth of active, black, female classical dancers is pretty low. And it's not as if my wee one doesn't love ballet dancers who happen to be white or Asian. It's just that we can't resist checking the head shots at major company sites hoping to find young, black, women who were obviously bitten by the ballet bug at my youngster's age. Our little one knows about Raven Wilkinson, Lauren Anderson, Tai Jimenez and Victoria Johnson. But their careers can seem like ancient history to children and adults alike. We also were aware of Kimberly Braylock at San Francisco Ballet, Christina Spigner at Miami City Ballet, Misty Copeland and Courtney Lavine at American Ballet Theater, Erica Lynette Edwards and Dara Holmes at Joffrey and Katlyn Addison and Whitney Huell at Ballet West. But somehow, we missed the fact that Miss Boisson had been hired at NYC Ballet. Baby steps! Yea!
  4. Thank you. There's a tiny human close to me who has fallen in love with ballet. I want her to know about role models who look like her.
  5. I had no idea that city ballet had a black female dancer in the corp de ballet. Who is she?
  6. I find it sad and frustrating that the only time that ballet is mentioned in the American mainstream media, is when the artistic director of a major company has acid thrown in his face. Can and should there be another ballet boom that gets people other than knowledgeable devotees interested in this art form? And to experience said boom, must there be another perfect storm of Balanchine, Baryshnikov and Kirkland-level talent, all performing in a media capital like NYC?
  7. Not the first time team Beyonce has been accused of brazenly taking credit for the creativity of others. From her career's infancy to the present day, Beyonce has stolen from been "inspired" by a long list of talented songwriters, choreograhers, directors and even set designers. And poor Bey is just so busy conquering the world of entertainment that she sometimes forgets to acknowlege these sources of inspiration until someone reminds her. But even the intimidating might of her take-no-prisoners father and manager Matthew Knowles wasn't enough to secure her a co-writing credit for the Oscar-nominated original song "Listen" from the movie Dream Girls. Rumor has it that Papa Dear had a way of insisting on co-writing credits for Beyonce on almost all her songs, even when her input was as minimal as suggesting a hand clap or finger snap on a recording take. Most songwriters, not wanting to anger the powerful Mr. Knowles and craving hits, would reportedly swallow their pride and agree. But apparently Mr. Knowles was out of his depth when he went up against the older-than dirt and scarier-than-hen's-teeth members of the music branch of the AMPAAS. They reportedly taught him a thing or two about treachery when he tried to get his supposedly underserving daughter credit as co-writer.
  8. I'd never heard of Debra Austin. I must admit that I learn something new and have my petty assumptions challenged time I come to these boards. I never knew that New York City Ballet had employed any black female dancers before Aesha Ash and Andrea Long, let alone one during Balanchine's lifetime. Based on having read the anecdotes of several black female dancers, I assumed that City Ballet was/is almost hostile towards black female dancers. And googling Debra Austin led me to discover that she's a ballet mistress with Carolina Ballet - which I had recently been pooh-poohing for being so darned pale. Shame on me.
  9. So, does this mean that the Bolshoi will be his home base and he'll be a guest artist at ABT or does he maintain the title of principal at the Met?
  10. According to this New York Times article, there have been two black female principals in major U.S. companies, Lauren Anderson with Houston Ballet and Tai Jimenez with Boston Ballet. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/06/arts/dance/06kour.html?pagewanted=all Also, Anna Benna Sims along with the previously mentioned Nora Kimball, preceeded Misty as an African American female soloists at ABT. My only reason for starting this thread was to open a discussion as to whether a dancer who fits all the criteria for a position at a major company except the "right" skin color, might be denied a spot because of it.
  11. Michaela DePrince is no more muscular than say, Sara Mearns. Michaela is a size zero.
  12. I'm much less concerned about opportunities for men of color than I am about opportunites for women of color. Particulary those women whose very dark skin makes them stand out more. That's why I mentioned it as an aesthetic issue for some. How to get past the notion that only black women who pass the "brown paper bag test" need apply?
