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On Pointe

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Everything posted by On Pointe

  1. I mean needled in print as a common thing. Sure, some men have eating disorders, including men who work in offices and on construction sites and are never subjected to public discussions of their bodies at all. But it's still far more common in women. I still don't get why Martins was wrong for casting Ringer, unless you feel that her idiosyncratic method of getting into shape for the season should have been accomodated. Presumably she was paid from the first day of the season, so why not expect her to be ready?
  2. I don't understand - wouldn't all the other dancers have the same challenges as Ringer in getting into shape at the beginning of the season? You seem to be suggesting that Martins deliberately set her up to be ridiculed by Macaulay. No one remembers the critique of Angle because women get needled about their weight, not men. I remember that Jenifer Ringer even appeared on Oprah, where Oprah expressed surprise that Ringer had small children. She was probably not interested at the time, but Ringer could have finessed a high profile media career out of all the exposure she got from Macaulay's bitchy offhand remark. She did very well for herself on the show.
  3. My reaction to the piece can be summed up by the title of a Johnny Mathis - Deniece Williams song: Too Much, Too Little, Too Late. The world has moved on. (So many song titles are apt here - Looking For Love in All the Wrong Places, Who Cares?, Let It Go.)
  4. Even nicer are the comments, from the stage crew member and the public.
  5. I have worked with a number of lawyers, some straight out of law school, and some with a few years under their belts. Stress and anxiety are constant factors in their work. And they are expected to put in as many hours as a NYCB principal. I think it's wonderful that Abi Stafford has a law degree. But if she was plagued by crippling anxiety in the dance world, it is unlikely to get better at a New York law firm. (Luckily there are many other positions in the business world where a law degree is an asset.) The kind of treatment she advocated in the Dance Magazine article is beyond the purview of an employer. Those suffering it require intensive therapy. In reality people of artistic temperament are prone to suffer bouts of anxiety about their work. They aren't the only ones.
  6. Two strikingly attractive people who can actually dance, yet this little film doesn't let us really see them. What a waste of talent and resources. Fred Astaire laid out the instructions for filming dancers decades ago and no one has bettered them yet. Best wishes to Ask La Cour on his retirement. I have wondered how he managed personal relationships within the company as the quasi-stepson of Peter Martins. Apparently he did just fine.
  7. To be accurate, only about half of the music used for the ballet is by Scott Joplin, including the title piece. And some is by white composers. But ragtime is definitely American music, rooted in Black American culture.
  8. For me, best illustrated by the Royal Ballet's Elite Syncopations. MacMillan's choreography with its twee little steps, set to Black American music, is not just bad ballet, it's insulting. The hideous costumes don't help, and neither do the orchestrations and the incorrect tempos. Why they decided to revive it this year is truly a mystery to me.
  9. Here's that solo by Nureyev. I remember him doing it on the Ed Sullivan show:
  10. That Balanchine quote is very old. What's considered appropriate for male dancers, beautiful if you will, has changed a lot. If you look at short ballet videos on Youtube and Tik Tok, there are endless examples of male dancers with extreme high extensions that they never would have employed in the 60s and 70s. Ports de bras is much more expansive, with deep bends of the back. There are many videos of men on pointe, which isn't quite mainstream yet. But men are working higher on demi-pointe, with much more articulated feet than what you see in old clips on Classical Arts TV - Andre Eglevsky barely rose up in relevé at all. I remember when Nureyev was criticized for the long adagio solo he added to Swan Lake. My ballet teacher thought it was scandalously feminine. Balanchine might have been working overtime to be quotable. He created plenty of expressive solos for men. As for men in tights or out of them, I discovered to my astonishment that there is vast number of videos of serious, accomplished male and female dancers performing totally nude available on the internet. Be careful if you look for them - they are often on porn sites, although they are not particularly salacious. But I don't think we'll be seeing that at Lincoln Center anytime soon.
