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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    former ballet dancer and former ballet teacher
  • City**
    Los Angeles
  • State (US only)**, Country (Outside US only)**
  1. The mystery about the Kremlin Ballet is solved: "Now, Womack is rehearsing with the Kremlin Ballet in the heart of Moscow and is currently negotiating a contract, she said." http://www.statesman.com/news/news/local/westlake-native-leaves-bolshoi-ballet-amid-scandal/ncJph/
  2. It may not be unseemly but, personally, I find it disturbing. The initiator, organizer, or co-organizer of a charity auction has plenty of opportunity to contribute to the cause when everything is said and done. So why participate in the actual auction? To push up the prices, of course, I understand that, especially as it is for a good cause. But again, this may not be unseemly but I find it disturbing.
  3. The teacher in question is Vasily Vorokhobko, a repetiteur at the Bolshoi Ballet, and she began raising money for his cancer treatment in September, before any of the brouhaha surrounding her departure. https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/y353/vasily-steponovich-vorokhobko-cancer-drive?utm_source=giveforward&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=supporter_thank_gift&hid=2602341&cid=2294021 Thank you very much for clearing this up. But when I look at this auction now http://www.forvasily.cloudandvictory.com/ and see that Joy Womack bids on several of the items, even bought one of them, - the Bloch Gift Certificate -, then I'm getting confused again...
  4. I am another one who finds the "beloved Russian husband" remark very confusing. When did this happen? The last thing that I read about this marriage matter was in Elizabeth Kiem's September 20, 2013 article THE BOLSHOI IN THE DARK. http://www.themorningnews.org/article/the-bolshoi-in-the-dark And the passages therein that refer to Womack are as follows: Also, is it now a fact that Joy Womack joins the State Kremlin Ballet or is it still a rumor that she will neither confirm nor deny? The only thing that seems quite certain is that her name is mentioned now in almost every article that refers to the Dmitrichenko trial/verdict/sentence - not the kind of PR a young dancer needs. And according to her twitter account, she is currently in the US and will stay here for another week. So let's keep our eyes open for TV interviews and multi-page reports in high-gloss magazines. In any case, from what I know about PR, her new Facebook page gives the impression that a professional worked on that or at least advised her. The chapter Bolshoi appears almost closed, the pictures show Joy now with little dogs and little children and her main mission in the world - for now - is to raise money for a cancer-ridden teacher. These are all very smart moves. That they are also quite "transparent" is a different story.
  5. One would think so. It seems as if she was willing to take what she could get, and when she had it, she wanted to fight for more. Which is always a mistake because a contract is a contract, no matter how bad it is. By the way, does anyone know whether the Bolshoi pays for the pointe shoes of their dancers? Because if they do, this adds a tremendous value to the scarce salary considering that a dancer like Womack would need three pairs per week.
  6. I cannot imagine that Joy Womack's problems within the Bolshoi Company have ever had to do with her technical skills. As much as the Bolshoi Academy may enjoy to collect tuition from their foreign students, the school's first and foremost priority has always been - and in my opinion, will always be - to produce extraordinary dancers. I can imagine that each and every girl that graduates from this academy would be capable of awing an audience with her brilliant technique, if she were given a chance to do so, as Womack was in the Kennedy Center event. I mean, the Vaganova Academy has this 10-year-old, Lada Sartakova, who is able to do 32 double fouettés en pointe. Certainly awesome (and scary!) but not art. And I think Womack's problems were of artistic nature. On the one hand, a 19-year-old girl cannot be expected to be a ballet artist on stage, but on the other hand, this has to be expected from a 19-year-old who wants to dance solo parts on the Bolshoi stage. And the responsible parties that chose the soloists for available roles don't have much patience and I don't blame them for that. They have seen 1.234 Paquita renditions this year alone and as one of my teachers pointed out to me when I was a young dancer: "Picture a ballet director as an arrogant old gentleman from the High Society, who has seen it all, knows it all, and has all the money, all the experience and all the knowledge a person can have. Thank the gods if he doesn't yawn while you dance." And yet, time and again, it happens. That arrogant fictional person sees Paquita number 1.235 and suddenly, he jumps from his seat and is delirious with delight. Not because of beautifully shaped feet, wonderful extension or perfect port de bras (he has seen that 1.234 times before) but because of something else - IT. And IT is something different, something that moves and touches him, something beyond words. In my opinion, Womack was still lacking this IT factor during her time with the Bolshoi and by asking for solo parts instead of trying to find her place in the corps, she forced people to take a look at her that disappointed them because it was too early for that look.
