Jump to content
This Site Uses Cookies. If You Want to Disable Cookies, Please See Your Browser Documentation. ×

Least favorite dancers!


Recommended Posts

Welcome, Marie-Adelaide --

Thanks for posting a new topic for discussion, but I think I have to put up a gentle warning. This is the kind of topic that could lead to trouble :wub: Trashing dancers for sport isn't what we do here.

I'm going to leave this thread open for awhile and see what kind of answers we get -- it could be a good topic for discussion if we keep it general. "I don't like this type of dancer, or "I never cared for so and so because" . If the posts are within our rules and the spirit of this board, then we can go ahead. If it goes overboard, I'll celete offending posts and close the thread.

Link to post

I'll start :wub: I'll pick someone who is no longer dancing -- and I'm sure is the Favorite of many here, so apologies in advance -- but I never cared for Merle Park. I admired her musicaliity and her professionalism (I once saw her dance at a small local company here, for an audience of about a dozen, and she danced as though she were at Covent Garden, with a full house). I just didn't like her dancing. I thought she approached every dramatic role in the same way. I thought her dancing was artificially light. ("It has no guts to it," to steal a comment form a colleague about another dancer.)

I'd also say I lost count long ago of a dancer who I did not like the first, second, third, fourth of x time I saw him/her, and who I would see later -- with another company, in another type of role -- and change my mind.

Link to post

I'm sorry if I implied that I wanted to trash dancers for sport. :wub: That wasn't what I meant at all! Of course, no matter how much you love ballet, there are going to be dancers you like more than others, and thought a discussion of what people don't like in a dancer would make a good topic.

Since you said to keep it general, I tend not to like dancers whose style would be considered "firey." :angry: I also don't like it when a dancer has virtuoso technique, yet dances with no drama or emotion at all (which usualy incluses those "firey" dancers...) What you said about Park was interesting. Though I personally have never seen her dance, the way you said she approaches every dramatic role the same way made me think she would be the type to dance without emotion.

Link to post

Yes, I had a bit of problem with Nureyev too. Part of it was his inconsistency in partnering. Sometimes he was quite fine, and other times it was like he was not there for his partner. Some of that was in his own performances too. He could be amazing, and he could be quite sloppy.

Basically I have the biggest problem with dancers who do not have a good line, especially if they sickle their feet, or wing them in arabesque, or if their arabesque line is not correct (meaning usually way too far out to the side). However, when I see this problem I usually blame the teaching/coaching, or lack of coaching, more than the dancer. Musicality is another main issue. Also dancers who ignore the music and continue turning just because they can, and do 6 pirouettes when there is only time for 3 or 4, do not get my vote. :angry:

Link to post

I'm with Mel, too, on Nureyev. I felt that he intentionally made the dancing look hard -- in fact, often much harder than it was. I like a dancer who makes it look effortless.

I also like a dancer who communicates something of why s/he chose to dance. To me, Peter Martins almost always looked like he had clocked in, was going to do his job, and then was going to collect his paycheck. Rarely did he seem to derive pleasure (or any satisfaction) from dancing. So if it doesn't feed his soul, how is it supposed to feed the audience's? :yawn: :sleeping:

As far as ballerinas, I just never warmed to Cynthia Gregory. Why? Chemistry, I guess, or lack thereof, plus a sense much along the lines of Alexandra's response to Park. Gregory just came across to me as a one-note dancer.

Marie Adelaide, I do not understand how you describe dancers as "fiery" and "without emotion." Can you clarify that, please? To me "fiery" means very emotional.

Link to post

Ah yes, carbro, dancers who phone it in. :wub: I was doing Swan Lake, both big swan and Queen Mum, and one of our very famous and very beautiful guest artists (whose name I will not mention...for now :wink: ) came for several performances and all of a sudden I was feeling like a total non-entity up there. This STAR was a fine dancer, but he refused to deal with the pantomime at all. :angry:

Link to post
Rarely did he seem to derive pleasure (or any satisfaction) from dancing.  So if it doesn't feed his soul, how is it supposed to feed the audience's?

