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Posts posted by Tapfan

  1. You don't have to like Copeland, and you are entitled to your opinions, which, again, are that: opinions.. That doesn't make them facts. There are many knowledgeable people who believe that Copeland has perfectly fine, if not stellar, classical technique, and that her ranch is full and her herd thriving,. (Maybe it's apt then that she's been cast in Rodeo.)

    Given the predominance of full-lengths at ABT, she's easy enough to avoid, if that's your wont. There are plenty of dancers at ABT that I avoid during my visits, but that doesn't make them bad dancers. They just don't interest me. And, given how few performances that any of the leads get in any rep, there's no danger of any one dancer dominating the rep or opening nights, which often happens in smaller regional companies or which happened in the Farrell era because Balanchine could and did.

    Once again, let the church say amen!

  2. What other American joined the Bolshoi (as opposed to guesting) before David? I know Precious Adams was there (can't remember if she's American or British) but I believe she joined after David.

    Precious attended the Bolshoi school. She was never a member of the company.

  3. No, Tapfan

    There are plenty of black ballet dancers now who are more deserving than Copeland. Courtney Lavine is 10x her worth. If she was promoted straight to principal, I would have no doubts as to her ability to dance well. And she would be the politically correct choice that everyone seems to be demanding. Copeland is inept in everything but her marketing.

    As far as defending Copeland by other dancers, she has herself beyond reproach now since she is on TV almost everywhere you look crying martyr. What dancer would shoot themselves in the foot by critiquing her honestly?

    If Lavine is a capable dancer in your eyes, why would you consider her promotion to be a politically correct choice?

    If ballet is this great and true art form that people go on about, then it can't be something that white people own and are benevolently allowing black people to participate in IF they behave themselves in a manner that pleases some of the art's gatekeepers.

    It's wrong to think that Jazz is owned by black people or ballet is owned by white people. Instead, both arts forms belong to anyone who can master or appreciate them.

    Would anyone say that a white musician who made it into say, Wynton Marsalis' Jazz group was a politically correct hire? Or would they assume he must be pretty good to make it in to such an esteemed organization? Yet people with without a trace of irony, will imply that any black female dancer they personally happen to dislike, is someone who is undeserving. Since when did hiring and promoting dancers become like solving a math problem that has one answer? Since when did subjectivity in judging art and artists die?

    And people keep building their arguments on hypothetical situations. Lavine isn't in a position to be promoted to principle. So the point is irrelevant.

  4. Comparing Nureyev to Copeland has to be the most outrageous snippet I've read in a long time. Copeland is nowhere near his league. Nor is she in the same league with old ABT stars such as Gregory, Kirkland, Van Hamel or Makarova.

    And to say that you can't tell excellence from a film clip is false. Just take a look at any clip of the above mentioned dancers than take a look at what Copeland's PR team has released. If anyone claims that can't see the difference, they are lying. Copeland isn't even in the same league as Virginia Johnson who danced a glorious Giselle at Dance Theater of Harlem. But her principal status doesn't count because?

    All of these dancers I,and most people, know from their dancing. I know Copeland mainly by her bellyaching and her naked attempts to force her way into principal status.

    The newspaper of record is just one of the many sources that have said that DTH wasn't and isn't a major company.

    And once again, folks have to go all the way back to a long-retired black female dancer to compare to Misty.

    That's what makes me question how much some ballet fans actually know about classical dancers who happen to black females. Btw, Virginia wants Misty to be promoted and has said so repeatedly.

    Also, way to miss the point. Nobody, not even Misty's staunchest defenders, compared her skills or artistry to Nureyev's.

  5. Copeland has been a guest judge on the reality TV show So You Think You Can Dance.

    I know. I think they all are doing it to advance their careers. I think more ballet people should sell out.

  6. Nothing. Her detractors whom cry the mythical race card only want her dancing, at best, corp roles as a soloist or be relegated to modern works like Calvin Royal.

    I also would be willing to bet a month's salary that Calvin Royal and Courtney Lavine aren't angry at Misty for highlighting ballet's lack of racial diversity. Courtney has done this as well, albeit on a much smaller scale.

    In fact, everything I've read so far, indicates that Misty gets on quite well with her co-workers of ALL colors.

