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Anastasia Volochkova


Susanne

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Estelle, thanks for the information on the Dupond matter -- and I think there are other dancers who have won money -- reimbursement of back salary, or something of that sort. I was thinking, though, of getting one's job back -- that I don't think has happened. It's the same in business or any bureaucracy. They may need to keep you, legally, but they'll give you an office in the basement and no work. A company may be forced to take a dancer back and list them on the roles, but not force them to cast the dancer or give him/her performances.

I've posted a long, long list of links in the Bolshoi forum, and also on the Links forum for today's news. It's been a long time since any ballet story has gotten this much coverage -- shame it's not about ballet :)

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New York Times measured her at 5'6". And yes, she was reported to weight 109lb. That just confirms that height and weight have NOTHING to do with this issue. They're just exuses being used to fire her.

Supposedly, none of the men are willing to dance with her. We are not told why, and may never know. But that is probably closer to the crux of the issue.

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Out here in the L.A. region, we just got Volochkova on the 4 o'clock news - ABC also.

There were sections showing the end of Dying Swan I am assuming and a clip of D.Q.

Footage of her coming out of a limo and speaking to the press. She was very contained and ofcourse elegantly dressed.

I remember seeing this ballerina perform in London a few years ago with an independant group. She was very 'glamorous' and talented and yet.......hummmmmm. This show was definitely built around her stardom ..... :blink::) Did anyone else see this event?

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Socalgal, I didn't see it, but I think the consensus was it wasn't going to make the all-time Top Ten list of artistic endeavors. But I, and several others, thought her quite different in regular company performances -- and yet another but, still many others (see the Kirov forum) think her talent overrated across the board. I think one of the earliest news stories called her Russia's "most loved and loathed" ballerina.

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Maybe Volochkova can finesse the whole thing by adding a number, complete with vocal, set to the "Too Fat Polka".

I don't want her, you can have her,

She's too fat for me.

She's too fat for me.

She's too fat for me. (all repeat)

I get dizzy,

I get num-bo

When I'm dancing

With my jum-jum-jum-bo!

I don't want her, (etc.)

:)

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Ya feets too big,

ya feets too big,

ya know i can't love ya cause ya feets too big....

Just a glancing side-light -- Markova was said to be very hard to lift. (Can I be remembering this right?) I don't know where I read it, but I have a distinct memory of a complaint by one of her partners that Markova did NONE of the lift herself, no jump to get it started.....

Volochkova sure seems to be winning hte PR war -- but maybe she's the Madonna of ballerinas (not an original idea on my part) -- And then some: if she can get the New York TImes to come over and MEASURE her, she's the Phineas T BArnum of our age.And if she can toss her fan and catch it (musically, of course) in DonQ, I hope I get a chance to see it....

Maybe she'll move to my fair state and run for governer. THey've delayed the election... next thing you know, they'll re-open the candidacies...

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Oh, you guys!!! :grinning:

Markova was said to be very hard to lift. (Can I be remembering this right?) I don't know where I read it, but I have a distinct memory of a complaint by one of her partners that Markova did NONE of the lift herself, no jump to get it started.....

Could said partner have been Erik Bruhn? I remember reading an article about/by him comparing the degrees of cooperation of some of his ballerinas, complaining about one who insisted she would look lighter without a preparatory jump. I found that odd, because it is the man's effortlessness that makes the woman look weightless, isn't it? And wasn't Markova really, really tiny?

Still, I would be alarmed to see a 5'6" dancer at 109 pounds. Wouldn't she look rather emaciated? Didn't the skeletal Heather Watts (5'6") weigh about that in her dancing days? Did the Times check the scale's accuracy to be sure that, with nothing on it, it balanced at zero?

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Volochkova has just hit the news in Aus. ( yes we are a bit slow, too involved with Waltzing Matilda and Rugby World Cup but that's another story) It was implied- no it was more than implied- that her partner(s) were suffering from back injuries trying to lift such a big, icecream loving sheila.

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About the being hard to lift because of no jump--I remember reading that about Kirkland in someone's autobiography--Villella's or LaFosse's?

Also, whether she is 5'6" or 5'7", 109 lbs is incredibly thin; I'm surprised she can dance at all at that weight! No one the proper height should have trouble lifting someone that tiny. But haven't there been tales of rather wimpy Bolshoi men these days? Maybe that's the real issue....

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Carbro, I've read the story, from Bruhn, about Markova being too hard to lift because she wouldn't help -- it was one he often repeated (I always thought it was ungentlemanly of him, and besides, as you point out, it's his job to make her look weightless, in my book).

Paul, you already have at least one ditzy blonde on the ballot -- the one running around in the pink convertible? (forget her name). I always thought Volochkova would be perfect for Vegas, though -- in her fan-catching mode, at least. I should also say that I have several colleagues who saw her when she was 18 and loved her. Thought she was going to be the Kirov's next great ballerina -- very pure, and so beautiful. Then the Madonna syndrome set in (although, as I've said before, I've also seen her dance some very beautiful performances.)

I think there are quite a few dancers who would be in the 5'6 - 110 pound range. I remember a story from about 15 years ago of a young ballerina at a major American company who was 5'7 and weighed 120 pounds when she was 19 being told she had to lose ten pounds -- and she did, and strength was not an issue. Willpower is a strange and wonderful thing. It also has a lot to do with body frame. I also know of two Washington-trained dancers who, at 17, were 5'4, 5'5 and weighed 90 pounds, according to their press people, and it was believable. They had very straight bodies (no hips, perfect for unitard ballets) and were small-boned.

