Jump to content
This Site Uses Cookies. If You Want to Disable Cookies, Please See Your Browser Documentation. ×

Kent, Herrera and Reyes to retire during 2015 Spring season


Recommended Posts

LOL!!!!

I'm not sure I would have been that more interested in dancers' breakfasts than I am now, but I've always loved those "on the road" news and book photos. My favorite Balanchine story is how he sat with the dancers and made Christmas ornaments out of orange peels. Today a photo of it would be on Audreygram.

Part of it is that so much of the dance I watched was not glamorpus stuff. I expected full-blooded Amazons and Paul Taylor, Merce Cunningham, Susan Marshall, Mark Morris etc. dancers. I saw my share of tiaras and Wilis, but my expectations about who dancers were were a lot different. Marine van Hamel was my idea of a classical ballerina.

Link to post

Herrera's words might have more weight if she wasn't such a dull, predictable performer. I stopped buying tickets to see her because every Paloma performance was exactly like every other Paloma performance: technically assured, generic, absolutely no interpretation besides stock gestures. The stiffness of her back and arms became a real detriment. So she could do 32 fouettes. Whoop dee doo.

Link to post

Herrera's words might have more weight if she wasn't such a dull, predictable performer. I stopped buying tickets to see her because every Paloma performance was exactly like every other Paloma performance: technically assured, generic, absolutely no interpretation besides stock gestures. The stiffness of her back and arms became a real detriment. So she could do 32 fouettes. Whoop dee doo.

I am sure there are plenty of us who avoid certain artists because we find them incapable of the interpretation we expect to see. Does it mean their thoughts or opinions are devoid of weight?

Link to post

I am sure there are plenty of us who avoid certain artists because we find them incapable of the interpretation we expect to see. Does it mean their thoughts or opinions are devoid of weight?

No, I don't think so. Several dancers I don't enjoy are quite articulate. Listening to them talk about ballet is more interesting than watching them do it.

Herrera was never a favorite of mine either. Her port de bras were the biggest strike against her for me. I also avoided her performances, although if she had experienced artistic growth during the past 5-6 years I wouldn't have known about it. I can't deny her experience or accomplishments, I admire her loyalty and integrity, so I think what she has to say deserves attention. I can relate to it on some level. She began to feel like a "dinosaur" within her home company; I increasingly feel like a dinosaur in the audience, out of sync with what a large number, perhaps a majority, of ballet-goers apparently like and want to see. I can even understand what she means when talking about "tarnished" stardom. There are many dancers out there in companies large and small whom I love to watch. But if talk turns to the "stars"--an extremely relative term given the modesty of ballet's popularity, so I'm thinking of those globetrotters with multiple company affiliations, who parachute in to perform with ABT at the Met and/or are fixtures of the international gala circuit--there is almost no one whom I enjoy watching. So I have to ask myself, why are they considered stars? I can’t say whether it’s publicity, but I certainly don’t get it.

Link to post

That's just it. Those extensions render a beautiful back impossible. What I detest the most is a ballerina female member of a ballet company telegraphing to the audience that she's about to do a six-o'clock à la seconde, because her torso gets all twisted out of shape before she's even extended her leg.

Link to post

I thought the part of Herrera's answer that Stuben quoted did take the discussion somewhat beyond dislike of people taking candid backstage shots, though that is where she started.

Here it is with a few more of the sentences that preceded it:

"My career has been so important to me, and I felt I wanted to end it here, to experience it how I wanted to experience it, fully, intensely. That’s how I want to take my leave, before getting mixed up in all this media. Now, if someone makes it you don’t know whether it’s because they really have talent or because the media helped get them there. I don’t want my career to be tarnished by that sort of thing. I don’t have Facebook or Twitter or any of that."

Fernando Bujones on Mikhail Baryshnikov: "Baryshnikov has the publicity. I have the talent." (Reported in People Magazine, 1979.)

Artists have been grousing about other artists' publicity since forever, not to mention about Kids Today.

ETA: Hmmm ... now that I've re-read that People profile, I can't decide if I'm sad or relieved that Bujones didn't have access to Twitter.

Link to post

Herrera talks about media exposure and ties it immediately into social media/self-promotion: "I don't have Facebook or Twitter or any of that."

One of the underlying issues to Bujones statement is something that American dancers, musicians, and conductors raised for a very long time: they were not Russian or European and were not taken as seriously or given their due. (Unless they magically became Russian, like a good portion of the Ballets Russes.) Due to the Cold War, dancers with defection stories made big, mainstream media news. It would, indeed, have been interesting had there been social media around for the 20th century, because it can be a counter-argument *or* a complement to the mainstream media narrative.

