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Kathryn Morgan

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From what she's posted she'll also have to do a bit of singing in "To Dance", which leads me to think that if Leanne Cope ever leaves AAIP, Katie would be a perfect replacement!

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Funny you mention AAIP, because I thought of Morgan for that role too. However, given her issues with her health and stamina in the past, I'm not sure the producers would risk putting Morgan into the lead role of a show for 6 performances a week. That's a tough schedule. Maybe she could be the "understudy" for two shows per week. (Robbie Fairchild now does only 6 of the 8 shows per week.)

I wonder if she has ever attempted to approach Wheeldon about getting some role, even in the ensemble, in this production.

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I am so happy to read this thread! I agree, Kathleen, Kathryn seems like a very lovely person and her videos are terrific. I hope I can see her dance in NY soon.

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Kathryn said in her one of her videos she is having a two night performance focused on her life at the DC Kennedy Center in March with Ballet in the City. She will be dancing a variety of different pieces (I think she said 5?) including Balanchine and To Dance. She hinted "important people from her past" were invited and seems confident she will be in very close to full dancing shape by then. In one of her videos she also explained her hypothyroidism treatment has been complicated by the fact that she has the Hashimoto form (which she was only recently diagnosed with) and is essentially an autoimmune disease but she said since that diagnosis was made she has been making a lot of progress in getting back into shape. I'm excited for her!

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For anyone interested she posted a video of a recent performance:

Unfortunately, it seems that her weight is still an issue for her. But she said that she has lost a significant amount of weight since this performance and is confident she will be in better shape by her Kennedy Center performance.

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She is such a beautiful dancer -- thanks for sharing! Serious question (I have never danced even close to the professional level): does additional weight over the thin ballerina standard impact technique? From my untrained eye she's beautiful regardless of her weight.

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Emma -- it doesn't matter how great your technique is, if you are "overweight", you will never dance in a major professional ballet company. Sad..... but true.

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She is such a beautiful dancer -- thanks for sharing! Serious question (I have never danced even close to the professional level): does additional weight over the thin ballerina standard impact technique? From my untrained eye she's beautiful regardless of her weight.

IMO there are definitely weight considerations in ballet. However, in my experience, that never meant the skinnier the better or that thinness trumps technique and artistry - within a range. The NYCB has a range of sizes and types. Some are more full figured, some athletic looking, some sylph like etc. However it is true that at a certain weight a person won't be hired by a ballet company because of not having a desired look.

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It's interesting to see the change in aesthetic today compared to historical photos from the late 19th early 20th century, her weight would have been acceptable back then. Though I assume technique and partnering is more complicated today.

I'm glad she has made a career with her youtube stuff and is performing again. She is still beautiful to watch. If it's what she wants, I hope she gets back into company shape and keeps performing.

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I've read a few interviews over the years given by NYCB ballerinas. Some mention that they got "weight warnings" during various points in their careers. Weight is definitely something that management looks at closely and often, at least for the ballerinas. I think that even if Morgan could have somehow managed her weight, any company would have serious doubts about her stamina for the job. It takes a very healthy person to endure the class, rehearsal and performance schedule of a major ballet company.

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Those late 19th to early 20th century ballerinas were a lot shorter than the average ballerina today...those extra inches of height add up to a lot of extra weight for the guys to lift. I don't know that shorter men were correspondlingly weaker, not sure it works that way.

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I've read a few interviews over the years given by NYCB ballerinas. Some mention that they got "weight warnings" during various points in their careers. Weight is definitely something that management looks at closely and often, at least for the ballerinas. I think that even if Morgan could have somehow managed her weight, any company would have serious doubts about her stamina for the job. It takes a very healthy person to endure the class, rehearsal and performance schedule of a major ballet company.

Yes, Carla Korbes in particular was candid about that. In that respect, Morgan did Martins a favor by voluntarily leaving the company.

Also, I imagine any director will want to see that Morgan can not only lose the weight, but keep at a consistent weight rather than yoyo-ing. (She does look thinner in her more recent videos.)

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Those late 19th to early 20th century ballerinas were a lot shorter than the average ballerina today...those extra inches of height add up to a lot of extra weight for the guys to lift. I don't know that shorter men were correspondlingly weaker, not sure it works that way.

Good point about the height differential.

I was just looking at a bunch of photos of Pierina Legnani and she probably woudn't even be allowed on the stage today (though I don't how tall she is, she does look kind of short).

As a non-dancer, I admit that I have no experience with how (or if) extra weight hinders technique/line or affects partnering. I will admit that I don't prefer super skinny dancers (I am personally not a fan of Sylvie Guillem, even though I know she is an incredible dancer), and only once did I notice that a dancer appeared a bit on the heavy side. Korbes is, was, and always will be gorgeous to me. But personally I've dealt with body issues my entire life (I am the most unathletic person on the planet, I sit behind a microscope all day, and I like to eat!) so I do feel bad when dancers like Morgan or Korbes or Jenifer Ringer have to deal with public criticism of a very sensitive issue (although I guess as dancers, they are used to dealing with it).

Anyway, it sounds like Morgan has done a fantastic job and enjoyed much success with online videos, and it makes me happy to see her still dancing just for the pure love of it. Very inspiring.

Pierina_Legnani_in_Raymonda,_act_I,_1898

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Well Cecchetti was under 5 feet tall.... Dubrovska was considered freaky tall at 5'6"... Royes Fernandez told me that at 5'8" he was considered a tall dancer (founding principal dancer at ABT). In the late 1970s, ABT was still cutting girls from the scholarship audition line if they topped 5'6"... now I think a great many of the superstars of the 20th century would have been cut for not making the minimum height.