    In fact, in interviews, she comes across as incredibly sweet and cheerful despite knowing about the deep anger and resentment some folks feel towards her.

  7. Tiler and Robbie's engagement/marriage media publicity didn't go on for years; maybe 10 months maximum. But I have to say that by last September I was totally at my limit at hearing about it. "Enough already" was what I was beginning to think. Thankfully, it stopped just around that time.

    Tiler Peck has also been on one of those dance reality TV shows. Nobody in classical ballet goes on those shows for artistic credibility.

  8. Is it really a controversial notion that when it comes to the advancement of black dancers in classical ballet, things are particularly challenging for black women?

    Or do people genuinely believe that them liking Calvin Royal means everything is fine?

    Because every single time Misty is discussed, people imply that liking black male dancers means the substance of their unending criticism of Misty Copeland has to therefore be logical or fair.

  9. Misty got two new lead roles in full length ballets this upcoming season - Juliet and O/O. She also picked up the lead in Rodeo. IN contrast, Stella's only new lead role is Ashton's Cinderella, and Sarah Lane has no new lead parts for this upcoming season (having danced SB and T&V for several years). Based on these facts, I can't agree that McKenzie hasn't treated Copeland differently than her peers at the soloist level. Copeland has gained a great deal of traction in the casting recently compared to the other senior soloist females.

    Misty's been a soloist for eight years. She's been marketing herself aggressively for at least five of those years. If she was was so effective in gaining supposedly undeserved opportunities, shouldn't she have more to show for it?

    It took her 8 years to get Swan Lake and Romeo & Juliet leads. She has never danced leads in Giselle, Don Quixote, Le Corsaire, Manon, Nutcracker, T&V, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, La Sylphide, Gaite Parisienne or practically any of the other ballets in ABT's rep.

    Just what is she stealing from Stella and Sarah?

  10. Racism has nothing to do with it then?

    Not all criticism of President Obama is racially motivated. But some of it most certainly is and unambiguously so. Same with Misty.

    One need only read the comments section of some articles about her to find blatant, unmistakable racism.

    I've never felt Copeland or any other artist is above criticism. Heck, I've criticized her. What I have a problem with is the substance of much of the criticism aimed at her. It's just so over-the-top, IMO.

  11. I'm referring to Macaulay's adoration of Sara Mearns and the fact that Mearns does not have anything like a classic Balanchine body, as well as Tapfan's phrasing "Try telling that to Abrera and Lane fans," of which I'm one.

    I think that people's perceptions are highly subjective, and when one person is making the final decision of (a) whom to promote or (b) whom to praise, that subjectivity is something that cannot be ignored.

    Let the church say, "Amen!"

  12. Glad to hear that qualification, but I'm not sure what else you think would make people out and out hate her. And how you know they do?

    What could make people dislike her? Them feeling that she's hogging attention that they think belongs to someone more deserving.

  13. Thick is NOT a derogatory term. At least not as I use it. Her limbs and torso are not as thin as most Balanchine dancers I've seen. But that doesn't mean she's overweight, out of shape or has an unattractive body.

  14. My point is that, other factors being equal - and you don't know all the other factors, like who else was available and what qualities they had - Balanchine training and a classic Balanchine body are highly important factors in getting hired at NYCB.

    That was my point as well, all things being equal, subjectivity still comes in to play more times than not. Even at sainted NYCB.

  15. Since you haven't seen Copeland dance, what makes you qualified to agree that she deserve promotion? Given how quick people like yourself are to attribute "hatred" and racism to people who don't think she deserves it, what are the chances that people in the ballet world would speak up and disagree? (When does anyone in the ballet world publicly criticize a dancer anyhow?) Johnson isn't the only person with an opinion, and there are people here who see ABT regularly, who have quite possibly seen Copeland more that Johnson has, who disagree.

    Try telling that to Abrera and Lane fans. wink1.gif

    Actually, I've NEVER stated that I thought people who dislike Copeland or her PR tactics are racist. Not once. Misguided, culturally myopic, defensive and over-the-top, yes. Racist, no.

  16. There have been and continue to be plenty of exceptions - dancers with other virtues. But those two things are highly desirable attributes, not incidental factors, in who dances at NYCB. They aren't "subjective" tastes.

    Well do you disagree that different balletomanes can view the same dancer and totally disagree on her worth as a dancer?