I bet Bujones would have had tens of thousands of followers.

Link to post

Re the comment: "stars"--an extremely relative term given the modesty of ballet's popularity.

And to think I just heard a commercial on NY1 this morning for On the Town, "featuring ballet superstar..." who shall remain nameless. Obviously, they didn't promote Megan Fairchild that way.

Link to post

One of the underlying issues to Bujones statement is something that American dancers, musicians, and conductors raised for a very long time: they were not Russian or European and were not taken as seriously or given their due. (Unless they magically became Russian, like a good portion of the Ballets Russes.) Due to the Cold War, dancers with defection stories made big, mainstream media news. It would, indeed, have been interesting had there been social media around for the 20th century, because it can be a counter-argument *or* a complement to the mainstream media narrative.

I bet Bujones would have had tens of thousands of followers.

In Franklin Stevens' "Dance is Life" he discusses this situation. Bujones is at a competition (Varna, maybe -- I can't remember off the top of my head) and wins the gold medal for his cohort, but Baryshnikov is getting all the press in the US as a recent defector. As a cold war defector, and coming toward the end of a line of defectors with incredible training, he would have received the lion's share of attention even if he wasn't as distinctive as he has been.

Re the comment: "stars"--an extremely relative term given the modesty of ballet's popularity.

And to think I just heard a commercial on NY1 this morning for On the Town, "featuring ballet superstar..." who shall remain nameless. Obviously, they didn't promote Megan Fairchild that way.

And nor would they -- the people who are designing the promotion for this show at this time aren't creating that buzz, they're riding on it, like surfers. They'd be fools not to, and they wouldn't deserve to get the job.

Link to post

Re the comment: "stars"--an extremely relative term given the modesty of ballet's popularity.

And to think I just heard a commercial on NY1 this morning for On the Town, "featuring ballet superstar..." who shall remain nameless. Obviously, they didn't promote Megan Fairchild that way.

Her name is Misty Copeland.

Link to post

And nor would they -- the people who are designing the promotion for this show at this time aren't creating that buzz, they're riding on it, like surfers. They'd be fools not to, and they wouldn't deserve to get the job.

Exactly. And while Fairchild is known in NYC, she is not a ballet "superstar": while few of the tourists who make up the bulk of the audience would have heard her name, many would recognize Copeland from "60 Minutes" and "Time Magazine" and the description would be believable, unlike for Fairchild.

There was a big difference promoting Makarova and Kozlova in "On Your Toes."

Link to post

Interesting about Barysnikov and Bujones but I'm not sure it's the equivalent of what's happening today. Russian dancer meant something to a broad audience – like English Shakespearen actor – a certain background and training and pedigree. Plus the Cold War added real newsworthiness.

But social media is a publicity machine that feeds on the purity of numbers (and the tyranny of "influencers"). Take for instance three top dancers of San Franciso ballet who are roughly equal in bricks and mortar audience appeal, Yuan Yuan Tan, Mathilde Froustey and Maria Kochetkova. Tan has 5400 Instagram followers; Froustey has 14.2K and Kochetkova 103K. (For comparison Sara Mearns has 27.8K) Tan does conventional posting, Froustey does serious 6x6 photography of travels in France and at home in San Francisco, while Kochetkova "disrupts" the idea of a serious ballet dancer with Harold Lloyd-like pictures of her tiny self in big shoes or oversized glasses. It's hard to relate the big numbers to what's happening on stage – or does anything really happen on stage anymore? Has the "real" moved on or does it happen on several fronts at once – albeit a bit more thinly? (Herrera says it's lighter in substance.)

Link to post

Yuan Yuan Tan has one major audience, the local audience. Mathilde Froustey has two local audiences. Maria Kochetkova has many audiences from training/dancing in Russia, dancing in companies in England and the US, and doing numerous galas around the world. She is someone who feeds media regularly, which the other two do not and which begets more followers, especially with re-tweets that reach networks of readers.

Link to post

Interesting about Barysnikov and Bujones but I'm not sure it's the equivalent of what's happening today.

I quoted Bujones on Baryshnikov in the context of this quote from the Herrera interview:

"Now, if someone makes it you don’t know whether it’s because they really have talent or because the media helped get them there."

I realize that the quote comes near the end of Herrera's complaints about social media, but the fact that she refers to it as "the media" suggests to me that she's thinking of publicity in general, not just Instagram.

I don't think there's a dancer on earth who has "made it" on the strength of his or her social media profile.

Link to post

I quoted Bujones on Baryshnikov in the context of this quote from the Herrera interview:

"Now, if someone makes it you don’t know whether it’s because they really have talent or because the media helped get them there."

