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Fouettes: why don't men do them more often?

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Recently I came upon a YouTube video of Kenneth Greve performing a long turning sequence from Harold Landers' Etudes.

After a minute or so of almost non-stop pirouettes (both to the left and right), he begins a 32-fouettes sequence. (Meanwhile, the 4 female dancers have been performing pique pirouettes around the stage. Then 6 women line up behind him to mirror his fouettes.)

This got me thinking: Why does one see so little in the way of bravura fouette-ing by men in classical ballet? Are there other important instances of it in classical ballet?

Can anyone help?

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He's so tall, too -- I think the Nureyev bio said he was 6'6". He's certainly taller than any of the women on pointe. His turns were so centered. He had a little bit of travel towards the end of the fouettes, but the rest could have bored a hole in the ground.

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Greve's height would probably explain some of the weighty, deliberative quality of the movement as compared to many small women, for example. But it's an incredibly impressive move, possibly because of the dancer's size and sheer physical presence. His visual weight. A kind of physical gravitas. I assume that is why it is in the ballet and contrasted to the identical step as performed by the smaller, zippier women who move around him and behind him almost like May flies.

It is quite a contrast to, for example, Makarova doing fouettes as Odile. It certainly creates a different "character."

I would think that more choreographers would employ this -- even if not the full sequence of 32. Or do they -- and I've just missed it?

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bart, in current renditions (perhaps in the past as well, but I was not around) of Petipa/Ivanov, men do not do consecutive tour fouettes. It may be used as a connecting step from one place to another, but not as a piece in choreography as one would find for women. Men in the upper levels of Vaganova schooling do not train this movement at all in the centre of the class. It will be given at the barre single and/double at 45 and 90 degrees as well as finishing in poses (leg side, front or back as well as with epaulement). The men can do them in the centre of the room, just as the ladies can do consecutive tours in 2nd position (something they also never study). :thumbsup: Choreography has been a major influence in the development of schooling.

I know the choreography is Etudes, but this example looks unmusical and lethargic to me, male and ladies alike. :blink: Not to insult, just an opinion. When done musically, I am able to enjoy this section of Etudes however, when not... :clapping:

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Thanks for that information, vrsfanatic.

I can't help wondering how this "division of labor" in the classical rep developed. When the first multiple fouette turns were inserted into choreography, they were danced by women, I believe. Was there some sort of feeling that this was a "feminine" step? That it wasn't fair for men to steal it from the women?

Looking back at the video, in the light of vrsfanatic's comments, there does seem to be a sluggishness to the fouettes. What captures the eye is the fact that they are being done at all, not that they work well in this context.

I wonder how other lighter, faster, smaller dancers have done them and whether they "work" or not.

Choreography has been a major influence in the development of schooling.

This could be the topic of a thread -- or a book! -- all on its own. :clapping:

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Gut feeling tells me that it stems from women's being on pointe. A man on demipointe has a larger contact with the floor, aiding balance, so can do multiple pirouettes a la seconde. I don't think, when Petipa gave Odile 32 fs, that he anticipated the multiples and other flourishes the gals would insert some decades later. A series of singles allowed her to plie and, if necessary, adjust her alignment. So for pirouettes in sequence, it seems that one kind was given to each sex according to the footwear.

We sometimes see a fouette as part of a turn sequence for men, and of course, ballerinas do isolated pirouettes a la seconde fairly often.

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This could be the topic of a thread -- or a book! -- all on its own.

Actually this is discussed quite well in a book at length in the introduction of Nikolai Tarasov's Ballet Technique for the Male Dancer and a bit in Kostrovitskaya/Pisarev's School of Classical Ballet.

As for the division of labor, I do not know, but it may be something that remains difficult to understand in today's society. :clapping: I am a bit old fashioned in value systems in many ways. :wink:

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