    That's my point.

  17. Balanchine training and a classic Balanchine ballerina body are subjective qualifications for New York City Ballet? Wow.

    They must be considering the fact that they have on occasion, hired dancers that weren't trained in the method. Violetta Verdy and Sofiane Sylvie come to mind.

    Sofiane is pretty thick. No way her body is a Balanchine body.

  18. I'm being totally honest when I say that I'd love it if other deserving black female classical dancers were better known. But practically all such women are either in the corps de ballet of major companies ( Precious Adams/ENB, Michaela DePrince/DNB, Olivia Boisson/NYCB, Courtney Lavine/ABT, Kimberly Braylock/SFB and Christina Spigner/MCB) and are thus out of the limelight, dance with regional companies which don't get much national attention (Kayla Rowser/Nashville Ballet, Katelyn Addison and Gabriel Savatto/Ballet West, Whitney Huell/Kansas City Ballet) dance in companies with no dancer rankings ( Dara Holmes/Joffrey) or dance with companies that critics don't take seriously any longer like DTH.

    It's practically impossible to follow the careers of these women.

  19. Meritocracy in ballet is largely subjective. That's something that's been discussed at length on this very forum. When I asked why NYC Ballet didn't have more dancers of East Asian descent when many other major companies did, nobody dared suggest that there were no qualified east Asian dancers available. Instead they pointed to other factors like lack of Balanchine-specific training, or things like height and a company's specific needs at the time. In other words, at the elite level, the smallest things that have nothing to do with ability or race or ethnicity, can land you in or out off a company.

    Also the same people who are quick to hold up Virginia Johnson as a great talent and a font of wisdom on many things concerning ballet, conveniently ignore the fact that she has said repeatedly that she thinks Misty deserves to be promoted to principle based on her ability NOT her color. Why is this woman who is thought to be so wise about other things in ballet, so wrong about Misty?

    And VJ isn't the only person in classical dance circles who feels Copeland deserves to be promoted. Yet Misty's haters speak as if their own particular opinion of her qualities as a dancer are universally held and the only opinions that matter.

    Finally, if Stella or Sarah were so vastly superior in every way to Copeland as some folks continually maintain, none of Copeland's relentless self-promotion could possibly hold them back because the cream always rises.

    Sarah even had her own PR opportunity to exploit with the whole Black Swan movie dance double controversy. That was surely enough good publicity to give the AD a chance to promote Lane if he so desired. Yet despite all Lane's supposed superior skill and the publicity she got for not being properly credited for her work in that film, she still wasn't promoted. Instead , Isabella Boylston sailed past Misty, Stella and Sarah to the principle ranks. But for some reason, only Copeland is resented and blamed for Stella and Sarah's lack of career advancement.


    If Misty and her several-years-old PR juggernaut was as all powerful as her detractors maintain, why has all this time passed without her being promoted? If all this publicity was for no reason other than to get her to the "undeserved" principle rank, then she's definitely wasted her money.

  20. Why do people keep bringing up black men? Liking black male dancers doesn't mean you notice or like black female dancers. It's easier for black men to make it as classical dancers because there's always a shortage of men. Also, brothers are helped by the fact that black men are associated with great athleticism and hyper-masculinity.

    And Tai Jiminez has been retired for several years. That's what I mean when I say that black women aren't even in the conversation about classical ballet. People always have to go back several years to some long-retired ballerina to even speak on the subject. What about today?!

  21. I just want to add that few women period are in senior positions in major ballet companies. Lordes Lopez, who I believe is Cuban, is a notable exception. She was an amazing dancer in NYCB and is AD of Miami City Ballet.

    I don't know what you mean by overpraising Virginia Johnson. I've been watching dance for a long time, saw her dance and don't think overpraising is possible. She was a wonderful artist in every way.

    In my opinion, Misty Copeland is not half the dancer that Johnson or Debra Austin were. believe that that is the dissonance the many ballet fans feel. There is the feeling that Copeland's fame is coming from her PR push not from her dancing. If she is promoted I to principal dancer at ABT, as I am sure she will be, there will always remain doubt as to why.

    DTH at the moment is not a first or even second class company. I saw them recently in New York. I wouldn't be dismissive of them, but the truth is that they have a lot of building to do.

    I have no trouble believing that there are and were other black women who are just as if not more deserving of being made principle as Misty.

