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Nina Ballerina - "WHAT did she say?"


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Unintentional hilarity yesterday at ABT's Spotlight Seminar with Nina. Someone asked her where she got those beautiful arms for "Swan Lake" and Nina explained that she originally made small arm movements, and then had to do big arm movements to suit the Bolshoi style. She eventually decided to use the arm movements from "The Dying Swan". She said something like, "I can use the other - it's a Fokine swan."

And the woman behind me gasped and said to her companion, 'WHAT did she say?!?"

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Well, I'd imagine the name Fokine just lends itself to that sort of thing.

You may have seen the recent Saturday Night Live sketch involving a commercial for a furniture store called "Sofa King". You can take it from there, or find clips of it on other sites.

When I was a kid, there was much hilarity about the plane flown by Manfred von Richthofen, the "Red Baron". We first learned about him in the comic strip "Peanuts". Snoopy imagined he was in a dogfight with the Red Baron, pitting Snoopy's Sopwith Camel against the Red Baron's (ahem) Fokker Triplane.

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There are stories of the early ABT days (I think I got this from Charles Payne's ABT book) where the "Russians went around saying Fokin' this and Fokin' that" and the Americans found it hysterical, to the Russians' puzzlement (and probably distress).

Nothing to do with Fokine :) but I have a "what did she say!" comment for you. At a performance of Roland Petit's "Proust" here several years ago, the woman behind me whispered to her companion -- as luck would have it, of course, during a moment in the orchestra when the instruments decided to take a 5-second break -- "What's Proust French for?" What indeed?

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LOL! This reminds me of an anecdote (not ballet-related though) from one of Oscar Levant's books. To advertise for an upcoming concert (1930s or 40s?) at their summer home Robin Hood Dell, the Philadelphia Orchestra put up a ginormous banner: "MITROPOULOS - FUCHS" (Dmitri Mitropoulos, cond. & Joseph Fuchs, vln) Maybe they should have put "FUCHS" first?? Nah, it still sounds bad!

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When I was in college at Rutgers, there was a furniture store in New Brunswick. Fuch's Furniture. And their slogan was "The Most Mispronounced Name in the Furniture Business." Now, there's an owner with a sense of humor.

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