So let's see, if 5'6" was freaky tall... would would be average, 5'3"? Here is a picture of Cecchetti teaching large-528148-enrico-cecchetti.jpg

Gelsey Kirkland is 5'1" according to google... Margot Fonteyn was 5'4"

Here is Fonteyn bending over to hug Olga Preobrajenskaya 12362097_1542779049379109_1524067419_n.jpg

Here is Olga Preobrajenskaya and Nicolas Legat 38a7d2674d82671dfb665e1a5e6364b9.jpg

I think they were much much smaller back then, akin to gymnasts

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Well Cecchetti was under 5 feet tall.... Dubrovska was considered freaky tall at 5'6"... Royes Fernandez told me that at 5'8" he was considered a tall dancer (founding principal dancer at ABT). In the late 1970s, ABT was still cutting girls from the scholarship audition line if they topped 5'6"... now I think a great many of the superstars of the 20th century would have been cut for not making the minimum height.

So let's see, if 5'6" was freaky tall... would would be average, 5'3"? Here is a picture of Cecchetti teaching large-528148-enrico-cecchetti.jpg

Gelsey Kirkland is 5'1" according to google... Margot Fonteyn was 5'4"

Here is Fonteyn bending over to hug Olga Preobrajenskaya 12362097_1542779049379109_1524067419_n.jpg

Here is Olga Preobrajenskaya and Nicolas Legat 38a7d2674d82671dfb665e1a5e6364b9.jpg

I think they were much much smaller back then, akin to gymnasts

Wow, those pictures are awesome, thanks for posting. Especially the Fonteyn and Preobrajenskaya!

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Well the thing to remember is that Pierina Legnani and Mathilde Kschessinskaya were asked to complete feats of technical mastery that had been hitherto unthinkable. It's not surprising that all of them had very thick calf muscles -- with the soft shoes they must have been extremely strong and athletic. But the earlier generation of ballerinas like Marie Taglioni and Fanny Elssler were famous for their slim, graceful figures. And the tide turned very quickly -- look at how much thinner the next generation of ballerinas like Anna Pavlova, Olga Spessivtseva, etc were.

Alexandra Danilova:

http://41.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lmp2uhOF9j1qa70eyo1_500.png

Olga Spessivsteva:

http://viola.bz/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Olga-Spessivtseva-9-500x670.jpg

Anna Pavlova:

http://www.russianballethistory.com/AnnaDyingSw.jpg

Furthermore, Tamara Karsavina goes into some detail about how Mathilde K watched her weight and dieted when the season began. This involved not eating or drinking anything all day and only eating a sandwich at night. So it seems as if weight was always an issue in ballet, even when the pictures show another picture.

With that being said, several ballerinas have said that Peter Martins is very blunt about asking them to lose weight. I think the NYCB in general is very strict about weight, and the merciless performing schedule is definitely not for everyone.

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This may be a bit off topic but changing body types is not limited to ballet. Look at today's baseball players compared to those from different eras. Look at how the average height of the tennis pro has changed. Lots of factors contribute to this.

As far as NYCB and weight goes, I have no inside knowledge but I don't think the dancers there are thinner than in other companies. It's funny, a French friend of mine loves NYCB because he sees more variety in body type in NYCB than in POB.

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If NYCB is so accepting of other body types, then why won't they rehire Kathryn Morgan? She has excellent technique, artistry, musicality, and performance experience. Further, they have invested so much in her development as a professional. And yet......nothing.

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I don't think NYCB is accepting of other body types. The women are required to be extremely thin. The only variation in body type is that they permit dancers to have broad shoulders, short necks or short torsos, but the weight still has to be within a certain range. I think they have a double standard, though, as far as the men. The weight of the men does not seem to be so scrutinized.

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From what I recall having read about Kathryn Morgan (I was too young to have seen her live) and as beautiful a dancer as she is, she also benefitted from her strong classical technique in a company where many dancers at the time did not have that foundation.

However, In my opinion, NYCB's corps is currently an embarrassment of riches. Unity Phelan and Ashley Hod were adorable in Agon and I can't wait to see Indiana Woodward in a Balanchine principal role. Additionally, it seems like Lauren Lovette, whom I also love (pardon the pun) watching, has adopted a significant amount of Morgan's rep. Unfortunately, it seems like NYCB just doesn't have the need anymore, as stunning a dancer as Morgan is.

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How can a company not have a "need" for a technically gifted and artistic and experienced dancer like Morgan? I saw both Lovette and Morgan dance, and, Lovette does not hold a candle to her----in my opinion. But...Lauren doesn't have any weight issues.

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If NYCB is so accepting of other body types, then why won't they rehire Kathryn Morgan? She has excellent technique, artistry, musicality, and performance experience. Further, they have invested so much in her development as a professional. And yet......nothing.

There could have been many reasons they didn't rehire her. I wouldn't jump to the conclusion it was purely weight. She was kept on the roster for a while during her health issues even though she couldn't perform. Hiring in a ballet company is complicated. There are budget considerations, the needs of the company in terms of rep, etc. etc. Choices have to be made. Let's say you are a director and you have to pick - Kathryn Morgan back as a soloist (wonderful dancer of questionable health) or 2 new apprentices who you think can be developed. I might not like the AD's decision but I get that there are a lot of factors. ADs do not get to hire every dancer they like.

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I can only think of one reason they didn't rehire her -- weight. Her disease is in control, evidenced by her recent activities in the dance world. While I do not disagree with hiring apprentices who have the potential to be developed, ignoring Kathryn's assets as a dancer is a flaw in judgment. Having watched her perform would convince anyone of this.

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