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Sergei Polunin

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It will be interesting to see if his London project gets dropped too.  I understand that he has made tweets encouraging his followers "to slap" fat people.  In a strict reading of the law that can be construed as Incitement to Violence, it is sufficient reason to revoke his visa.

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While a disagree with Poulin's perspective,  it also appears that what contributes to his problems are a lack of education and skill in appropriately voicing an opinion, a lack of filter, not understanding the power of making inflammatory statements on Instagram as a public figure, and a lack of understanding the world outside of a Soviet perspective in 2018.  

Wasn't Ratmansky "caught" with some similar misogynistic statements?  And I don't believe he lost choreography jobs over his statements? 

Edited by balletforme

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49 minutes ago, balletforme said:

 Wasn't Ratmansky "caught" with some similar misogynistic statements?  And I don't believe he lost choreography jobs over his statements? 

Ratmansky's statement came off (to me) as upholding traditional male/female roles in ballet specifically. He also did not insult anyone. I'd say he sounded, at worst, old-fashioned. I personally have been lukewarm on the same-sex partnering I've seen so far, and have found it to work better for men (not surprisingly, as they train in how to partner and are generally stronger), so maybe I'm old-fashioned too.

Polunin is making statements about humanity at large, and being derogatory and inflammatory in the process ("Men, what's wrong with you? [...] You are an embarrassment. [...] Need a good slap!").

Edited by mille-feuille

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Was Ratmansky talking about ballet in general, or was he talking about classical ballet, which was created/choreographed with those norms?

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57 minutes ago, mille-feuille said:

Polunin is making statements about humanity at large, and being derogatory and inflammatory in the process ("Men, what's wrong with you? [...] You are an embarrassment. [...] Need a good slap!").

Indeed.

"Man up" — "there is already a ballerina on stage don't need to be two" — "That's a reason you got balls" — "Females now trying take on the man role because you don't **** them"

Disgusting.

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2 hours ago, balletforme said:

it also appears that what contributes to his problems are a lack of education and skill in appropriately voicing an opinion, a lack of filter, not understanding the power of making inflammatory statements on Instagram as a public figure, and a lack of understanding the world outside of a Soviet perspective in 2018. 

Many dancers have a lack of formal education, but don't have his problems with saying the wrong thing.

It just isn't much of an excuse, or even a viable explanation (I don't think you were trying to excuse his behavior).

He's 29 and moved to the UK at 13. He is old enough to know better, and if he doesn't understand the world outside of a soviet perspective, well that says very little for him as he's been exposed to it for most of his life.

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Exactly! If an old tweet pops up of someone saying something offensive as a teenager, I try to forgive and move on, as teenagers don’t have fully developed frontal lobes and usually have very little experience with the larger world. From a 29 year old man who has seen more of the world than most people I can’t excuse his words as ignorance. 

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On 1/5/2019 at 12:13 AM, cubanmiamiboy said:

And considering how strong Russian nationalism has become during Putin's era, his political views-(him being Ukranian)- sounds pretty appalling to his countrymen.

A series of performances which were to have taken place in October at the National Opera of Ukraine were canceled over the summer. And that was before his posts became completely bizarre. More recently I noticed that large numbers of (perhaps most) National Ballet of Ukraine dancers had "unfollowed" his Instagram account.

On 1/13/2019 at 1:55 PM, Mashinka said:

It will be interesting to see if his London project gets dropped too.  I understand that he has made tweets encouraging his followers "to slap" fat people.  In a strict reading of the law that can be construed as Incitement to Violence, it is sufficient reason to revoke his visa.

The photoshopped image of Queen Elizabeth on his Instagram also won't help.

On 1/13/2019 at 7:58 PM, McJagger said:

Good for Dupont. It's a strong stand in the face of offensive comments.

She really had no choice, given the public outcry, which included public criticism by POB dancers. Where was her due diligence before the invitation was made? It may not be needed for 99% of dancers, but Polunin's bad reputation didn't materialize out of thin air.

https://twitter.com/Adriencvz/status/1083341787761205248

Edited by volcanohunter

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I understand the UK gutter press has picked up on his antics, I'll be interested to see how the more responsible areas of the media here treat the story.

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I googled David LaChapelle because he was behind what has been Polunin's biggest success and I be interested to know what he thought of all this. Wikipedia said he was gay! One wonders how he feels about Polunin's posts.

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1 hour ago, Mashinka said:

I understand the UK gutter press has picked up on his antics, I'll be interested to see how the more responsible areas of the media here treat the story.

The NYT has an article by Roslyn Sulcas.

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2 hours ago, California said:

Have to wonder if Berlin will keep him on the schedule.

Is it Berlin or Munich?

Just a few months ago Polunin starred in LaChapelle’s “Make Love, Not Walls” campaign for Diesel. He also used to have a tattoo of the Ukrainian trident on his hand. He doesn’t seem to have long lasting or strong convictictions.  

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On 1/3/2019 at 5:45 PM, canbelto said:

He is voicing an opinion that is simply not supported by facts.