I realize that the quote comes near the end of Herrera's complaints about social media, but the fact that she refers to it as "the media" suggests to me that she's thinking of publicity in general, not just Instagram.

I don't think there's a dancer on earth who has "made it" on the strength of his or her social media profile.

Herrera used the word media, not the term social media, in the above quote. It's clear that she was broadly referencing TV interviews and appearances, magazine articles, books and other media formats, not simply social media like twitter or facebook. When I read her words,her point of reference seemed pretty clear.

Link to post

Herrera's words might have more weight if she wasn't such a dull, predictable performer. I stopped buying tickets to see her because every Paloma performance was exactly like every other Paloma performance: technically assured, generic, absolutely no interpretation besides stock gestures. The stiffness of her back and arms became a real detriment. So she could do 32 fouettes. Whoop dee doo.

To each his own. I liked Herrera in some ballets, but not in others. Not every dancer is suited to every role, but at ABT dancers are forced to do all types of roles regardless of their particular strengths and weaknesses. Since there are now at least 2 principal ballerinas at ABT who struggle to do the iconic 32 fouettes, I think that it is a pleasure to see someone who can make the 32 fouettes look seamless and effortless. Observing those who struggle with it only makes me appreciate even more those who accomplish them with ease and flair. I have no problem going to see someone who has to make changes in the technical elements of the performance, but who brilliantly interprets a role with a high level of artistry. Kent's final SL contained numerous modifications of the choreography, but I was very happy to see it because of her brilliant artistry.

Link to post

This is the quote,

My career has been so important to me, and I felt I wanted to end it here, to experience it how I wanted to experience it, fully, intensely. That’s how I want to take my leave, before getting mixed up in all this media. Now, if someone makes it you don’t know whether it’s because they really have talent or because the media helped get them there. I don’t want my career to be tarnished by that sort of thing. I don’t have Facebook or Twitter or any of that.

She specifically ties "all this media" to social media with her last sentence. If she hadn't qualified her thought with "I don't have Facebook or Twitter or any of that" -- all of which is social media -- or if she had mentioned any of "TV interviews and appearances, magazine articles, book and other media formats" I would agree. Then she would be a hypocrite, because her career, especially her early career, had lots of media coverage and interviews that supported her career. I don't know if she made TV appearances, outside the PBS presentations, because I didn't have a TV during that time.

Link to post

Exactly. And while Fairchild is known in NYC, she is not a ballet "superstar": while few of the tourists who make up the bulk of the audience would have heard her name, many would recognize Copeland from "60 Minutes" and "Time Magazine" and the description would be believable, unlike for Fairchild.

There was a big difference promoting Makarova and Kozlova in "On Your Toes."

Now that you mention it, I remember part of that marketing campaign.

Link to post

Has the "real" moved on or does it happen on several fronts at once – albeit a bit more thinly? (Herrera says it's lighter in substance.)

I think we actually are at a paradigm shift, as far as the balance between private and public life is concerned. The increase in "sharing" personal information with a wide variety of people, and that the communication often happens through a device, rather than face-to-face, is a change that will have major repercussions for quite some time. Alongside that is the assumption that if you're interested in your friend's ideas, you'll be interested in their friends' ideas -- like throwing a stone in the water and watching the ripples open up, this creates a much larger cohort of people who you hear from (and, tangentially, who hear from you). It requires a kind of time and attention that affects other things we do. Herrera and her generation may feel unsettled by this, but when she complains about the person who is posting from backstage, I'm not sure she realizes that a significant number of people who are following along aren't in the theater at all.

In terms of the work being performed, and the dancers performing it, she's had a long career, and has seen a number of shifts in aesthetic -- I'd be curious to hear more from her about that topic than her thoughts on electronic communication.

Link to post

There are a lot of different ways to approach social media. Here is one in a tweet from two hours ago from soprano Elizabeth Caballero, who, among other things, uses social media to keep in contact with colleagues who lead the same traveling life that she does:

In todays social media crazed world, if u ever wonder, "Should I post that?", 9 times out of 10 the answer is NO. #socialmedia101
Link to post

All the comments on BA thus far have been so interesting to read, and I see the pros and cons of all sides. Personally, I am of an age before all this tweets and everything, yet I see my grand children and their friends with heads down 90% of the time, unfortunately, we have to go with the times good or bad. IMO as long as the posts are relevant to the art form then it is a way to get to the interest of the new generation. Perhaps this helps get them to notice ballet a bit more but I may be wrong. On the other hand, IMO, I am not sure of posting a dancer's dog or anything that is not related to the particular artform does much for me smile.png

Link to post
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...