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On Pointe

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About On Pointe

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    fan, dancer, choreographer
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  1. Fascinating that Dudamel considered watching ballet an important aspect of his musical education as a conductor. Now he'll get to conduct for the great Paris Opera Ballet, or, as the article dubs it, "the in-house dance company".
  2. Western Symphony seems an odd choice for a Japanese ballet company. One could say it's a clear case of cultural appropriation! Just kidding - I don't care. And American Westerns are popular all over the world, just like Asian martial arts movies. Bugaku is problematic because it isn't top tier Balanchine. It can be done without. Certainly Porgy and Bess would have been jettisoned long ago if it didn't have those glorious songs. A
  3. Could be that heading an American ballet company is similar to heading an American symphony orchestra - most musical directors of major orchestras are Europeans, with a few Latinos in the mix. Nobody seems bothered by this. It would be great to have a woman in the position, American or not.
  4. The problem with Levine was not his homosexuality, but his harassment and exploitation of musicians under his authority. Several major conductors have been fired for similar behavior towards women. However Levine was also notorious for abusing underage boys of color. Adults can fend for themselves, but why didn't any of those decrying Levine now protect those children, his coaching and conducting skills notwithstanding? Why didn't the New York Times run an exposé on him when he was alive? He was allowed to get away with it.
  5. I can't think of a dancer today with a physique similar to Moira Shearer's. I'm intrigued that this photo is by Gordon Parks, the legendary Black American photographer not known for photos of dancers. I suspect that the taste for high retirés and near 180 degree a la secondes has caused today's dancers to have thicker, more muscular waistlines than ballerinas of the past.
  6. It's obvious that bodies in general have changed over the years, and not just ballet dancers' bodies. For example, when a filmmaker wanted to recreate the look of the TV music show Soul Train, it was impossible to find extras as thin as the actual dancers of the 60s and 70s, even in weight conscious LA. It's fascinating to watch Classic Arts Showcase's short ballet excerpts from years past. Moira Shearer and Ludmilla Tchernicheva were much tinier than most current dancers, and it wasn't just their weight, it's their narrow ribcages and the general look of their skeletal structure.
  7. On Pointe

    Julie Felix

    Interesting piece in The Guardian about Black British dancer Julie Felix, who couldn't get a position with a company in England, but danced with Dance Theatre of Harlem for ten years. https://www.theguardian.com So many of the Black dancers who tell similar stories of rejection are light-skinned, biracial or both. ABC did a stoty on a brownskinned ballet student's delight in finally getting shoes that matched her skin tone. (Actually they didn't - they were too dark and the hue wasn't quite right - but baby steps, at least they weren't pink.). If pale dancers who can blend
  8. Lately the YouTube algorithms have sent me numerous videos of youngsters auditioning for summer intensive programs, especially for SAB. While it's interesting to see talented, and not so talented kids from around the country, posting their auditions publicly strikes me as a very bad idea. It's like reading the college entrance essays of high school seniors. Some of the videos even have the comments enabled, which could be devastating to a young dancer's sense of self. (One sweetly earnest little girl is morbidly obese.) Because of Covid, video auditions are necessary, but I think th
  9. With all this praise and accomodation for a male student studying pointe, PNB has put itself in a tough position. They almost have to hire Ashton Edwards, even if there is very little for him to dance in their repertory. Even if they had no intention of hiring such a small male dancer at all. And if they do give him a contract, will they cast him in female roles? (I realize how unpopular my views are here, but rest assured Black balletgoers would consider a Black male dancer being cast as a woman to be a profound insult and a major turnoff.). Or will they engage a choreographer to c
  10. Yes, there's are many examples of men disguised as women for comic effect. Joe E. Brown's closing line to Jack Lemmon in Some Like It Hot is considered to be the funniest in movie history by many film enthusiasts. There are very few instances of women dressing as men for laughs, with the notable exception of Saturday Night Live. When they want to bring down a powerful male figure, they have him portrayed by a female cast member, for example Kate McKinnon as Rudy Giuliani. (Until recently, the show has had very few Black women. They made a special effort to find more when Black actor
  11. Again, you're twisting my words to fit your mindset. Mr. Edwards, like Billy Porter, can do whatever he wants, wear whatever he wants, identify however he wants. I don't care about his motivations. My concern is the hypocrisy of a school and company championing a Black male dancer who dances on pointe and has a feminine presentation, but has never hired a Black female dancer of similar appearance.
  12. Mr. Edwards is capable of defining himself. As he has not called himself trans, why should we? Nothing I have written dismisses gender queer people. I don't say they shouldn't appear in media. I say that Black people sometimes sense an agenda when and where they do. I sincerely do not understand individuals who are so fragile that the mere thought of someone having a different point of view is perceived as an attack. How do they get through life?
  13. If nothing else, the events of the past week have demonstrated that Black Americans do not receive the same treatment, or necessarily have the same world view, as other Americans. The sexuality and sexual identity of Black men, and women, is under constant attack. This is a hot button issue that white Americans might be totally unaware of. There is definitely a strong conviction that feminized Black men are being thrust into the spotlight, and rewarded, to the detriment of the community. You may disagree, or even find it silly, but you cannot tell Black people how they should fee
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