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Veronika Part on the David Letterman Show July 9

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This is the third time I start to re-write this, having erased the other two way-too-long posts. I'm trying to define why was I so non satisfied with the show...

A lot of things can be said back and forth , but I came out with a better idea: KEY WORDS...

So, forgive me if I'm not explicit enough, but I'l try to do my best. Here I go...

High vs. low standards, language barrier, little on-air time, cultural issue, profits, average public concept, Swan Lake/drama/betrayal/jump/mat/suicide/giggling/, ABT-money, Letterman-money, Part-money, plans, productions, actresses, Maryl Streep, Sophie's Choice, giggling?!?!, giggling, Paris Hilton, beautiful, runaway nameless models, public education, Lorena Feijoo, Giselle, TV show, charm, high vs. low standards-(yes, again), cultural issue, films, numbers, today, silly comedies, millions, quality cinema, non existent, giggling, Harry Potter, ballet, spiritual, grand, mistery, ballet mocking, vulgar, sick and tired...

and then, I could be on and on and on...but better not...

I don't mean to go against nobody's opinion in particular...I just think it was my time to ask to "agree to disagree"

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Her appearance surely garnered a lot of new ballet fans.


This is my last post about this subject; I've posted far too much about this subject already. However, the opportunity for a ballerina to be on national tv is a huge deal, period. Believe me -- I know how hard it is to get people --even famous people -- on national media, and particularly national tv (as this is what I do for a living).

What's not to like? Even if just one more person became interested in ballet after this interview (and Dave did show those gorgeous photos of Veronika), that's enough.

And I repeat: Veronika Part was utterly charming with Dave. She made the best of the few minutes she got (since she's a "no-name" guest except to ballet fans, she would never have gotten more than a few minutes. The fact that she was booked at all was a small miracle. Daniel Radcliffe, on the other hand, is a huge movie star. He would get more minutes, and would always be a first guest. It's probably even written into his contract. That's tv. That's advertising -- adverters will pay more for "big" name guests.).

End of explanation.

Kudos again to Veronika Part, ABT, David Letterman and his staff for booking this lovely ballerina.

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since she's a "no-name"

That is totally circumstantial, and it basically belongs to the "to who" concept. I know MANY people for which Plato is a "no-name".

The fact that she was booked at all was a small miracle.

Umm...after being booked at the Mariinsky, where CERTAINLY NOT EVERYBODY GOES, a TV show definitely looks smaller to me. It's an honor, and a truly shame if the happening of it is considered a miracle.(Not to you, Deborah, but to whoever brings the much needed money for Letterman and even Part to survive and live)

Daniel Radcliffe, on the other hand, is a huge movie star.

Again, circumstancial...again, to some...certainly not to me, and I think I might not be alone...

That's TV. That's advertising -- advertisers will pay more for "big" name guests.

I know, I know...definitely agree on this 100 %. In other words, "IT'S BUSINESS AS USUAL"

End of explanation.

Same here. Peace out ! :thanks:

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Christian, I can understand your side and DeborahB's. As the EW blog entry alluded to, there was a time when "high" and "low" arts mixed often and easily. Ashton appeared on the Dick Cavett Show, Alonso and other ballet dancers appeared on The Bell Telephone Hour and two American kids Eddie and Patty performed Balanchine on The Ed Sullivan Show. Even in the 60s and 70s, defectors had novelty and Balanchine's beauties graced the pages of Vogue and Bazaar.

Those days are long, long gone in the United States, unfortunately (although we do sometimes get a ballet dancer in fashion mags). In Russia, ballet is regularly shown on TV. Major premieres at the Mariinsky and Bolshoi and in France at POB are highlighted on news shows. Even in England, Darcey Bussell became a crossover star, regularly appearing on popular talk shows. Here -- we're lucky to get a ballet shown on PBS once every two years and maybe a dancer on Charlie Rose occasionally. I wish it was different. Maybe shows like SYTYCD and Dancing with the Stars will bring dance back to the popular forum.

Mostly due to the passion of Mendez and the respect he is held by his boss, a ballet dancer appeared on a popular late night talk show in 2009. It probably helped that it was summer time, too.

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I went over the the Letterman show website to see if I could find Part's interview and found this:

Thursday, July 9

Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince)

Veronika Part / Levon Helm (American Ballet Theatre) / (CD, "Electric Dirt")

As a singer, Levon Helm is one of my favorites, but as a ballet dancer... :lol:

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I'm explaining national tv, which I do know. Veronika Part is a no-name to these demographics (and especially to the advertisers). And Plato wouldn't get booked on national tv either (at least not easily. That is very sad too, but it is what it is). You wouldn't believe how many worthy artists don't have a prayer of getting on national tv (especially late night tv). Hollywood celebs are the rule here; second are major musical groups. This is just a fact. Daniel Radcliffe IS a huge star. That's not circumstantial either, but how it is (although honestly, I'm not a Harry Potter fan, even though I did the PR on one or two of the Harry Potter books for Jo's publisher. I also haven't seen one of the movies. But young Mr. Radcliffe did a terrific job in "Equus" which I happend to see in London).

