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Misty Copeland

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Misty got two new lead roles in full length ballets this upcoming season - Juliet and O/O. She also picked up the lead in Rodeo. IN contrast, Stella's only new lead role is Ashton's Cinderella, and Sarah Lane has no new lead parts for this upcoming season (having danced SB and T&V for several years). Based on these facts, I can't agree that McKenzie hasn't treated Copeland differently than her peers at the soloist level. Copeland has gained a great deal of traction in the casting recently compared to the other senior soloist females.

I just wanted to reiterate abatt's reply. Yes, Misty has not just gotten O/O but Juliet, in R&J (a part Sarah learned awhile ago but has never performed). She is dancing it at the June 20th matinee. You can see that by looking at the ABT.org website (I don't know if they send you mail). She'll be dancing with Gorak who, based on his partnering skills I've seen, may have a hard time lifting her. Misty also got the lead in Rodeo. Stella has 1 lead in Cinderella and Sarah has 1 partially new Aurora (because it's Ratmansky's). I also find it tragic that Stella, who used to regularly perform Myrtha (but performed a tiny bit as Giselle at Works and Process), has now been reduced to dancing the peasant pas in Act 1. So Misty's casting is definitely more preferential than Sarah or Stella's.

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Just what is she stealing from Stella and Sarah?

Nothing. Her detractors whom cry the mythical race card only want her dancing, at best, corp roles as a soloist or be relegated to modern works like Calvin Royal.

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My impression is that Misty just wants to get ahead, no matter what, no matter how, come hell or high water and she doesn't care at all how she does it.s

I have the same impression. I hear all about her tribulations but barely anything about her actual dancing skills. And the clips of her dancing that are allowed to stay on Youtube have been extremely unimpressive. It is also highly interesting that no record of her recent Swan Lakes are on the web unless her marketing team have released edited versions or staged rehearsal clips.

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Is it really a controversial notion that when it comes to the advancement of black dancers in classical ballet, things are particularly challenging for black women?

Or do people genuinely believe that them liking Calvin Royal means everything is fine?

Because every single time Misty is discussed, people imply that liking black male dancers means the substance of their unending criticism of Misty Copeland has to therefore be logical or fair.

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Tiler and Robbie's engagement/marriage media publicity didn't go on for years; maybe 10 months maximum. But I have to say that by last September I was totally at my limit at hearing about it. "Enough already" was what I was beginning to think. Thankfully, it stopped just around that time.

Tiler Peck has also been on one of those dance reality TV shows. Nobody in classical ballet goes on those shows for artistic credibility.

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Nothing. Her detractors whom cry the mythical race card only want her dancing, at best, corp roles as a soloist or be relegated to modern works like Calvin Royal.

I also would be willing to bet a month's salary that Calvin Royal and Courtney Lavine aren't angry at Misty for highlighting ballet's lack of racial diversity. Courtney has done this as well, albeit on a much smaller scale.

In fact, everything I've read so far, indicates that Misty gets on quite well with her co-workers of ALL colors.

In fact, in interviews, she comes across as incredibly sweet and cheerful despite knowing about the deep anger and resentment some folks feel towards her.

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Misty's coworkers have expressed numerous nice messages on instagram and twitter supporting her during her O/O debut with Washington Ballet. This extended from principals to corps members from ABT.

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Amour, on 28 Apr 2015 - 9:31 PM, said:snapback.png

Tiler and Robbie's engagement/marriage media publicity didn't go on for years; maybe 10 months maximum. But I have to say that by last September I was totally at my limit at hearing about it. "Enough already" was what I was beginning to think. Thankfully, it stopped just around that time.

Tiler Peck has also been on one of those dance reality TV shows. Nobody in classical ballet goes on those shows for artistic credibility.

I think we (as a big group -- the dance community) are feeling conflicted about all this. We want respect and attention from the wider culture, so we try to engage in activities (like social media and reality shows) that will get us noticed. And then when we do, we feel like the desire for attention reflects badly on our legitimacy.

Damned if we do, damned if we don't.

(sorry for the awkward quote bubbles -- they're misbehaving for me this morning)

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I have the same impression. I hear all about her tribulations but barely anything about her actual dancing skills. And the clips of her dancing that are allowed to stay on Youtube have been extremely unimpressive. It is also highly interesting that no record of her recent Swan Lakes are on the web unless her marketing team have released edited versions or staged rehearsal clips.

There are descriptions of her dancing on the performance threads in the ABT forum and the Washington Ballet "Swan Lake" thread. Threads like these in the "Dancers" forum are about the dancers, either meta or details, and threads about polarizing dancers tend to read like this one.

It's not at all interesting that no record of her recent "Swan Lakes" are on the web, because there are five types of clips on the web for any dancer:

1. Self-produced video, often by choreographers

2. Full-performances on DVD, television, and movie/live performances, which are often removed for copyright violation. Promo excerpts can often be found on YouTube.