Gender is an identity, but we now know that there are many babies born who are in fact intersex. They might be genetically male but present as having more female genitals, and vice versa. There is the well-known cases of East German women who after artitficial hormone injections began to talk, walk, and look like men. 

And bringing it back to the arts in nearly EVERY CULTURE there is a vibrant arts tradition of gender-fluid entertainment. 

In Chinese (Peking) opera tradition, the prima diva role is almost always taken by a dan, which is a male trained from childhood to impersonate the voice and mannerisms of a female. One of the most famous was Mei Lang Fang, who also was the father of 11 children offstage.

In Western operas there are the travesti/trouser roles, and also the castrati fetish. Castrati were supposed to have combined the purity of the female soprano with the raw power of a real tenor. They were also adored for their androgynous looks. In ballet Sir Frederick Ashton played a lot with gender bending -- there's La fille mal gardee, the stepsisters in Cinderella. In older ballets there's Madge in La Sylphide, or Carabosse in Sleeping Beauty where traditionally both males and females can take on these roles.

Even "ballet is woman" George Balanchine made a number of ballets where the female was dominant and almost predatory, like Prodigal Son, Agon or Four Temperaments. 

So basically Polunin is simply factually wrong.

First of all, gender is not "an identity," it's a cultural construct. 

Second, a "dan" is a ROLE, it has nothing to do with the sex or gender of the performer. You can have a dan who has identified as male since birth (like Mei Lanfang), or a dan who has identified as female since birth (like a great many dan in the modern era). Women were, from the 18th century on (until the 20th century), BANNED from Chinese stages, so you had no choice BUT to have men playing "women's" roles until the mid-20th century (when women started playing dan roles again). Yes, Mei Lanfang was one of the "great four dan," he also had a lot of reasons for throwing about his masculinity (if interested, please look at Joshua Goldstein's fabulous monograph, _Drama Kings_, published by UC Press). 

And please don't conflate "Chinese opera" with "Peking opera." Peking opera itself (never mind its status as "the" Chinese opera) is a relatively recent invention. If we're going to bow our heads to anything as "Chinese opera," it should be kunqu, or as it's often called in Chinese - "Mother of a hundred [styles of] opera."

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6 hours ago, l'histoire said:

First of all, gender is not "an identity," it's a cultural construct.

It seems reasonable to think that many aspects of our identities are culturally constructed, so why should it be just one or the other?

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On 1/16/2019 at 7:22 AM, nanushka said:

It seems reasonable to think that many aspects of our identities are culturally constructed, so why should it be just one or the other?

Because there is one "truth" for each individual. Some are factual...some are not . Identities are very intertwined with feelings, and we all know that "facts don't care about your feelings".

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16 hours ago, cubanmiamiboy said:

Because there is one "truth" for each individual. Some are factual...some are not . Identities are very intertwined with feelings, and we all know that "facts don't care about your feelings".

Sorry, I don't follow — not sure what you mean by this, nor how this is an answer to the particular question I was asking (i.e. if something is culturally constructed why could it not also be "an identity").

Edited by nanushka

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Seems that his long time supporter. Igor Zelensky has issued a press release that appears to support Polunin and confirms his upcoming performances in Munich will go ahead.  How the dancers will feel about this I don't know, I imagine German audiences are too good mannered to boo him but although he has taken down the highly offensive posts there is still no sign of an apology.

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2 hours ago, Mashinka said:

Seems that his long time supporter. Igor Zelensky has issued a press release that appears to support Polunin and confirms his upcoming performances in Munich will go ahead.  How the dancers will feel about this I don't know, I imagine German audiences are too good mannered to boo him but although he has taken down the highly offensive posts there is still no sign of an apology.

I think he only removed the one about slapping fat people.

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I can’t imagine he’d apologize, because he has newer posts where he tries to convey the same opinions in a slightly sanitized way. (Not sure if his Keanu Reeves post is still there. Poor Keanu, it probably wasn’t even his words). It will be interesting to see how other dancers react to dancing with him. I’ve seen plenty in the U.S. expressing their disgust (with his words—not having to dance with him).

Edited by AB'sMom
Clarity

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19 hours ago, cubanmiamiboy said:

Because there is one "truth" for each individual. Some are factual...some are not . Identities are very intertwined with feelings, and we all know that "facts don't care about your feelings".

Legally, at least in the US, Canada, much of Western Europe, and in other parts of the world, a person gets to declare their gender identity and to be treated as that declared gender, albeit with some aspects of jurisdiction, medical insurance plan, etc.  And legally, a person doesn't have to justify that declaration, as long as they meet age and, sometimes, mental health criteria for changing their documentation and qualifying for medical treatment.  The trickier issues are where there is government-required binary gender selection options, without allowing people to opt out and get whatever they are applying for.

Factually speaking, an outsider's religious or social beliefs of gender identity doesn't change that, and wherever there is a profession that requires licensing, the practitioners are responsible for upholding the licensing rules and principles with regard to declared gender.

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Unless comments/likes on social media were written by a ballet professional, they are not for discussion here.  If social media is public-facing, there's nothing stopping anyone from going directly to the source and reading the posts and comments. 

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