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Helene

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About Helene

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  • Birthday January 1

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    Avid balletgoer/BA! Admin
  • City**
    Seattle
  • State (US only)**, Country (Outside US only)**
    WA

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  1. [Admin message] If you have a problem with a subject, use the report button, and the Moderators will consider it. Do not discuss the discussion. Also, when dancers are leading their everyday lives and not making social appearances or posting to social media, aside from benign observations like "Saw him shopping at Safeway*", that belongs to dancers leading their everyday lives. *Does Safeway still exist? [/Admin message]
  2. What a great photo! (And a glimpse into what else was playing in dance in May 1947.)
  3. Since dancers at NYCB are on short-term contracts, the only determination they had to show was not offering him a new contract. Not exactly a hard bar.
  4. Heal quickly, @canbelto!
  5. Dancers with jobs who look like their kids. That includes dancers chosen by the choreographer, like with Merrill Ashley in the Verdy role in Emeralds.
  6. This is not at all surprising. Based on decades of reading dancer narratives, there seem to be four ways that dancers get training, from early training before they even qualify for elite training: 1. At least one of their parents is a dance teacher, often in their own studio, and the dancers grow up in the studio. If they take to it, they get at least their early dance education there. 2. Their parents write checks. It can be from disposable income, or the parents can be taking out second and third mortgages and/or doing second or third jobs or maxxing out their credit cards to write those checks. They may be supporting two households so that their children can have elite training. 3. They and/or their parents barter: clean the studio, like one PNB soloist did, as the family, raised by a single mom, was living at the poverty level; make costumes; do maintenance,; re-finish the floors; serve as the receptionist; help teach younger children, or if they are skaters, not dancers, ride the zamboni. 4. They find a sponsor or teacher who sees something in them and is willing to subsidize them. One found Copeland, but what is unusual about her story is that she learned to dance at one of the comparatively few recreational ballet programs. Many kids have the option to join the recreational swim team or play on a Little League team, or play intramural basketball, or join the school band or chorus or, depending on age, the math or chess team or high school football or volleyball team, public activities where talent and persistence can be spotted or even scouted. Almost all kids who learn ballet at recreational levels do so at a school, where there is tuition. There are some parents who will do whatever it takes to help their kid fulfill his or her dream; for many that's a huge sacrifice. There are others who assess things differently, and come to a different conclusion when decisions are based on taste and aesthetics, and those decisions are staring them in the face every time they look at a company roster on the internet.
  7. Dance is by no means unique in this discussion of diversity: it happens in all art forms and all individual sports, as well as in team sports where elite participation costs thousands of dollars in which to participate, It is happens all the time in education, where tracking into elite colleges has similar "feeder" systems to ballet, and where, recently, there have been a plethora of articles discussion the number of legacy students and/or students whose parents make huge donations who are admitted to the most elite colleges and universities, and how as little as 25% would be accepted on their own. The child makes no decision on its privilege or skin color, but the people who make the decisions about whether to accept children into elite training and who invest in them with attention, do. The children aren't the decision-makers who are looking at them through their own lens. They are relying on the same people making the same decisions before them, and they and their parents invest in the training, often based on the odds, and at least until a company is willing to foot the bill, a place where affirmative action is primarily on the side of boys. This isn't solely about race: it can be about physique, like the students who are signaled that they would be great modern dancers, height, or a number of other factors. But race is there, and it's a huge elephant in the room: when Dance Theatre of Harlem, one of the country's elite companies, closed its doors, very, very few dancers were hired into other US companies, despite their experience and their elite training and coaching by white Europeans, Karel Shook and Tanaquil Leclercq.
  8. It is almost always stressful when you can no longer rely upon your own privilege as a given, and that applies to far more than ballet. And I see demand as less of "more non-white dancers" as "dump the preconceptions that close the doors on anyone who isn't white." Among men, particularly when there were fewer men, there has been more diversity out of necessity, although "more" is measurable differently by different companies, countries, and times. Acosta, famously, was encouraged to leave Cuba, and his mentor gave him the example of a tremendous artist in Cuba who earlier was not given his due because he, too, was a black Cuban. I am heartened that my home company, Pacific Northwest Ballet, is looking more and more like the community in which it performs. And the talent from which to choose is extraordinary.
  9. In the PNB version, Bathilde seeks out the mourning Albrecht in the woods at the end of the ballet. I always think of this as the Forgiveness Sandwich. Depending on the person in the middle, not always an easy place to spend your days.
  10. Sadly, no. In modern and contemporary dance companies, at least in the last decade, and in contemporary productions of opera, for villains, baldness (or shaved head) is acceptable. But in ballet and for romantic leads in opera, shallowness rules. But I guess everyone owes it to their children to have those photos around, to counter all of the kid photos parents use to embarrass those children.
  11. Liebeslieder Walzer, Symphony in C, Union Jack, Episodes, and, as Arlene Croce put it, "the one I'm watching."
  12. Even though I think the Farrell sections are the weakest* in Union Jack. it is in my top five favorite Balanchine ballets, and I've been thrilled to read reports about it. *In my opinion, the first is too soft to follow Macdonald of Sleat, which should only be followed by a complete change, and the music was used better in the short clip we have from The Figure in the Carpet, and the second because, while Balanchine was endlessly fascinated by Farrell's vamping, I think it's a yard (or two) too long.
  13. If I am remembering correctly, Balanchine choreographed one of the first pas de trois women on Russell, but she danced one of the four women who rounded out the ensemble. Here's the downloadable spreadsheet that includes week two casting: Agon_Carmina 19_09_25.xlsx
  14. According to this article in Vogue, it was an opening fundraiser gala and was attended by https://www.ft.com/content/865b72ee-dde9-11e9-b8e0-026e07cbe5b4 Some of them are in photos at the end of the article.
  15. Here they are in motion in photos posted by Paris Opera Ballet to Facebook:
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