3. Short promo footage released by the companies

4. Short video footage from news sources from the rare times news outlets care

5. Black or gray market private recordings of live performances. (The Russian companies have allowed some very high quality full performances to be taped within the theater, but that is very rare.)

Since ABT is as forward-thinking in its use of video as it is in website design, there is little footage of any of the dancers unless they perform with other companies.

It is quite common for dancers, choreographer, and companies to link to video footage on which they appear on websites, blog, and social meta, just as it is common for artist management firms to have artists pages with video and audio links. These are almost always short clips.

Because every single time Misty is discussed, people imply that liking black male dancers means the substance of their unending criticism of Misty Copeland has to therefore be logical or fair.

While I think it is ill-advised to respond to the bait when the term "black dancers" is really supposed to mean "black ballerinas," I think it can be perfectly logical to dislike Copeland and like many black male dancers, because there are so many more black male dancers to like or dislike than black ballerinas in America, where many people's experience is binary, due to the small data pool.

To quote a friend, ballet already has long had affirmative action: for boys. It is very possible that if the competition for spots for men were as vicious as it is for women, AD's would never hire/have hired a black male dancer, but that ship has long sailed, because AD's have fewer choices.

There are people who clearly dislike that she has been outspoken and feel this gives her an advantage over other dancers who they feel are more deserving. However, that is not the only option, even if it's repeated. There are people who don't like Copeland's dancing. They would not like her dancing if she had never said a word. They would not like her dancing if she were white. They would not like her dancing if she danced like Margot Fonteyn.

I would like to say that I have seen no other black dancers in any company jumping on the Misty bandwagon. In fact, my impression is that others, especially at ABT (Calvin Royal, for example) want to be distanced from her. As itsthemom wrote a few days ago, other minority dancers want to be judged and given roles based on their dancing not their skin color. My impression is that Misty just wants to get ahead, no matter what, no matter how, come hell or high water and she doesn't care at all how she does it.s

There's no reason for anyone to jump on the bandwagon. For one, different dancers' experiences are different. For another, why expose themselves to resistance and risk when she's pushing at the head of the pace-line?

As far as impressions, everyone is entitled to theirs, but it doesn't make them facts.

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I just wanted to reiterate abatt's reply. Yes, Misty has not just gotten O/O but Juliet, in R&J (a part Sarah learned awhile ago but has never performed). She is dancing it at the June 20th matinee. You can see that by looking at the ABT.org website (I don't know if they send you mail). She'll be dancing with Gorak who, based on his partnering skills I've seen, may have a hard time lifting her. Misty also got the lead in Rodeo. Stella has 1 lead in Cinderella and Sarah has 1 partially new Aurora (because it's Ratmansky's). I also find it tragic that Stella, who used to regularly perform Myrtha (but performed a tiny bit as Giselle at Works and Process), has now been reduced to dancing the peasant pas in Act 1. So Misty's casting is definitely more preferential than Sarah or Stella's.

Abrera still regularly dances Myrtha. She's scheduled to perform it again on May 26 and 27.

Copeland definitely gets preferential casting out of all of the other female soloists now. I don't need to repeat what Amour and Abatt have already stated, but she is getting the wealth of new principal roles, not Lane or Abrera.

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Tiler Peck has also been on one of those dance reality TV shows. Nobody in classical ballet goes on those shows for artistic credibility.

Copeland has been a guest judge on the reality TV show So You Think You Can Dance.

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Misty's coworkers have expressed numerous nice messages on instagram and twitter supporting her during her O/O debut with Washington Ballet. This extended from principals to corps members from ABT.

I saw all of those nice messages as well.

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As far as impressions, everyone is entitled to theirs, but it doesn't make them facts.

One of my partner's favorite quotes:

"Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts." Daniel Patrick Moynihan

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Bingo, Sandik. Great quote. I find it fascinating that such strong opinions are offered on this site regarding this topic from people who have never been to an ABT performance and/or have never seen Misty, Stella or Sarah dance live. Sorry, viewing some edited youtube clips doesn't qualify as a basis for a factual evaluation of any of these dancers.

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Not everyone who lives outside NYC has not seen Copeland, Abrera, and Lane live.

Copeland has been a guest judge on the reality TV show So You Think You Can Dance.

She didn't do it to gain artistic credibility: the show gained artistic credibility by having her on it, just as they gain artistic credibility by having judges with experience in other forms of dance.

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She didn't do it to gain artistic credibility: the show gained artistic credibility by having her on it, just as they gain artistic credibility by having judges with experience in other forms of dance.

I didn't say that Copeland did this show to gain artistic credibility. I merely stated that she was a judge on the show. But, how do you know her intentions behind her appearance? Did she state them in an interview or in print somewhere? I'd be interested to know.

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It is Abrera who has danced Myrtha in Giselle with ABT, not Lane. This is stated on ABT's site.

