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Tapfan

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Everything posted by Tapfan

  1. I didn't see Black Swan as reinforcing stereotypes because the Natalie Portman and Winona Ryder characters were clearly outliers. I never got the feeling that the story was implying that all ballerinas are neurotic and sexually repressed. Just these particular ones.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Geez Louise. Seems like NYCB has always been Peyton Place. Just another reason for me to hate 'em.
  12. Yes, it's a huge loss. These last few years, I got the feeling that he felt emotionally disconnected from his own marvelous creation, DTH. All he seemed to talk about or at least be asked about by dance writers, was his time at NYCB.
  13. 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?
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. If the management of ABT is smart, they will get out in front on any potential problems they might have with inappropriate work place behavior. Heck, all companies should be taking a look at acceptable standards of behavior.
  17. The fear of languishing in the corps is not a phenomenon that is unique to ABT. It's a problem for many large and even mid-sized companies. Dancers like free agents in sports, move around much more frequently than in years past. And some like powerhouse soloist Derek Dunn formerly of Houston Ballet, now dancing with Boston Ballet, don't necessarily leave because they are unhappy, but because they want other challenges. Also, I believe as surely as the president loves to tweet, that there are pockets of talent, administrative and programming mediocrity that exist in practically all of the so-called prestige companies. The concept of unyielding artistic brilliance or even uniform excellence is a largely a myth.
  18. I wonder if they'll try to lure Jared Mathews away from Houston Ballet?
  19. Eric Underwood's available. That is of course, if he hasn't quit ballet altogether.
  20. I know he's a bit long-in-the-tooth, but how about Arthur Mitchell as a replacement? That'd shake things up a bit. And considering the company's not so long ago rep for having been weak on the diversity front, it's poetic.
  21. Precious is a beautiful classical dancer. I hope she doesn't get typecast because she's so strong in contemporary.
  22. The people who use Misty's supposedly bad performances as proof that black women can't be great ballet dancers, were going to believe that anyway. Who cares what they think? I'm less fascinated by the crimes against art that Copeland supposedly commits every time she sets foot on stage, than what her mere presence proves. A black woman can pack a concert hall as the central figure in a classical performance art that isn't opera. It may be depressing and vulgar to balletomanes, but the box office power that Copeland and Gilda Squire have unleashed has got most ballet companies at least pretending to care about racial diversity. They actually care enough that some are regularly poaching ballerinas from DTH. I bet Virginia Johnson is both thrilled and extremely annoyed all at once. Not all little girls want to wear the tiara. But many do, including little black girls. That this fact escaped so many in ballet for so many years is very strange. But now they know. For years, ballet people have lamented about the lack of the next big thing that is supposed to wake ballet up from it's doldrums and push it into the future. Who's the new Balanchine? Where's the next Nureyev or Baryshnikov? Where would the next big center of ballet emerge? Would it be in Asia? What if the next big thing in ballet is that none-white people under 50 actually start to care about it? Could that be the thing that "saves" ballet?
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