Carbro, you hit the nail on the head! That is the quality missing from some dancers, and you have elucidated for me why I never really liked watching Peter Martins dance as much as I thought I should. I kept trying to find something wrong with him and kind of settled on the fact that his head was too big. That satisfied me as to the reason why I, personally, had a hard time warming up to him.

He explained his coolness in his autobiography, so I forgave him for that quality after the fact, even though it had annoyed me. Still, I never found Suzanne Farrell's coolness irritating -- quite the opposite.

Now I see, with your clear analysis, that it was the lack of any visible passion, or even, as you put it, pleasure, that disturbed me. His technique -- flawless; looks - aristocratic; line -- impeccable; musicality -- unerring. Presentation -- dull!

Link to post

I did not find Peter Martins to be a cold dancer--what I always sensed about him was a shyness or embarassment of b eing on the stage---he never seemed comfortable--although I always enjoyed seeing him. Now as to the other Martins--well Christmas is coming------time to be charitible. :)

Happy Birthday, Beethoven--and to my departed friend Ben Harkarvy who was born on this day in 1930.

Link to post

I think the only dancer I don't like is the kind I'm afraid for. Watching someone wobble or almost fall gives me an unpleasant feeling in the stomach. I can't name names (cause I don't remember) and wouldn't want to. This seems like the kind of thing that could happen to anybody on a given day.

On the other hand I'm not crazy about dancers who look bored by what they're doing either. I watched the ABT Mixed Bill video last night, and was really struck by M. van Hamel in Sylvia. The first time I watched it I wasn't crazy about her, but this time I noticed that she seemed almost surprised at times, "Hey, did I just do that? Ooh, lemme try again!" She seemed so spontaneous and joyful, and yet totally secure.

Link to post

I'll say that I never expected to like Wendy Whelan so much. But the times I've seen her dance...I'm just blown away by her strength. When I've seen her, she just seems so solid and sure. There are other dancers with more classical bodies and extraordinary feet who I get nervous watching, ususally because they're not so in control of thier assets. Wobbling feet bother me as well, no matter how amazing the arches are.

Link to post

There are dancers who have totally repulsed me at first viewing, only to grow on me as time goes by; Irma Nioradze is one. She was very, very miscast as Aurora when the Kirov was here in '99, but her Giselle was very moving and nuanced. And she's strong as heck.

There are others whose careers only proved that an unfortunate first impression was, alas, correct. I can think of no better example than that City Ballet dancer (long retired) whose every movement was the kinetic embodiment of the screech of fingernails on a blackboard. Mentioning her name, even today, would be unkind and hardly welcome.

Link to post

To clarify this: What I meant by "firey" dancers with no emotion (I know it soulds like an oxmyoron) is how some dancers are fast and furious technique- wise (firey) but seem to convey no emotion with their dancing. What I mean by this would be those dancers who are "technique- machines" that bring nothing to their role besides technique.

Link to post

I tend to agree with Mel about Nureyev. It's not that I don't like him, he was great was he was at his peak, he had precise control and balance, and everything seemed effortless (mostly in the 1960's). My father has been a hardcore fan of Nureyev since he was a teenager, for him Nureyev is "God". However, I cannot bring myself to agree with him. I was rather disappointed at some of the ballet videos that Nureyev was in, such as Giselle with Lynn Seymour, filmed in 1979.

Link to post

Several NYCB principals used to grate on my nerves for various reasons. One dancer I have never liked is Julie Kent, for reasons similar to those stated above--no chemistry for me, rather flat.

In general technique, what irritates me most is lack of a plié, and one sees this more and more often. It's usually related to wobbly ankles. I recently saw one dancer who, though she had gorgeous feet, seemed to be determined to plié or come off pointe/demi-pointe as little as possible, I suppose in an attempt to look lighter, but it made me really nervous.

