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Posts posted by FireDancer

  1. 3 hours ago, Josette said:

    I saw De Sola again last night in Etudes and found her in her element, dancing with radiance and finesse. I particularly appreciate her in the Sylphide section, which can sometimes come off as camp.

    Sasha was beeeautiful in Etudes! And yes, lovely in the Sylphide section which I don't usually enjoy as much. 

  2. 12 minutes ago, volcanohunter said:

    Many years I ago I heard a news story about the English National Ballet banning sun tanning a month before the beginning of the season, because when the dancers put white body makeup on their baked skin, it produced an awful purplish color. 

    There's also the issue of tan (or worse sunburn) marks. These can often linger for months...

  3. 5 hours ago, Mashinka said:

     I once watched a performance of Swan Lake in Marbella, a lot of the dancers had clearly taken advantage of the sun.  No uniformity that night.  Some had a fabulous tan, some had turned red, while the ones that had eschewed the beach looked pasty by comparison.   

    Oops! That's highly surprising... You definitely shouldn't go in the sun around performance times... 

  4. Just now, nanushka said:

    Yes, sorry, just speaking in broad strokes, and thinking most of the more intense/obvious darkening.

    Understood. I just really love that character 😊 Maxim Izmetiev was particularly wonderful with the Mariinsky this fall in Berkeley!


  5. 7 minutes ago, nanushka said:

    and maybe that feels (to those who advocate the use of darkening makeup) more befitting for an unnamed slave or servant character than for a dramatic lead.

    For the record, the lead fakir's name is Magdaveya.

  6. Just now, On Pointe said:

    If what the kids wear is not makeup,  what is it?  I can see that they're wearing dark tights and gloves,  but what about their faces?

    Yes,  some characters have darkened skin in Bayadere.  But not Nikiya,  Gamzatti,  Solor or the Shades.  

    Sorry I was unclear- I was talking about their arms and legs etc I'm not sure about their faces as the picture is too far to tell exactly. 

    The Shades actually have lightened skin, like most corps de ballet roles of the sort (think Swans, Wilis, etc) 

    You can see a corps de ballet member being yelled at for not having enough white powder on in Swan Lake here: 


  7. On 1/16/2020 at 2:58 PM, nanushka said:

    She didn't. I'm pretty sure that was the point.


    That was exactly my point. She could have had an interesting conversation with them and opened their eyes to what the costumes bring up for her and others. And even though the girls have no say about what they wear, they might have become more sensitive about posting pictures and if any are in a position of power or influence later, changed the costumes if it hasn't happened yet.


    On 1/16/2020 at 2:58 PM, nanushka said:

    But as a public figure she is not exempt from criticism, and she has a responsibility to use her very powerful public voice with care 


    On 1/16/2020 at 6:05 PM, Helene said:

    It was an emotional outburst in which she made a blanket statement and tagged the handle of dance students, after which a set of her followers responded vilely.  She did not take on the institution in any specific and meaningful way: she did not mention the institution in her post.  


    5 hours ago, On Pointe said:

    It's hard to do this kind of makeup in ballet because of the sweat factor and because so much of the body is exposed.  But if the Russians see no need to darken the lead ballerinas in Bayadere,  the world wouldn't end if they got rid of the blackface "golliwogs".  

    Other characters definitely have skin-darkening makeup, some very elaborate with Shiva marks on the fakirs. I actually really enjoyed what felt like a very authentic Lead Fakir in the Mariinsky production last fall. Obviously, what the kids wear is not makeup, as I'm sure you already knew.

  8. 5 minutes ago, nanushka said:

    I don't understand why it has to be an either/or.

    The photo that Copeland posted is, in my opinion, disgustingly offensive.

    But I do not think she should have included the girl's IG handle in her post, and I think she should have and could have thought about the reaction it would provoke. (I assume we've all heard stories about what can happen to people who get "picked on" by masses of strangers on social media.)

    It is very possible to share both those beliefs. Misty Copeland doesn't deserve to be either vilified or defended at all costs, in my opinion.