  11. I've never seen a ballet costume that is as revealing as the swimsuits worn by male Olympic divers, or female beach volleyball players. While there has been some discussion about female athletes being required to wear skimpy uniforms, I haven't seen any discussion about the men. We've grown used to it. The same with men in tights at the ballet. Most of us start training so young that we pay no special attention to "the bulge". Comedian Craig Ferguson has said that he was astonished by the casual acceptance of visible male genitals when he encountered ballet for the first time. He got over it. Really it's no different than a woman in a bra, except for the male penchant for comparison!
  12. I remember years ago when a pantyhose maker (I think it was Hanes) hired football star Joe Namath to model their product, which was quite scandalous at the time. They had discovered that some football players wore pantyhose under their uniforms for warmth and support in cold weather games. Now there is almost no distinction between football pants and tights.
  13. Modesty, for one reason. Comfort, warmth, the fee!ing of support are others. Sweaty, hairy bare legs are not all that attractive. Tights allow the costume designer to continue the line of the design. You could paint the dancers' legs but that's messy and makes quick changes impossible. The materials developed in the last few years are versatile in look and practical to care for. Tights on men have become so mainstream that I see guys jogging and even strolling down the street in them.
  14. I'm disappointed that there isn't more of Justin Peck's choreography visible in the trailer. Like the Dear Evan Hansen trailer, it looks like they're trying to underplay the fact that these films are musicals, which is crazy in the case of a show as well-known as West Side Story.
  15. I know that Tony Kushner is a highly-acclaimed playwright, but his contributions, as heard in the trailers, sound clunky and overwrought. Also considering the kerfuffle over skin color in In the Heights, the Sharks all look pretty lightskinned to me. You can barely tell them from the Jets. Fun fact, there was one week when WSS and ITH were shooting only a block apart in Washington Heights. Each director had to make sure that the one film's props and extras didn't end up in the other film's frame.
  16. I watched the 48 Hours piece about the Benefield case tonight, and found it oddly uninformative. Ashley Benefield has been charged with murder, but she's out on bail and her trial won't occur for months. Meanwhile there are defendants all over the country charged with far lesser crimes who haven't been convicted yet, but they've been languishing in jail for years. There were some nice visuals of the dancers though.
  17. Broadway gives ballet dancers the opportunity to branch out and try their hand at acting and singing. Performing the same material eight times a week also helps to strengthen abilities. If you fall a bit short at the Wednesday matinée, you can redeem yourself at the evening performance. Broadway shows are products as much as they are artistic expressions, so there are constant notes and frequent rehearsals to keep performances consistent. Broadway producers are not interested in your longterm potential. You get hired for what you can deliver now. All of this can be very freeing. You get treated like an adult employee - no one refers to Broadway performers as "boys and girls". You don't have to put much effort into personal relationships, unless you want to. And you can always leave without it affecting your career negatively. What you can't do is expect your understudy to cover for you on a whim. You are expected to perform eight shows a week, unless you're contracted to do fewer because of extreme vocal or dance demands. Broadway performers are famous for their " the show must go on" work ethic, even when they're suffering physically or emotionally. And while the pay is not high by Hollywood standards, the lowest paid performer in a Broadway show makes over $100,000 per year. Someone with a ballet reputation, like Megan Fairchild, Robert Fairchild or Misty Copeland can negotiate for a lot more. Misty actually increased the box office for On the Town, which bodes well for any future Broadway endeavors. It's not for everyone, but dancing on Broadway can be a pleasant respite for a ballerina. Personally though, while I never tired of dancing in Nutcracker because of Tchaikovsky's glorious score, I would have gone bonkers in Cats!
