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Wardrobe malfunctions

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I saw a performance of "Manon" in which Manon popped out of the bodice of her costume during the sequence where she is passed from one adoring male to another. No stops; no chance to hoist up the bodice until the entire passage was done. Talk about "the show must go on"!


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I'll revive an old topic. 


Opening night of John Neumeier's Death in Venice at the Chatelet in Paris, ca. 2008. Lloyd Riggins as Aschenbach was wearing a pair of pants that began to split apart at the back. Honestly, I don't know how long the agony lasted--15 minutes, 20 minutes, maybe longer--but since his character didn't leave the stage, he was forced to continue dancing with his backside exposed. Naturally the audience spent the entire time in a state of heightened anxiety about what would happen next, and those split pants overshadowed everything else. It wasn't until a scene during which his character is gussied up and given a new set of clothes--on stage, of course--that everyone finally breathed a sigh of relief.


I didn't actually see the next two incidents for myself, but they were described to me in great detail by people who saw them from the wings, so I hope you'll indulge me. Galina Stepanenko was dancing Nikiya at the Bolshoi, and the ribbons of her pointe shoes began to come undone during the scarf variation. By the time she finished the last pirouette in arabesque, the ribbons had flown apart completely. Everyone's heart stopped as they wondered how she could possibly finish the variation, since it involves lots of releves and fifth positions, but apparently she did it without a hitch, at which point the audience errupted in deafening cheers. Incidentally, in the latter stages of her career, Stepanenko didn't use ribbons at all.


Another Bolshoi incident involved Sergei Filin in Don Quixote during the grand pas de deux. A straight pin had been forgotten in the underskirt of his partner's tutu, and as he lowered her from a lift, a thin streak of blood appeared along the side of his nose, narrowly missing his eye. Eerily prophetic.

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During a performance of Sleeping Beauty- with the National Ballet of Washington- I was dancing one of the friends of Aurora, I had a complete blowout of the seam of one of pointe shoes.It was during the fast passe section- my feet were so swollen from dancing many performances- I doubt the audience saw it.    Another time during my entrance in the ballroom scene ( Ben Stevenson's Cinderella)  as one of the guests, part of the front of the bodice had ripped off- I think it caught on part of the scenery- I could not see anything- we were wearing masks and my eyesight is not the greatest- I asked my partner if I should exit, He said go!  So I was sewn back in my costume and was able to start the waltz without missing anything.   I was thown into a performance of Graduation Ball, to replace an injured dancer.  It was the pig-tail girl- the bloomers worn under the costume were too big for me and kept falling down.  I don't know how I managed the variation without killing myself.

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I saw two live wardrobe malfunctions of note - one embarrassing and the other hilarious.


EMBARRASSING: 1995 @ the Mariinsky. Then-student at the Vaganova Academy, 15-yr-old Yana Selina, danced the difficult Third-Shade variation in a year-end class perf of BAYADERE "Shades" scene. The execution of the variation was brilliant, in light of the fact that the bodice of her tutu became undone during the final quick portion of the dance, totally exposing her tatas. She kept her aloof composure during & after this, taking a long slow bow. A real trouper!


HILARIOUS: Royal Danish Ballet's June 2005 "Bournonvilleana Gala" to close the B'ville Festival. William Tell pdd. One of superstar Thomas Lund's red knee-high socks slowly crept to his ankle during the pdd's coda...bit by bit, inch by inch...accelerating its descent during the final ultra-brisk passage, going down perfectly in time to the music, stopping at the ankle during the final chord. I recall a big funny (knowing) smile on his face while partner Diana Cuni maintained poker-faced decorum during the bows. 

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