  7. 1. She is criticized for having pursued (being advised to pursue?) a bad, high profile, (risky?) social media pr strategy, which backfired, and now you suggest she follow a standard Hollywood pr strategy, by going to rehab? 2. By the way, rehab for what? Having had childhood dreams? Growing up? Moving on? Giving up a dream? Not buying the hype? That is not an addiction. 3. I am sure after you suggest that she pursue a pr advised rehab period, the criticism of her credibility for going to rehab would follow. My rehab remark was meant as a joke. (And NO: I am not insinuating that Joy Womack was caught in doing something that harms her public image, this statement refers exclusively to the aforementioned actors, singers, politicians, etc.) These people do not suffer from addictions and when asked by media outlets what the treatment is for, the answer is "an undisclosed condition". The reason for such a rehab stunt is to get out of the public eye for a while and to reinvent a new public persona. What follows after rehab, is a huge media bash with a big public apology for the behavior in the past, a heartfelt request to not mention these dark times anymore, and a new beginning. And as much as you may disagree, this strategy might have worked for Womack (better than feeding more international newspapers with her story, today it is THE AUSTRALIAN). Now it is too late for that. But after the initial Izvestia article and the reaction from the Bolshoi, she could have come home to the States, back to her parents and back to her old ballet school, just for a little while. Most of the world would have felt a lot of compassion for a young woman who was so disappointed that she suffered a nervous breakdown and said things that she deeply regrets. But Womack chose to tour Russia and give further interviews. Stating in the latest version that "I want to become a world-class ballerina and I'll find new barriers to break."
  8. A little while ago, someone asked the question whether Joy Womack was the only one in her class that was hired by the Bolshoi in 2012. The answer is no. There were two other girls, Anastasia Denisova and Alexandra Rakitina, in her class. They are still with the Bolshoi, in the corps, and if I understood a French article correctly that I read at the time, these other two girls were invited by the Bolshoi to join the company after graduation, while Womack had to go through a regular audition process to secure her spot. And this may be the reason why the Bolshoi now says that she was hired because she was "persistent".
  9. Yes, Womack is her worst enemy. If she were a young Hollywood wannabe actress, this would be the perfect time for her publicist to announce that she is entering rehab for delusions of (ballet) grandeur. Yesterday, the Daily Mail UK published a big and colorful article with the headline "First American at the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet leaves claiming she was told to pay $10,000 bribes just for the smallest roles". Only a few hours later, they published a correction, in which the word "leaves" was replaced with "QUITS", in capital letters. One can only wonder who found it so important to get this word replaced. Also yesterday, the New York Times published a correction in regard to their Womack article http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/22/pageoneplus/corrections-november-22-2013.html?_r=0 finally pointing out that "she was one of the first Americans — not the first — to join the Bolshoi after graduating from its training academy in Moscow" This was high time because I have been reading for years that there were other Americans before her at the Academy who kept quiet because they didn't want to make a big fuss over this. Yes, she should go back to the barre and reassess her abilities and her goals and learn humility. I find it very sad when you call yourself "A dancer for Jesus" and always mention your faith but use this in the way of "As He is FOR me, who dares to be AGAINST me" - but that's another story. In my very personal opinion, Womack's big dream collapsed within two minutes and she is unwilling to accept this fact. She started her first season with the Bolshoi in September of 2012 as a corps member who was promised to get the chance to dance a solo part. After rehearsals, the Bolshoi opened the new season in November, and on December 31, 2012, Womack got her solo chance with the Spanish Doll in The Nutcracker. And with this performance, it went all down the drain. She claims she did well, even offering the world a triple fouetté where only a double was required. But this was not what mattered. The PERFORMANCE mattered, her dancing. And she must have failed in the eyes of those responsible. Again, in my very personal opinion, this was the moment when Womack should have woken up. But she didn't. And she still hasn't. And this cannot be excused with a still not fully developed frontal lobe. Dancers are used to having fans from a very young age. Being the best in your class at your local ballet school makes you the idol for the little ones that dream of dancing like you. This can become an addiction and it seems to be one in Womack's case. So, maybe, going to "rehab" is not such a bad idea...
  10. You cannot accuse someone of a crime unless you can PROVE that it was committed. And she cannot prove that bribes were given and accepted. I am not accusing anyone of a crime. I don't think she accused anyone of a crime. I think she said she left because she did not want to become involved in paying for roles. which she was advised she had to do. She said she was told by the AD to find out how to play the game. She apparently did not feel it was worth it. She does not look like she is interested in accusing anyone of anything. You do not accuse anyone of a crime. But she did by saying that she quit because she didn't want to pay for roles. And it has been established by now that this was not an out-of-context statement to Izvestia. She is elaborating on the claim in the New York Times, the L.A. Times, etc. by mentioning a case of a Mercedes in exchange for a role. But can she prove this? No, this is just hearsay. And even the hearsay is hearsay. But the statement is the allegation of a crime.
  11. You cannot accuse someone of a crime unless you can PROVE that it was committed. And she cannot prove that bribes were given and accepted.