Perhaps you don't watch national tv much (and I don't blame you for this. So much of it is less-than-great) so you don't know who is usually on.

I'm not criticizing Ms. Part; I think she's wonderful. It's just the reality of national media. And again -- kudos to Dave and his producers for having her on.

I admire your passion (and I actually share it); I think it would be wonderful if artists of all kinds were featured on national media more regularly -- but that's just not the case (again, b/c of ad dollars).

Finally, national media exposure for ABT, NYCB or any ballet company IS a blessing (national tv numbers alone are in the milliions)..

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Question for Letterman watchers: does he behave this way often with young women or guests from fields outside his comfort zone? or is it something Part herself seems to have brought out in him?

Dave Letterman is a big kisser of the lady's hand, bart. He does it all the time. Likewise does he show his admiration for all beautiful female guests.

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That said, everyone else must have watched DL before, because you all gave him more credit for his behavior toward his guests than I can. I think he was boring and NOT funny and it seems to me he showed up for work and was just putting in his time. My observation was that he couldn't have cared less about his guests......So no shooting, please ....

Not shooting, just saying. :lol: Letterman never just puts in the time. What you saw as negative behaviour is his perpetual behaviour and why he is such a successful late-night host. Consider the hour the show airs. It's for a laid back time of day, many watch the show in bed, and Letterman often acts like a kid, reflecting everyone's need to relax and unwind.

If you should chance to see him when his guests are politicians or representing serious issues or world problems, he becomes a very serious interviewer, only tossing in jibes if appropriate to ease tension. I respect him for his knowledge of so many things (we're the same age, he's just 2 months older than I am) in areas in which I am sorely lacking, such as American politics, the current wars, sports, and big social issues. Either he is already knowledgeable or he does his homework very well.

He cares very much about his guests and is able to elicit good conversation from the majority of them. His kind of funny is an acquired taste. It took me awhile. My husband tuned into the show for a few years before I began to like it.

Letterman could have done much worse with Veronika. He showed respect for her throughout. Since you've never seen the show before, I do understand your reaction.

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Oh, I know, I know...and I do apologize, Deborah if I sounded too harsh...(and this is WITH my own language limitations...you should see me arguing in Spanish!! :P ).

Again, I do recognize that a step has been made. I came to the US in 2001, and this is the first time I see a ballerina on national TV. Agree with the hope that this might open some other doors.

You were right. I do not watch TV...I don't even own a TV. I watch my ballet on my laptop, so I also want to thank BT for giving the hint on Miss Part appearance. I went over my mum's to see it. Frustration comes at the knowledge that Veronika Part, one of the most exquisite current exponents of one of the most beautiful art expressions in history gets way less coverage than Paris Hilton or Tara Reid...

BTW, thanks Tony-(Mendez)-for initiating all this. Your exquisite sister-(RIP Miss Josefina Mendez)-must be smiling up there...good job! :lol:

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Having now seen the whole interview, I thought the best was at the end, appropriately enough, when the two of them got up and did a few moves together, and we -- and I think, anyone still reasonably observant, given the late hour when the show is broadcast -- could see the contrast between the ways they moved. As DeborahB has been telling us (thanks for the behind-the-scenes glimpses), this is all thought out to some extent in advance, and I thought these last moments were the ones which showed the audience something of what is distinctive about ballet: The disciplined and graceful stylization of the movement. And so I also was a little disappointed that Part did not complete the second pose she started to make.

The movement in the performance clip, nicely repeated after the end of the interview, is on another level altogether; I enjoyed that glimpse myself, and I'm glad the large, presumably unfamiliar audience saw it. Twice. In case they didn't believe it the first time! But to see her get up out of her chair and start to move that special way provided a link to and a contrast with everyday movement.

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Well, I just had the distinct pleasure of watching the first several minutes (all I could get) on low speed internet, two seconds at a time (ten seconds in between). This is devotion!

I haven't had a chance to read the latest comments here, but to me, she is coming across so far as being Absolutely Charming and Glamorous. Her responses are minimal, but seem very much aware. The initial video clip, a picture and David Letterman, who is doing most of the talking, have already given several very good reasons, beyond what you seen on the show, to explain exactly what a special person Veronika Part is. It doesn't really seem necessary at all for her to say much more.

She seems very likable (I would say 'Lovable'), alive and believable. I think that she is doing beautifully and look forward to seeing the rest within a few day when my high speed is supposed to be connected.