    But Jackie Robinson wasn't generally believed to be the best black player available to integrate Major League Baseball. He was one of the best but not the best. The absolute best was probably Satchel Page. However, Robinson did have advantages that other black players didn't have. He was a college graduate AND he was lucky enough to be on the minor league farm team of an owner who was ready to take the big step of integrating the sport.

    Somebody has to be the first. And while Misty may not be to everyone's liking, who exactly would be? That superballerina that everyone loves doesn't exist in ANY color.

    We'll all be dead waiting on that woman to come along.

    Not liking Misty is one thing.

    What I don't understand is those ballet fans who behave as if every principle female dancer was as skillful a dancer as Meryl Streep, Maggie Smith Or Judy Dench are as actresses, while implying that Misty is on par with Megan Fox or January Jones.

    That dog don't hunt.

  22. I just want to add that few women period are in senior positions in major ballet companies. Lordes Lopez, who I believe is Cuban, is a notable exception. She was an amazing dancer in NYCB and is AD of Miami City Ballet.

    I don't know what you mean by overpraising Virginia Johnson. I've been watching dance for a long time, saw her dance and don't think overpraising is possible. She was a wonderful artist in every way.

    In my opinion, Misty Copeland is not half the dancer that Johnson or Debra Austin were. I believe that that is the dissonance the many ballet fans feel. There is the feeling that Copeland's fame is coming from her PR push not from her dancing. If she is promoted to principal dancer at ABT, as I am sure she will be, there will always remain doubt as to why.

    DTH at the moment is not a first or even second class company. I saw them recently in New York. I wouldn't be dismissive of them, but the truth is that they have a lot of building to do.

    It's not that I think Virginia isn't worthy of praise. Quite the contrary. She was an extremely talented and important artist.

    It's just that I agree with the premise put forth by Ms. Howard in her article. More than one major black classical artist can exist at a time. Yet in an effort to prove how free they are from racism, many people praise her as if she was the only one. The fact that Virginia is usually the only one mentioned when talking about black ballerinas who aren't Misty and Michaela, calls in to question how much the so-called informed fans actually know about female classical dancers who happen to be black.

  23. I feel so cheerfully smug because I actually had heard of many the people listed on the roll call. wink1.gif Yay!

    But gosh, did it ever take some effort to acquire this knowledge.

    Information online about black ballerinas past and present, is sparse indeed.

    When I stated on this forum that I was emotionally invested in Misty's career because she was so high profile and there was so little information out there about other black ballerinas, someone sweetly, and helpfully, mentioned the names of other black ballerinas.

    Fortunately, I already knew that other black ballerinas exist. I know where most of them are and where they've been. But since few if any are in senior positions in major companies, it's next to impossible to follow their careers as artists.

    As mentioned previously on this thread, dance writers covering ballet focus mainly on the worthiness of choreographers and the performances of principle dancers.

    The only times black women are mentioned within a ballet context, is as a problem to be solved.

    And since the topic deals with the thorny issue of race, too many balletomanes rush to prove how color doesn't matter to them by overpraising Virginia Johnson as if she is the only black ballerina to exist before Misty Copeland.

    Virginia Johnson is praised by balletomanes, the way that Prince and Michael Jackson were overpraised in the 1980's by white music critics. Excessive praise was heaped on those two because many white, male, music critics who found the time to cover the most marginal white indie bands, couldn't be bothered to find out about or care about any other black artists who were doing great work at the time.

    But they avoided the label of being culturally myopic or heaven forbid, "racist" by wetting their pants over everything the self-proclaimed "King of Pop" did. (Until they turned on him for being excessively weird.)

    Some ballet folks are that way about Virginia. Liking her excuses their ignorance about any other black dancers.

    As for DTH, their coverage by dance critics is spotty and mostly dismissive.

  24. Re: the Taylor interview:

    I know they need money to keep the company afloat, but it really makes me sad that it seems to be more about the money than the art. The ballet world should not revolve around Osipova.

    I believe that ABT may finally have some potential superstars in the pipeline who will make them less dependent on imported talent.

    Aran Bell that engaging little towhead from the First Position documentary is in the ABT studio company along with Prix de Laussanne runner up Garegan Pogossian.

    Both these two have star quality written all over them.

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