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Posts posted by Tapfan

  1. 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.

  2. 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. :unsure:

    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?

  3. 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.

  4. This is actually a very contentious issue, in the most notable cases such as Balanchine the choreography is actually part of a licensed trademark and copyrighted and belongs to the Balanchine trust and foundation, they release DVDs or excerpts to promote the work but the revenue collected from the work goes to further the work and cause of NYCB, the Balanchine Trust and Foundation. There's much on the internet but technically the work of Ashton, Macmillan and every modern choreographer who has set up or has a foundation set up to protect the rights and reproduction of their art and the format of their choreography are completely within their right to ensure that illegal reproduction and distribution of their work doesn't take place. Only the Balanchine trust is absolutely ruthless in ensuring unauthorised reproduction of the work, and while I can see the argument that putting videos into the public domain on sharing sites does potentially bring ballet to a wider audience (and I say potentially as no one without an interest in ballet is likely to look at these videos) the fact remains that authorised DVDs do give revenue directly to the performers, the choreographers company, the choreographers foundation. Indeed why should it be uncool to share films, music etc via illegal sharing sites yet ballet is fine?

    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.

  5. 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?

  6. I don't know who would deny this - there is a monument to Dr. King on the National Mall, not LBJ.

    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?

  7. Has anyone seen it yet? Would be particularly interested to hear from anyone who's read the book as well.

    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:

    The Help underscores the failure of pop culture to acknowledge a central truth: Within the civil rights movement, white people were the help.

    The architects, visionaries, prime movers, and most of the on-the-ground laborers of the civil rights movement were African-American. Many white Americans stood beside them, and some even died beside them, but it was not their fight — and more important, it was not their idea.

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