    There was a suicide at the Bolshoi Academy last year- let's hope there's no repeat! 😢

  9. Just now, Tapfan said:

    I'd say that a pretty definitive statement that the controversy wasn't over the wrongness of blackface but the wrongness of supposedly picking on teens. 

    For me, it's about how, in my opinion, Misty handled it poorly for the many reasons I stated in my previous comments.

    I agree that these costumes could be changed without negatively affecting the ballet. In fact, when the Mariinsky was in Berkeley, I enjoyed the D'Jampé girls performing in their Act I costumes with the Golden Idol more than the little kids. 

    I hope the conversation can continue but the way it was started (this as well as the way Berkeley Ballet school refused to wear those costumes at the last minute last fall- what were the company going to do? Make new ones right then and there?) leads me to believe it may be some time before the Bolshoi and Mariinsky are open to even discussing change. I hope I'm wrong as it's an important conversation, but like all sensitive subjects, it needs to be broached  the right way... 

    5 minutes ago, Helene said:

    And it was Copeland who destroyed the impact of her original point by linking to the Instagram of students and not taking on the Bolshoi Ballet.  Had she not done so, her point about blackface would have been the discussion point.  Even if she never says a word publicly, she should be kicking herself for having ruined an opportunity to use her platform and for giving valid ammo to her critics.

    It was gignormously dumb and counter-productive.

    I so agree with all of this.

  10. 11 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

    Russia is not some clueless backwater where people are totally unaware of what goes on elsewhere

    I obviously can't be certain as I don't know these kids personally, but from personal experience, when you're training in these types of school, your whole life is BALLET. The internet has definitely changed the world (case in point, these girls getting harassed like this), but it still may very well be that the girls had no idea the costumes are controversial as that conversation is not part of their reality. And there's no way they would willingly put themselves in the line of fire- why would anyone do so?

    However, imagine receiving a message from a famous dancer wanting to talk to you about your photo... I can only imagine they would have been thrilled!

  11. 11 hours ago, On Pointe said:

    Any number of people could have seen the photo and the Instagram handles without Misty. 

    How many people follow random students of the Bolshoi school?

    2 minutes ago, abatt said:

    I doubt a 14 year old Russian girl has a firm grasp of the history of racism in America, so it is not fair to presume that the child knew that she was posting a "very offensive" photo to a "large chunk of the world."  I know when I was 14 I was not studying the history of Russia.


  12. PLUS, just think about what a great opportunity she had to educate those girls about how seeing these pictures made her feel... And then the ripple effect from that..

    Misty absolutely could have made a difference for the better if she handled it differently. 

  13. 19 hours ago, On Pointe said:

    It's unfortunate that the young dancers got bullied,  but that's on the bullies,  not Misty Copeland.   

    Those girls are old enough to have been warned about a possible reaction.  (Maybe I missed it,  but where did Misty reveal their names?). 

    It definitely is on Misty for having kept the text with all their Instagram handles on her repost, instead of the picture alone. As far as I could tell, all but one have deleted their accounts.

    She could have tried to start a dialogue with the Bolshoi instead of just shaming these kids (and in turn sending the masses to do the same and more- death threats? How insane is that?!) who most likely had no clue those costumes were offensive in another culture. 

  14. 22 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

     like posting offensive photos online


    To the little girls, these pictures are not offensive. They were celebrating that they got to perform in what is most likely their dream company's production. Nothing more, nothing less. There was no ill intent.

  15. You can't take context, culture or history out of a situation. Russia is so different than America, hence this situation can't be handled the same. This was a completely ineffective and uninformed way to try to change the world. 

    If Misty wants to make a difference, she should take some courses in Nonviolent Communication... The way she went about this ensured the other side would not hear her and would respond antagonistically.

    Lastly, including the children's Instagram handles was horribly wrong. She should realize her mistake and apologize but from my understanding, that has not happened.


    For those interested, more about nonviolent communication that speaks right to this:

    NVC is a consciousness based on the intention to create positive connection — recognizing that mutually enriching outcomes will emerge from the quality of the relationships. Rather than be motivated by fear, guilt, or any coercion, people give freely and happily when they feel good about each other and trust that their needs matter to the other person. NVC can help you create these kinds of relationships, personally and professionally.