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Dame Alicia is a tiny woman. Perhaps Bruhn was having difficulties in partnering her because of the height mismatch? And Gelsey had a jump of considerable power, but at times when she was in trouble, her faculties would just shut down, I think La Fosse wrote about this phenomenon in his autobiography. Still, it is ungallant to tell tales like that off the stage. I have to give La Fosse points, though, as he was describing a sort of pathology.

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Markova coached me in Les Sylphides where she constantly told my partner not to jump, help or anything. Her words were, "Make him lift you!" It was the first time that I heard someone tell the woman not to at least feel a releve into a lift. I think I remember Freddie Franklin telling stories of how he partnered Markova in pirouettes telling us that he made the turns and she just help her pose.

Markova was wonderful. Another line was, "Of course if I were in training I would show you exactly." She was a true grand dame.

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Markova's method may have been hard work for her partner, but it worked - I've never seen such an amazing illusion of flight as her entrance for the pas de deux in Les Sylphides - you could 'see' that her partner (Bryan Ashbridge I think) was holding her down rather than lifting her.

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I was talking to a freind the other evening who first told me this. My initial response (having a tall dancing daughter) on hearing she was "fired for being to heavy" at 110 pounds 5'7" was that something must have been lost in the translation!

Then this morning -- in between hurricane blurbs -- there it was again on the TODAY SHOW!!! They were making light of the whole thing, but the story was this 109 pound Bolshoi dancer was fired for being too heavy, and the dancers couldn't lift her.

This is NOT something I want our young dancers to hear and take to heart. I can see starving adolescent ballet students collapsing in studios all over the country as they cut calories to the bone in an effort to be "not too heavy." Please, someone give us the real "skinny" on this story!!

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About Kirkland being hard to lift, if I remember correctly in her autobiography after she started to study with David Howard, he taught her that "you have to go down to go up" or something like that. That pushing down to the floor as your partner lifts you creates resistance that results in a more stretched out form or arc. I think that's how it goes.

Anyway I've been reading all the comments about Volochkova and I think the Bolshoi is using the weight issue as a smokescreen to hide the fact that she is she is too opinionated for them. They can't fire her for that, but they can if they say she is too fat.

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Here the media don't seem to pay any attention to that (perhaps they are too busy talking about the government budget deficit, the last soccer matches and some recent murders :) ) - but well, I think that I prefer that silence to silly comments about "ice-cream eating ballerina"- and Doris, I agree that it could be dangerous for young dancers, if they imagine that having such a weight and height is "too heavy" for a ballet dancer!

Well, that's just an assumption, but sometimes when male dancers don't want to partner a female dancer isn't it more a problem of personality rather than weight?

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Well, that's just an assumption, but sometimes when male dancers don't want to partner a female dancer isn't it more a problem of personality rather than weight?

Yes, espeically if a ballerina brings a partner with her, passing over the company's men, who might -- just hypothetically speaking, of course -- then wish to turn the tables if the originail partner, for whatever reason, no longer wishes to dance with her.

There are some substantive stories in the news today -- check today's Links thread. Some are quite good, interviews with Russian critics and dancers.

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About Kirkland being hard to lift, if I remember correctly in her autobiography after she started to study with David Howard, he taught her that "you have to go down to go up" or something like that. That pushing down to the floor as your partner lifts you creates resistance that results in a more stretched out form or arc. I think that's how it goes.

Yes, that accurately describes David's coaching. So many dancers (male and female alike) forget that partnering is a partnership :grinning: It is about the timing and interaction of two people! Too many ballerinas think our their partner as the 'frame' who carries around the 'picture' and and young danseurs who consider partnering the 'necessary evil' until they get to do their variation.

Personally, I don't think this brouhaha has anything to do with numbers (though a declining technique may be part of the story), but perhaps Ms. Volochkova is not a person one wants to dance with...

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and young danseurs who consider partnering the 'necessary evil' until they get to do their variation.

Not just young danseurs either!

I like it when the woman lets me feel her weight in my hands as it allows us to move as one and gives me the control of the movement. Dancing Kylian is a great way to find this connectivity, although I was fortunate enought to have coaches throughout that made us feel each other and work with our individual qualities to make a better total performance.

What is the record for the most posts on a single topic in a short period?

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Just a thought on the subject -- I am as irritated about this hoorah as anyone, and dislike the negative attention it brings to the ballet world. But I was horrified when I saw the story this morning on "Good Morning America." They interviewed a young dancer from the Joffrey School who actually said on national television that "most dancers have bulimia or are sick."

For heaven's sake!!! What an ignorant, lousy thing to say about your own art form. Someone needs to suggest to this young lady that she learn to exercise some control over her mouth.

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They interviewed a young dancer from the Joffrey School who actually said on national television that "most dancers have bulimia or are sick."

For heaven's sake!!! What an ignorant, lousy thing to say about your own art form. Someone needs to suggest to this young lady that she learn to exercise some control over her mouth.

I agree, pugbee. While it may be possible to dance at 5'7" and 100 lbs, that doesn't mean it's healthy, and it certainly should not be held up as an ideal. Just when you think the "anorexic" stereotype is starting to go away, here comes this story about an incredibly thin dancer who is supposedly "fat," and the ballet world is viewed as crazy once again.

While it seems to me that dancers are very healthy these days, I also think they are still far too thin, and I agree that partnering is really more about timing and coordination than actual weight (though of course that plays a role). Perhaps choreographers should start focusing on dancing as opposed to lifting... :)

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