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Former SAB student goes Top 40


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Vanessa Carlton

She was in the distinguished 97 class at SAB but according to all her press "ballet chewed me up and spit me out"

She's got a record out and on the Top 40 countdown, but her less than flattering image of ballet won't win many fans over or put parents fears to rest either.

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Sounds like a book and TV movie may be brewing. This is America's favorite ballet story, I think -- the anti-ballet story. That's why the Kirkland books were such hits, as much as anything, IMO. (And hits with publishers. There have been several minor memoirs with the "ballet hurt me" theme.)

All best, of course, on Ms. Carlton's recording career smile.gif

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Well, here's to Ms. Carlton and I hope her album does well, but I'm not sure I would contrast the recording industry with ballet and say it was fairer to the people in it. . .it seems to me she went from one highly competitive field to another and this time she had better fortune.

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Unfortunately, since the recording industry is so much more prominent and entrenched in American society than the ballet industry, you know who the teeming millions will be siding with. Most people [dancers notwithstanding], lacking a thorough knowledge of ballet or dance will more easily sympathise with Vanessa Carlton's negative experiences. Contrast that with the relatively positive ballet experiences of other SAB grads: Abi Stafford's rapid rise at NYCB is a good example. Most people can't tell an apprentice from a corps dancer from a soloist from a principal, or their respective roles from each other, and so they experience no vicarious jubilation from finding out that Ms. Stafford--or anybody--was recently promoted from corps to soloist [unless of course they know them personally;)]. Eating disorders, competition, and tyrannical directors are all commonplace in the Big World, or at least have very similar counterparts. And I can't speak for everyone, but Americans have a strange obsession with observing and discussing the pathologies of people they do not know and will probably never meet. [How else do you explain the popularity of Temptation Island, Survivor, and Big Brother, to say nothing of tabloid spreads of makeup-less celebs?] We seem to lack the same sense of voyeurism about others' more positive experiences.

Anyway, now that I've worked myself up into a tizzy, I must admit I am terribly curious about exactly how SAB went about chewing her up and spitting her out. Who were her teachers? her classmates? Did she perform in any workshops?

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I went and checked out Vanessa's website just to see what she was up to album-wise. On her homepage are various publicity photographs for her album, but also one great photo of her in a swan lake pose on attitude.

The last time I went to Macy's in San Francisco, the junior's department music video TV was as usual blaring out various artists' works. I recognized Vanessa's face on the TV from her web photos. She was singing and playing a grand piano that was on the flatbed of a speeding truck. Interesting. I congratulate her on making the initial break into the recording industry, but to me her singing sounded just like everyone else's in that genre ... but then again, I'm not really into that kind of music so I shouldn't say! :) Much luck to her.

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I actually bought the CD, not bad.

But in her liner notes, she thanks those that" taught her to dance" Stanley Williams, Lourdes Lopez, Gelsey Kirkland and I'm blanking on the others....

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In her note, she thanks Nenette Cherisse, Talara Ruth and Willie Burman also for teaching her to dance. At least she did mention her dance background. ;) All in all, not a bad singer and piano player.

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Guest BA2's Mom

I listened to an interveiw she did last Sunday on the "Top 40" show and she proclaimed that music was allways her 1st love.

She said that she left home (she lived in New York State)at age 14 to train.

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