    NVC recognizes that how we interact with each other is driven by core human motivators also known as universal human needs. By using NVC in our daily lives, we can identify and transform deeply ingrained "violent" communication methods that get in the way of having satisfying relationships (Key Facts About NVC).

    What is Violent Communication?

    The basics of Nonviolent Communication involve expressing ourselves with clarity, compassion, self-responsibility, empathy, and the common good in mind, which is the exact opposite of what violent communication is. Violent communication involves threatening, judging, dehumanizing, blaming, or coercing others in order to get our way in a situation. Violent communication creates misunderstanding and frustration, pain and disagreements (Violent v Nonviolent Communication).

    What violent communication is, in everyday desired relationship terms, is a way of thinking and speaking that gets in the way of the quality of connection for which we are looking. It can also lead to anger, shame, guilt, depression and, in extreme cases, emotional or physical violence.

    Many of us are taught to express our feelings in terms of what another person has "done to us." Unfortunately, we are not taught to take ownership of our feelings and needs in order to ask healthily for only what benefits and is fair to all parties involved.


  16. 25 minutes ago, Leah said:

    It’s controversial because instead of calling out the Bolshoi she specifically targeted a 14 year old Russian girl on Instagram who then had to delete her account and apparently suffered a breakdown because of it. 


  17. 2 hours ago, On Pointe said:

    Who is this person?  His presentation is a textbook example of ineffective communication.  It's work trying to listen to him.

    Agreed entirely on the communication!

    He is someone who never danced but studied teaching later in life. 

  18. I just saw the Mariinsky perform in Berkeley last weekend and their interpretation was very clear.

    The gift is from the Rajah as he tells Aya, the slave, to go get it. She tells Nikiya that it's from Solor. Nikiya is thrilled to have a sign that he still loves her and in that moment, is most likely not thinking further ahead than that hence the "happy dance"... Solor realizes that something is amiss but can't really do anything about it. Meanwhile, Magedaveya has followed Aya and procured anti-venom in anticipation of the snake note which he gives to the High Brahmin. 

    It made perfect sense :)

  19. I'm just fascinated by this stuff... I really do think they had done their homework and if not, it was certainly a divine accident! 💜

    In reading the original 1877 libretto, the Lead Fakir's name was Madhavaya, which has to do with Krishna (mādhava). Krishna's qualities include devotion and love... Apt for a character who tries to help Solor and Nikiya with their love story and is devoted to them. 

    In looking up Nikiya, I found out that the Sanskrit word nikāya translates to Supreme Being (among others- Sanskrit is VERY complex).

    And Hamsati: in Arthur Avalon (Sir John George Woodroffe's pseudonym)'s The Serpent Power, it says "Hamsati is the union of prakṛti and purusha ".

    As per my teacher Christopher Hareesh Walli's book Tantra Illuminated: 

    "prakṛti, sometimes translated as "nature", sometimes as "materiality", really refers to the entire physical universe of matter/energy." (There's a whole lot more on it...)

    "purusha, the knowing subject, the Self, the witness, pure consciousness, the embodied knower of the field, (...) contracted form of the Universal Consciousness. It is individuated consciousness

    I'm a geek, I know 😛

  20. 3 minutes ago, sofiabn said:

    The Brahmin is devoted to God but he has strong feelings for Nikiya, so why not the fakir too?
    And he  tries to save her because he hopes she would come to him!

    Solor, looks like he fears Rajah more than he loves Nikiya, so maybe he wants to get rid of her. After all Gamzatti is beautiful and rich!
    He wouldn't be the first nor the last person that betrays for money and power!

    Well, this is the magic of art. We see the same performance but we have so different thoughts and feelings about it at the end.

    You're right: the High Brahmin is committing a huge "sin" (way too Western of a word but you get my drift) so to speak by having fallen in love with Nikiya as she points out to him. 

    I really don't see the Fakir as loving Nikiya in a non-platonic way. Does anyone else have any thoughts about this? 

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