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bluejean

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About bluejean

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    former dancer, teacher, balletomane
  • City**
    Houston
  • State (US only)**, Country (Outside US only)**
    TX

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  1. bluejean

    Culturally Sensitive Character Dances

    Thank you for sharing your perspective, Traveling Ballerina! Your story led me to https://www.yellowface.org/choreography where people seem to be pondering the same questions I am. The website gives some interesting historical perspective and encourages companies to reconsider the choreography, makeup, and costumes used for the Chinese variation. There are more questions asked than answer, I feel, but they do post a video of the San Francisco Ballet version to demonstrate how Chinese can be done with less stylized makeup and movements. The suggestion on the site is that we must understand the difference between between "caricature and character," which seems wise. I can certainly now understand how the use of a particular style of makeup might be offensive to some. And yet, I have more questions than answers. I find myself thinking back to years and years of dancing Spanish, using eyeliner to draw spit curls onto my face per my company's direction. Did some consider that offensive? I've also performed Arabian a number of times, with greatly exaggerated eye makeup in an attempt to appear the true "Arabian Princess." Was that an offensive choice? I'm unsure. This isn't an ethnic issue, but what about the makeup and movements used to "age" dancers playing older characters? I'm thinking of the grandparents in The Nutcracker. I, myself, was cast as Berthe (Giselle's mother) and Cinderella's Step Mother in my late teens, during a time of injury and being unable to dance other roles. I remember being coached to use makeup to give myself wrinkles. Was that offensive to some? I'm unsure of that also. I have more questions than answers, but surely this will become an ongoing discussion in the ballet/opera/broadway worlds where, in a sense, we are always creating a caricature of someone.
  2. I just read this article, which was mentioned on the NYCB board: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/13/arts/dance/nutcracker-chinese-tea-stereotypes.html?action=click&module=Well&pgtype=Homepage&section=Dance and it's got my wheels turning. I've never found the highly stylized makeup, costume, or "pointy finger" used in the NYCB version (and many others) to be insensitive or inappropriate. In fact, I have considered them an important part of the ballet, though perhaps only because I've seen very few versions (maybe none) that don't include them. I don't find the stylized movements/costumes/makeup of the Arabian, Russian, and Spanish variations offensive either. But I understand that others feel differently. I'm curious about the future of the many treasured classical ballets that contain dances, or roles, based on particular ethnicities. Do people feel that other ballets are in need of similar "toning down," which was the phrase used in the article? I'm wondering about La Bayadere, Le Corsaire, Swan Lake, Raymonda, off the top of my head, but feel certain there are others that might trigger such feelings? Is the solution to make all characters in a ballet ethnically ambiguous? How does a production best celebrate a particular country or ethnicity without offending anyone? I have tried to be careful and respectful with this post, while asking questions that come from genuine curiosity. I hope my words will be read that way.
  3. bluejean

    Nutcracker 2018

    Posting this with caution, as I know emotions are strong on such topics. But I've never found the highly stylized makeup, costume, or "pointy finger" used in the NYCB version (and many others) to be insensitive or inappropriate. In fact, I have considered them an important part of the ballet, though perhaps only because I've seen very few versions (maybe none) that don't include them. I don't find the stylized movements/costumes/makeup of the Arabian, Russian, and Spanish variations offensive either. But I understand that others feel differently. I do wonder about the future of all character roles in classical ballets, but perhaps that's fodder for a new topic elsewhere on the board. Looking at the before/after pictures posted in the article, I find the new costume and lack of characterized makeup to be dull. But that's just me and as I said, I understand others feel strongly that these changes were needed.
  4. bluejean

    Sara Mearns Weds Josh Bergasse

    Agreed on the lovely wedding dress! I'm scratching my head over this line in the NYT, though: The groom’s previous marriage ended in divorce. I've never seen the like in a wedding announcement. Is this type of pronouncement common, and just something I've missed?
  5. bluejean

    promotions 2018

    I so agree! It saddens me to think management might overlook someone who can and should be promoted (my personal opinion about Laracey), simply because his or her career might only span a few more years. If it's deserved, it's deserved.
  6. bluejean

    New York City Ballet Fall Season

    I hated to miss this. I'm sure they were a little sentimental, as you say, since Tiler mentions on her Instagram that this is the first of their ballets to say goodbye to before Joaquin retires.
  7. bluejean

    New York City Ballet Fall Season

    Thank you, DC Export! I think I should have clarified: it seems that promotions, other than apprentice to corps, have stalled. But again, that might just be my perception.
  8. bluejean

    New York City Ballet Fall Season

    I take that to mean that apprentices have a certain time-frame in which to prove themselves, and thus be promoted to the corps, or not? It seems that promotions have stalled since Martins left, or is that only my perception?
  9. I'm still new here and hoping this post is acceptable. I noticed and am pondering Sterling Hytin's comment on Ramasar's last post. I believe Ramasar's account is still public-facing, and thus, okay to reference? Another user left a comment on the post, challenging Hyltin and Kowroski on their "public support" of Amar. Hytlin responds: I absolutely understand your sentiment, @(user) and hold young girls everywhere in my thoughts in all my actions. It's my duty to do so. However, there is too much hate and quickness to convict in this world. Part of being a role model for youth is also showing support when someone is actually trying to take responsibility. I did not "like" or comment on his previous post because there was nothing that went in the right direction in regards to acknowledgement or apology. Part of being a role model is teaching compassion when it is appropriate to do so in order to promote healing and kindness in general. And, yes, there is plenty that the general public doesn't know regarding this horrendous situation. https://www.instagram.com/p/Bn1VElYAjUE/?taken-by=ramastar81
  10. I feel the same. It's not for the squeamish. I'm heartsick for the women involved, and heartsick for us as ballet fans.
  11. bluejean

    Saying Hello

    Greetings! I'm new here, and have enjoyed reading the posts about many of my favorite companies. I figured I would join the conversation!
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