  12. This is an extremely wise statement! Deep inside I am already waiting for the news that Womack has signed a multi-million-dollar contract with an American publishing house for the tell-all tale "Shattered Swan" or that CBS will give her the lead in a made-for-television movie where she will walk in the final scene into the Siberian ice desert. Does anyone know whether there is any credibility to the claim that the Kremlin Ballet is interested in her? It must have a reason why she is neither confirming, nor denying a possible contract with them.
  13. How does it not "fit"? It just means that she failed as a corps member, and should have been let go. It is entirely believable. Then she would just have been a fired dancer who did not have skills to dance in the corps, and was not good enough to beat the competition (through gamesmanship or talent) to dance as a soloist. If they had not threatened her publicly, and privately, then she would not have felt a need to seek protection herself or warn others. Her statements that her legs were too high and that she danced with too much emotion and therefore did not fit into the corps but wasn't given solo parts either, don't make sense. Dancers who dance at this level control their bodies. If her legs had not been high enough for the corps, this would have been a different story because it might have taken a lot of practice to adjust them. But she claims her legs were too high. So she could have put them lower and could have taken the emotion down a notch. But apparently she didn't. So basically, she didn't want to fit in, just participate to show that she was the natural born soloist.And in what respect do her ongoing interviews to the international media help or warn anyone? As far as I know - and please correct me if I am wrong - the Bolshoi is a government-run institution. Giving and accepting bribes is a crime punishable by jail time. We can sit back and believe that the Bolshoi isn't taking Womack's allegations seriously enough to make any further comments, but I fear that this is far away from the truth. I can imagine that they are running an internal investigation, which will have career-ending and life-altering consequences on people we will never hear about. They will just get fired so that the administration can say: We took care of the problem. And it remains to be seen how that same administration will deal with Womack. She is accusing people of felonies without offering evidence, without giving names and examples, just smearing an entire institution and a group of former colleagues and walking away as the victim whose dreams were dashed.
  14. I agree 100% with swanchat and with so many others who are posting here. I have been watching Joy Womack's journey for the past four years, in the beginning not so much because I wanted to but because I live in Los Angeles. And as she was born here, the local mainstream media was reporting on her, in the papers as well as on television. As a former ballet dancer and a former ballet teacher I found this enormous attention that she received quite dangerous because it added so much unnecessary pressure. Being marketed as "the first ever" with the typical "the sky is the limit"-dreams before even starting your studies at the Olympus of classical ballet can backfire. And it sure did. When the so-called scandal first broke last week, I had high hopes that Womack had never given the interview to Izvestia but had confided in a friend who had leaked the story to the press. I should have known better. As someone pointed out so eloquently in this forum, she is a professional when it comes to creating her own stardom through social media, as so many people choose to do nowadays. In the meantime, it has become clear that she did not only give the initital interview but she continues to talk to the press elaborating on individual aspects. What consequences will this have on the next girl that GETS to dance a solo part on the Bolshoi stage? Will she be asked how much she paid for it or will the question be even worse? How will Womack's latest statements in the L.A. Times affect the teacher she allegedly respects so much? Will he keep his job or will he suffer the consequences for having a private conversation with a student that betrayed his candor by offering the contents of this conversation to the international media? There is corruption and injustice at the Bolshoi Ballet - of course, there is. It's a theatre. Show me any theatre in the world where corruption and injustice do not exist. These places are crammed with people that feel overlooked or ignored because they do not have the right connections or not enough money. But fact is that ballet is also an industry with experts who spot exceptional talent where the untrained (and even a very trained) eye can only see a moving body. And the Bolshoi will not overlook a potential superstar that was grown in their own factory. They had three years to watch Womack's development. If they had seen something in her that required immediate promotion to ensure that she didn't leave for another company, they would have promoted her and this with a loud bang in the U.S. media. One more thing: She begged to be given the lowest corps contract but at the same time she put her legs too high and did her steps with too much emotion? This doesn't fit together. The dancing of the corps is based on the abilities of its weakest link, only this will create unison. You cannot fit into a group if you try to stick out. And those who have never learned to follow, will hardly ever be able to lead - that's at least what teachers used to say when I was a young dancer. I am sure that I am not alone in saying that I feel deeply sorry for Joy Womack, not because of what happened to her but because of how she handled what happened to her. After that, one can only hope that there is a ballet director out there who will risk to hire her. As far as I know, as the winner of the fairly new Asian Grand Prix ballet competition, she joined Ruslan Nurtdinov's production of "Virtuosos of the World Ballet" and is currently touring Russia with renditions of the Black Swan and Auber's Grand Pas Classique. This is a wonderful opportunity but not a solution for her career. And a far cry from the Bolshoi stage.
  15. I am a former ballet dancer and a former ballet teacher who was blessed with daughters who inherited the turnout and the arches from their father and not from me so that ballet was never in the cards. But life is cruel, as we all know, and so I got a granddaughter now with the body and the passion for ballet. So I am watching (and trying to make sense of) the ballet world around me that has changed so much over the past thirty years...
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