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Posts posted by volcanohunter

  1. I agree with pherank that a lot will depend on personal taste in ballets. I also agree with Drew that so much has been streamed that it's difficult to make a fair judgement unless you've watched absolutely everything. It did strike me when I looked at the poll, that I felt as though I had been watching mostly other companies. I did see most of the stuff on the list, but I guess those programs weren't the most memorable for me, and clicking on "other" is a rather unsatisfying option.

    Yes, I thought New York City Ballet presented the most interesting repertoire for my taste, but I was surprised, and I suppose saddened, that I didn't enjoy the dancing as much as I had hoped I would (older broadcasts excepted).

  2. 14 hours ago, Mashinka said:

    I doubt there is a dancer anywhere in the world to compare with Lynn Seymour.  She had a body that would mean rejection today, but such artistry comes once in a generation.  The thought that there may be gifted dancers out there discarded because they don't conform to the current fad for emaciation troubles me greatly.   

    More than one great ballerina has said she would be rejected by ballet schools today. Their absence from ballet history would have been an incalculable loss. No doubt ballet is passing over irreplaceable talents today.

    As for waists, most female dancers today have very narrow hips. They have rectangular torsos on which waists are barely visible, as alluded to in this self-deprecating post.

  3. There is no "thin shaming" here. In the article Marika Molnar is quoted as saying dancers with their five extra pounds "all look terrific now, very healthy," and I would probably agree. But I am not pointing fingers or naming names. Surely we can agree that when dancers face questions about weight, it's nearly always for weighing "too much." Dancers would almost never get flak from their bosses (which is what's at issue here, not the impressions of audiences) for being thin. The article states that "Whelan said she was never told to lose weight when she was in the company." I should hope not! Do you suppose anyone in the company ever suggested that she was too thin? I sincerely doubt it.

    I am reminded of a classmate, a gorgeous woman and dancer. She was about 5'10", very slender, with very long limbs. She also had an hourglass figure and hated it. So she underwent breast reduction surgery. The rest of us thought she was crazy for doing it, after all, by the standards of modern beauty, she won the genetic lottery. She had all movie starlets and supermodels beat. But she didn't see many dancers who looked like her, so in the interests of furthering her (modern) dance career, she decided most of her breasts had to go.

    I think of another friend, one of those rail-thin, ectomorphic, hardbody ballerinas, skinny even by ballet standards. Under her civvies she wears a padded training bra to appear a little more robust in the outside world. Perhaps this also reflects an ambivalent body image, but certainly the response is a lot less drastic.

    I honestly think costuming carries a substantial amount of blame. (Another topic that came up in the article.) If some of the costumes weren't so revealing, leaving dancers of all shapes acutely aware of how their bodies look in them, if bodices were made in a more flattering way, because they often look clunky on even the smallest of dancers (I'm looking at you, Marc Happel), if they were constructed to be comfortable and supportive for dancers with larger breasts, I think everyone would be a lot happier.

  4. 1 hour ago, Balletwannabe said:

    Because we assume skinny dancers have eating disorders?  That's for a doctor to decide.  I understand having a preference for body type, as it is a visual art after all.  But do we really need to go as far as to comment on their diet? 

    Of course I wasn't suggesting that dancers should literally eat more cheesecake. But if a dancer appears to be emaciated, it is a distraction for me and reduces my enjoyment of what I'm seeing, often severely, because I suffer inwardly for them. I would be happier if the dancers were costumed differently so that their thinness would be less obvious. And if dancers aren't that thin by nature, I wish they didn't feel compelled to achieve that look.

    A lot does have to do with body type and metabolism. I know dancers who are rail thin, but covered in rock-hard muscle, eat more than I could and, yes, have children. (When I read the article I had to wonder, did Kourlas actually ask Whelan whether anyone had suggested to her that she needed to lose weight?!)

    As for the photo of Kevin Durant, the ribs aren't showing through his upper chest. In the case of ballet dancers they often do.

  5. I meant recently, because I agree that ballet today is in the thrall of a cult of the "ballet body." I just can't imagine what leads Howard to believe that white dancers are exempt.

    Ballet suffers from a really bad case of not seeing the forest for the trees. Nearly every ballet company I've seen has principal dancers who can't really dance. They may have brilliant technique, beautiful legs, remarkable flexibility and so forth, but they can't dance according to a dictionary definition of the term: to move one's body rhythmically usually to music, preferably harmoniously, in an appropriate style, perhaps even beautifully. It would seem that directors can be so distracted by six o'clocks or drill-bit pirouettes or a unitard-perfect body that they somehow fail to notice that a principal can't move with smoothness or ease. Was a time when what I valued most in a dancer was movement quality and musicality. Now I'm reasonably happy when I see some semblance of coordination.

    Dancers can be far too tall, too thin, too flexible. Some are so skinny that they lack strength, their ankles wobble beneath them and all sorts of tension is shifted to their necks and hands. I also can't bear to watch the "spaghetti kids" of today. My worst audience experience of 2020 involved watching a heavily promoted, extremely tall and bendy young woman fall off pointe four times in the space of about 12 seconds while attempting to do a diagonal of hops. I watched one danseur, who is often praised for his "beautiful feet," performing double tours with his toes stretched so hard that they pointed sideways rather than toward the floor. It looked freakish, terrible. And getting a really good look at a ballerina's jutting ribs is extremely off-putting. More than once I've wished she would eat some cheesecake.

    Nevertheless, a voice within compels me to speak up for my male dancer friends and their backs. If we want a return of zaftig ballerinas, that's fine, but we have to be prepared to part with overhead lifts in exchange. And costumes should be properly constructed to support their bodies.

    P.S. I never took the "little pats of butter" description to be disparaging, simply a reference to the fact that Fonteyn's feet were very flexible. But unlike a lot of today's dancers with flexible feet, she didn't embarrass herself while hopping on pointe.

  6. This week from the Vienna State Opera

    1 March - Carmen 
    2 March - Otello
    3 March - Ariadne auf Naxos 
    4 March - Manon 
    5 March - Kátja Kabanová 
    6 March - Aida
    7 March - La traviata (live, starting at 18:00 CET / 12:00 pm Eastern)
    8 March - Don Quixote (Nureyev production)



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