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Wouldn't it be fabulous if Dave himself hazarded a visit to the ballet as a result of meeting Ms. Part? In fact ABT should probably send him a couple of comp tickets for the fall season in something featuring Ms. Part and perhaps he would comment on the experience on the show. Better yet, Tony could accompany him and explain what he was about to see.

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Wouldn't it be fabulous if Dave himself hazarded a visit to the ballet as a result of meeting Ms. Part? In fact ABT should probably send him a couple of comp tickets for the fall season in something featuring Ms. Part and perhaps he would comment on the experience on the show. Better yet, Tony could accompany him and explain what he was about to see.

It's a great idea, Barbara but Dave is more than a bit of a recluse. He rarely goes to anything in NYC (he did attend "The Color Purple" with Oprah as part of his wooing of Oprah to finally come on his show. Long story). But Kelly Ripa, Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb. and a host of other national media personalities DO attend both ABT and NYCB.

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It is interesting how far reaching an appearance on Letterman is--I was at a physical therapy session today, and was talking to someone with an injured foot about high heels, and someone else piped in saying he had seen a ballet dancer on Letterman and was surprized that she was wearing such high heels (about 6 inches he said)--but he was very impressed by her!

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Now that I've had a chance to see the whole segment through a couple more times -- hang in there, Buddy! -- I have my further thoughts: Letterman keeps bringing up two themes, It's hard and Is it painful?. That touched a sore spot with me -- isn't this too often the emphasis in popular promotion of ballet? Doesn't it direct people's attention to the wrong places? How about more emphasis on grace and beauty and how the movement goes with the music and so on? What do the rest of you think? Do you watch with concentration on the difficulty, watching for slips or evidence of strain, or do you enjoy the beauty and wonder of it?

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I think you're reading far too much into this. Letterman complemented Part on several occasions for her grace, her athleticism and her ability. Bringing up the painful element of dancing is no different from questioning an athlete on injury, pain and endeavour - instead of reading a sinister overtone into what are completely innocent harmless questions, isn't it great that a ballerina is being asked those questions on Letterman rather than Serena Williams, Michael Phelps or Rafael Nadel?

I think it's important that everyone stop focussing on the negative and what "should" have been but be happy that for the first time in decades a wonderful ballerina was given a huge nationwide audience to promote her art form by just being herself. In terms of marketing for ballet Part probably did more in those six minutes for ballet than the entire combined marketing budgets of all the large, mid scale and small ballet companies in the US.

And this is the thing to remember, no one likes ballet, no one of course we do, but in terms of the wider public consciousness its silly, elitist, boring, anachonistic, self regarding and exclusory, precious and snobbish and not worth taking notice of - and then there was the wonderful Veronika Part who in six minutes proved herself to be none of those things and by proxy ballet too.

I agree with Farrell fan that I doubt she's made a huge longterm impact on new ballet fans, but I'd be willing to bet that for a good few months at least ticket sales for ballet companies throughout the US, and especially at ABT for Part's performances will take a distinct and dramatic upturn.

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Okay, I know I'm a pessimist by habit -- but I'm a true pessimist: I'm pessimistic about my pessimism. I may be wrong! Maybe, overall, her appearance brought more high regard for what we value. We can always hope. But ballet as athletics? I still wince at that.

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...just a little addition to this-(I know, I said I was done with the subject, but I can't hold my fingers...). My BIGGEST complain is just how...uninteresting were Letterman's questions. If this whole thing is previewed by both the interviewer and the interviewee, then the choice of questions wasn't quite right. Even if Part is not that language-fluent, even if Letterman is not a ballet connosseur, even it the audience is "average"...something more exciting could have been said...(like even mentioning/promoting some current/future performances). A BIG plus would have been to have presented a fragment-(just like they do with THE MUST of the guests, either actors or ahtletes, of let's say Veronika's Odile doing the 32 fouettes. I don't think that would have taken that long, and I BET it would have been A PLUS for the audience, even for the average one. (Hell, it STILL does wonders to me...).

Just a thought...

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Cristian, do you mean you would have had her present "the 32" there in the studio? They did show a clip with her about as light and airborne as she likely gets without a porteur; for the few seconds it lasted, I thought it was a very good taste of ballet's distinctive aerial quality, which sets it apart from other theatrical and show dancing. Sometimes a run of fouettes looks more like a stunt. (Sorry, but sometimes I'm reminded that we can only disagree if we care about the same thing...)

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Cristian -- I said I was done with this too (LOL).

All I can say is that having a ballerina on national tv is a minor miracle.

She's not the star -- Letterman is/was (and Daniel Radcliffe etc.).

And again, Ms. Part was charming and Dave was charmed by her.

I'm sorry but there's just too much nit-picking going on here.

Having Ms. Part on was a wonderful gift to ABT (and to her).

I suggest we just be happy for ABT, and for Ms. Part ,and hope that this opens doors to for more dancers to appear on national tv.

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