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I have the same impression. I hear all about her tribulations but barely anything about her actual dancing skills. And the clips of her dancing that are allowed to stay on Youtube have been extremely unimpressive. It is also highly interesting that no record of her recent Swan Lakes are on the web unless her marketing team have released edited versions or staged rehearsal clips.

There's barely a record for any ABT dancer unless your Marcelo Gomes or Hallberg dancing at the Bolshoi. Or you can watch a DVD of Stella or Gillian...from a decade ago. This is hardly something unique to Misty.

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It is Abrera who has danced Myrtha in Giselle with ABT, not Lane. This is stated on ABT's site.

I transcribed that wrong. I'll fix it.

I didn't say that Copeland did this show to gain artistic credibility. I merely stated that she was a judge on the show. But, how do you know her intentions behind her appearance? Did she state them in an interview or in print somewhere? I'd be interested to know.

“I’m honored to join Nigel and Mary as a guest judge this season,” said Copeland. “I’ve been a fan of the show and am excited to be a part of something that inspires and encourages dancers to go after their dreams. For me to be a part of this show is a major breakthrough for classical ballet, and I’m grateful to Nigel, Mary, and the entire team for giving me the opportunity to represent the art form in this way.”

http://www.rickey.org/misty-copeland-guest-judge-multiple-episodes-think-can-dance-2014/263180/

And I do not intepret "a major breakthrough for classical ballet" to mean going on the show to gain artistic credibility any more than Fabrice Calmels did when he was a judge on "So You Think You Can Dance,"

Once SYTYCD appeared I was so thrilled because finally there was a program, a national program in the US that was presenting dance at its best. It was getting a new generation excited about it, and it was a future for the form, and the possibility and the chance to achieve and be seen in a bright light. I was so thrilled. So for me participating in Season 11 is just a treat. I’m so glad that Nigel [Lythgoe] and the production company decided to pull dancers from major companies and pull them to the surface and say now we’re taking this to the next level and really incorporating ballet and other things into our shows.

and

I’m so glad to be able to be on the show and create awareness. SYTYCD is a gift and we really need to push this forward and keep bringing dance and art in general to the American audience and to the public

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"Once SYTYCD appeared I was so thrilled because finally there was a program, a national program in the US that was presenting dance at its best. It was getting a new generation excited about it, and it was a future for the form, and the possibility and the chance to achieve and be seen in a bright light. I was so thrilled. So for me participating in Season 11 is just a treat. I’m so glad that Nigel [Lythgoe] and the production company decided to pull dancers from major companies and pull them to the surface and say now we’re taking this to the next level and really incorporating ballet and other things into our shows."

That's nice to read. I remember Paloma Herrera and Jared Mathews/Yuriko Kajiya performing on the show, as well as other professionals.

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Copeland has been a guest judge on the reality TV show So You Think You Can Dance.

I know. I think they all are doing it to advance their careers. I think more ballet people should sell out.

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Kevin McKenzie isn't on the record as far as I know, but I doubt even he, whose judgement is so regularly brought into question here, gave permission for these dancers to appear to gain artistic credibility, which was Tapfan's original point ("Nobody in classical ballet goes on those shows* for artistic credibility.") Huge ratings and exposure, yes.

*defined as "dance reality shows."

I'm not so sure Tapfan's assertion is true for the ballet-specific series, like NYCB Sarah Jessica Parker series, and for all of the drama on "Breaking Pointe," even with the crappy editing and the mixmatches between music and choreography, Allison DeBona made a great case for herself as a dancer. And she's been promoted twice since it was filmed, relatively older, as she went to college before she danced professionally and was several years behind her peers. Their efforts might not be credible for people who like their dancers to have mystery -- I admit to wishing that Martine van Hamel sounded smarter on the ABT at 75 stream from the Guggenheim, but no one forced me to watch -- or be annointed by the artistic staffs without any discernable outside influence, but the dancing in those shoes speaks for itself.

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I know. I think they all are doing it to advance their careers. I think more ballet people should sell out.

I don't think they should "sell out" per se, but I do think they should be more visible than what they are now. It would make ballet less unknown and seen as elitist. I mean, Nuryev was on The Muppets twice in the 70's doing skits with Miss Piggy at the height of his career! I imagine so-called balletomanes would be outraged by this nowadays and consider it lowly and self-promotion.

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Nureyev didn't have to promote himself; he was asked because he was already a huge star. Copeland did have to promote herself, if she wanted attention outside of the ballet world at that stage in her career, and she did it in part by making a claim - first black ABT soloist - she either knew or had every reason to know wasn't true. But she gets a pass because . . . ?

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Appearing as a judge on a reality show pays very well, I'm sure. It's no different than Roberto Bolle doing lucrative modeling gigs in Italy, Vishneva appearing in French ads for shampoo, and others dancers who supplement their income through outside projects. Nothing wrong with doing this during the off season.

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