  18. Well Martins is a white European male, and he was the boss, so mimicking (or mocking) his accent could be considered punching up. But it's an odd stylistic choice for someone dedicated to eradicating Asian stereotypes in the theater. If she gives her Black and Latino colleagues the same treatment, which she hints at in the Elle excerpt in print, it may not be as acceptable to listeners of the audiobook. I haven't decided to buy the book yet, but I hate the cover. Pazcoguin looks like a drunk sitting on a transparent toilet, not an artist offering insight to her creative process, which is my main motivation for reading books by performers. Gossip gets old faster than slang.
  19. There is a "trend of predation" in the world at large. Unfortunately it seems to be human nature.
  20. This reminds me that I actually saw Macaulay Culkin play the Nutcracker Prince and sat next to his very excited parents. Not long after that, he was cast in Uncle Buck, then Home Alone, and the rest is history.
  21. There have been a number of shows where children have prominent roles, like School of Rock and Matilda. But the adults know that going in. I've been in shows with kids, but I've never heard of adult actors considering them to be competition. If anything, they are treated pretty much the same as any other actor. If they "upstage" the grownups, it's because they're better performers. Many Broadway shows have elements that are a lot more dangerous than Nutcracker snow. That's why you get hazard pay. The late, unlamented Spiderman musical took out actor after actor with serious injuries. You get your thanks at the end of the show when the audience applauds, and at the end of the week, when you're paid quite well to do what you love.
  22. And yet so many NYCB dancers perform in Broadway shows, where you do the same show eight times a week for months and years on end. GP herself did a stint in Cats, which would have been tough on a lot of people. There was one member of the original cast who got a story in the NY Times after being in the show for fifteen years! (During which time she was able to buy two houses and put her kids through school, so there's that.) I read the Elle excerpt - not bad. I never noticed that NYCB had enough minority dancers to have a white cast and a non-white cast for Nutcracker. She's talking about the corps and solo parts of course. The only "non-white" Sugar Plum Fairy that I can recall is Maria Tallchief. I saw her when I was very young and she made an indelible impression on me, with her glossy black hair, brownish skin and dazzling white smile. Pazcoguin is absolutely right about Tea being yellowface minstrelsy. Honest question - has anyone ever raised concerns about the Arabian dance? Meanwhile the Times has a nice story about corps dancer Clara Miller's singer-songwriter ambitions, and a shocking one about ex-Boston Ballet ballerina Dusty Button, who apparently is more of a rogue than GP in her wildest moments.
  23. I guess she didn't slap him hard enough. What a weird story!
  24. You're right. "Kick him in the balls" was my immediate reaction, not necessarily a plan of action. But the story and Pazcoguin's reaction to it still strikes me as weird. One wonders if there was a previous intimate relationship? It doesn't excuse the behavior. Ramasar denies it. In the same article, Merrill Ashley's recollection of a conversation with GP doesn't accord with what GP claims she said. Recollections can differ. As for the "greedy little principal", would it have been less hurtful if a soloist or corps member angled for the role? If that's actually what happened - how would GP know who the other dancer was texting and what it was about? Since she was injured and couldn't dance anyway, it wouldn't matter who got the role, or how they got it. Bottom line, when you write a book, you get to tell your version of what happened in your life. Others' memories may differ.
  25. I'm not saying that Georgina Pazcoguin should have done any of those things. I'm saying that there were remedies available to her that she could have used. She's alleging that she was subjected to unwanted touching by a fellow employee for years, yet apparently did nothing to make it stop. No way do I believe that NYCB would "side" with someone committing a criminal act on their premises, no matter what their rank. Unlike the Waterbury case, that would definitely put them in a vulnerable position legally. GP's book hasn't come out yet. It's possible she will be more forthcoming about the circumstances in print. Or it may just be something she relayed to Gia Kourlas. I did wonder why she called out Ramasar by name, but didn't name the principal dancer she claims tried to get one of her roles, on the phone, within earshot, while she was on the floor in agony with a torn ACL. (Why was a principal trying to angle for a soloist's spot?). To me that wasn't particularly credible either. I'm sure others will disagree.
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