  13. Sorry. Didn't mean to sound as if I was attacking you or anyone. And yes, I know that diversity has been discussed here many, many times before. I was just wondering how do the AD's take the first step to getting past colorism? I worry about young dancers like Michaela DePrince, who shows great promise but who may make some folks uncomfortable because she has dark skin. Will she be told to do modern dance or contemporary ballet even if she has the chops to do classical? Dance Theater of Harlem and Ballet Black have only so many slots.
  14. I don't think the supposed historical settings of ballets matter much when it comes to casting because there has to be such a suspension of disbelief anyway. Dancing spirits? People dying of a broken heart? Murdering people by dancing them to death? Come on! LaBayadere is almost always cast with white dancers. How historically correct is that? Besides, black women and other women of color have been singing lead roles at the world's most prestigeous opera houses for over 50 years and nobody thinks a thing about it. Why? Because people have become accustomed to seeing it. And where do you see the most non-traditional casting of Shakespeare? In the land of his birth. The Brits don't seem to think that you can do damage to Shakespeare with imaginative casting. I can't remeber the last time I've heard of a high profile British production of Romeo and Juliet that didn't have the Montagues and Capulets cast as families of different races.
  15. Let me be clear. This is not an attempt on my part to to reopen the much-discussed topics concerning; the lack of diversity in ballet, whether enough is being done by the classical dance establishment to increase diversity or if diversity should even be a primary concern. I personally believe that increased diversity is happening regardless of what is or isn't done by the powers that be. But I wonder as to how the concept of classical dance corps de ballet unity can be delt with in a multi-cultural world. I know that the corps de ballet of many major companies have many non-white Latinas and Asian women and that a few have black female dancers. But none these women seem to have very dark skin. Surely there are fine classical dancers with all the right stuff to have great careers - technique, musicality, stage presence, work ethic and good attitude - who will nonetheless, be steered to Broadway or modern dance because their skin tone is too many shades away from the supposed ideal color. What was it that Mr. B said was the ideal? Oh yes, the color of a peeled apple. I know the reptilian part of the brain makes more noticable, that which is most different from the whole. But should we still be giving in to such instincts in 2011? From now to the end of time, must a sylphid, a Willi or heck, even a Giselle, always look like a young Nicole Kidman clone?
  16. I have this irrational dislike of City Ballet and just about everyone connected with it. They just seem so darned smug. But the photos and videos for "Ocean's Kingdom" are so freakishly beautiful that I want this project to be successful in spite of myself.
  17. Can there be no middle ground between the total prohibition of online access to certain works and performances by heavy-handed foundations and screwing choreographers and performers out of revenue they've rightfully earned? As a ballet neophyte, I find that all primers on classical dance point to Balanchine as one of the pillars of the art form in the 20th century. I'd like to see some samples of his work but the Balanchine trust won't let me.
  18. Thanks to every person that responded.
  19. If a ballet company has a piece commissioned, who owns the rights to that piece? The company or the choreographer? For instance, since Balanchine was hired to create Theme and Variations for ABT, does that mean ABT doesn't have to pay royalties for the right to dance it? What about other companies? How does that whole thing work?
  20. You'd be surprised at the level of denial surrounding events in The Civil Rights movement. We're two generations removed from the Civil rights era and one thing the controversy surrounding this movie brings to light is the profound ignorance of many people about Jim Crow. Some of this is due to deliberate attempts to rewrite history by reactionary faux historians. The rest is probably due to the fact that to many young people, this stuff is ancient history. Who cares?
  21. I've seen the film twice with different groups of friends. The general consensus? It's entertaining, well-executed, middlebrow fare, the kind of film that The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences routinely honors with a Best Picture nomination. My only objection to The Help is that it is just the latest in a long line of Hollywood civil rights movies that get made only if they have a white protagonist. This has the cumulative affect of making African Americans bit players in narratives they should dominate. In a pungently written Entertainment Weekly essay, novelist Martha Southgate beautifully expressed Hollywood's obsession with white saviors:
  22. I certainly hope there's a lot of jumping. I like jumping. But then,I'm a heathen.
  23. Might Danny Tidwell return to ABT? After all, prodigal son Sascha Radetsky was welcomed back.
  24. Get well soon Mr. Hallberg. I've got tickets to The Bright Stream in Los Angeles on July 14th. Btw, Might Ms. Wells be in the family way?
  25. Has anyone ever gone from Corps De Ballet straight to Principal?
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