Link to post

I don't like dancers who pose for the snapshot, exaggerate extreme positions, and milk applause. To me the opposite are dancers who move with the "as written" musical phrase and impulse. This is probably why I never liked Nureyev, even when he was young with brilliant technique. I also don't like dancers who go for big effects at the expense of line and balance, or who sacrifice mobility in their arms, backs, and necks for leg and foot speed. I prefer cool to theatrical, but detached and unengaged is bad.

Then there are dancers who have a quirk that goes against my grain -- for example, Nichol Hlinka used to make me crazy by hunching her shoulders and starting at her feet until her last years of dancing, when she stopped, and I loved her. The rest aren't quite rational, but I chalk this up to the opposite of the Quaker phrase that Nancy Reynolds used to describe Antoinette Sibley: [the dancer] did not speak to my condition.

Link to post
I don't like dancers who pose for the snapshot, exaggerate extreme positions, and milk applause.

Amen, amen, amen!

I won't name names :shhh: , but there was a certain SF Ballet principal, now departed, thank God, who did all three with regularity, and annoyed the heck out of me because of it.

In general, I'm not fond of ballerinas who are thin to the point of looking weak, like the aforementioned example. Also out are dancers, male or female, who feel the need to balance longer or turn more times than the music permits.

Link to post

I'd like to add a hearty Second! to Hans's mention of the lack of plie. I'm seeing this more and more -- it bothers me more in men than in women for some reason. They land with a jolt and the action stops dead, instead of continuing, as it would if there were some give in the knees.

Link to post

I also wanted to welcome exballetstudent to the Board -- and thanks for reviving this thread.

Re Nureyev, there are almost two dancers. The Before and the After. I caught the end of the Before, and could keep that filter on through most of the After but I can understand how those who only saw the end of his career feel/think about him. I will say that there's almost nothing I've seen on video that begins to capture what you saw in the theater. Video (being TV) is a cold medium (I'm invoking Marshall MacLuhan) and so any dancer who had a very hot performing style is out of sync. You notice Nureyev's breathing difficulties, which were there from the beginning, but which didn't show on stage until the end. The camera can't capture his magic, and he was a very spontaneous performer, so you never saw the "classroom" Nureyev, the one who really was a fine technician. The dancers who show best on video, for me, are the classroom dancers, the ones who were all about technique. (The "posey" ones beloved above look great on film.)

The best Nureyev on film that I know is the "Don Quixote," but even there you have to get past the bright pink lipstick; it was the 1960s, his Yardley period.

Link to post

One dancer whom I dont like is Paloma Herrera- and not because she lacks technique. What I dislike so much about her is her lack of artistry, and that her dancing seems dependent on technical tricks. I really have a problem with her hands (fingers too outstreched, and separated one from the other), and the look on her face: she tends to arch her eyebrows rather too much to my liking. This would not be a problem if her eyebrows were not that dark as they are.

I am less forgiving towards Paloma because she is such a gifted dancer. In my opinion, all the details I have mentioned can be corrected (though It is difficult), and I hope Miss Herrera corrects them, as I believe she has the potential to become a star- but to me, technique is just not enough.

Silvy

Link to post
Re Nureyev, there are almost two dancers.  The Before and the After. . . . I can understand how those who only saw the end of his career feel/think about him.

I saw Nureyev Before, and appreciated his lion-like charisma. Also, his was one of ballet's most beautiful bodies, IMO. But it was not enough for me. Even in the earlier phase, I did not like his start-and-stop-DEAD (i.e., totally lacking fluidity) phrasing or the deliberately exaggerated appearance of difficulty. The latter were there in the beginning and only grew worse with the passage of time. I also found him (and I know you disagree here, Alexandra) nails-on-blackboard unmusical :) .

Link to post

When Nureyev first performed with the Royal in the US, if he were dancing with Fonteyn, he was le beau ideal, but if he were partnered with someone else, watch out! He slung poor Georgina Parkinson about like a side of beef in the Bluebird pas de deux, but as Albrecht with Fonteyn, there was none better at the time, and only a match in Erik Bruhn with Fracci.

Link to post
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...