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Misty Copeland


Helene

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Tapfan wrote

Where was the outrage about the attention paid to these artists?
Well it wasn’t coming from me, because I stopped listening to contemporary pop years before their time. wink1.gif Also, where’s the “outrage” about Misty Copeland? OK, to be fair, I’ve seen it on another site. But not here.
But some black critics pointed out the fact that they were paying so much attention to these too artists because they wanted to prove that they actually cared about black musicians while, they proceeded to ignore 99 percent of them.
Prove? Maybe they just didn’t like that much black pop of that era. Is that racist? Did black critics like second and third tier white stars? I have a white friend who was so upset when Michael Jackson died that he couldn’t go to work the next day, but give me Otis Redding or Miles or Monk or Muddy instead. Or Eric Owens. Appreciating diversity doesn’t mean loving everything equally. No one does that, or can – or should have to. Diversity entails accepting diversity of taste too. I think that’s the ideal.
Kathleen O'Connell wrote
Copeland didn't need to be subjected to overt racism to perceive that the world she was in wasn't as welcoming as it thought it was.
I certainly understand why a dancer of color would have doubts, and of course you make good points about NYCB casting. I always wished Evans (and Soto) had gotten Apollo. I wish Craig Hall would.
Helene wrote
My charge, in case it wasn't clear in the first place, is that not only did you misrepresent what Martin Luther King, Jr. was saying, but also the context, which was a future, sadly, much farther away, than many had hoped, and his continual fight against racism.

It wasn’t clear, but thanks for clarifying. King wanted us to ignore skin color when making judgments. That means not making negative judgments based on skin color, but not making positive ones either. It’s only natural and good to want to rise to the defense of African-Americans any time race is part of the conversation, but that doesn’t mean African-Americans are always right all the time either. Yes, King’s dream is still a long ways off, but I think that natural and good impulse can become counter-productive hypersensitivity.

As far as your general arguments, you've done nothing to convince me that your assertions that the ballet world is overwhelmingly liberal and that the people in it are overwhelming trying to do the right thing, and, as a result, this negates one woman's experience which she's detailed, and, in fact, she has been given preferential treatment because of her race.
I’m shocked we haven’t convinced each other and switched positions. wink1.gif I understand your reasons for believing her perception was accurate. I’ve given mine for why I question them. They could be wrong.
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Tapfan wrote

Where was the outrage about the attention paid to these artists?
Well it wasn’t coming from me, because I stopped listening to contemporary pop years before their time. wink1.gif Also, where’s the “outrage” about Misty Copeland? OK, to be fair, I’ve seen it on another site. But not here.
But some black critics pointed out the fact that they were paying so much attention to these too artists because they wanted to prove that they actually cared about black musicians while, they proceeded to ignore 99 percent of them.
Prove? Maybe they just didn’t like that much black pop of that era. Is that racist? Did black critics like second and third tier white stars? I have a white friend who was so upset when Michael Jackson died that he couldn’t go to work the next day, but give me Otis Redding or Miles or Monk or Muddy instead. Or Eric Owens. Appreciating diversity doesn’t mean loving everything equally. No one does that, or can – or should have to. Diversity entails accepting diversity of taste too. I think that’s the ideal.

I don't think they were saying these white critics were racist. I think they were implying something far less sinister. They were implying that they were artistically and sociologically myopic.

Black critics were annoyed that white critics could find time to cover the most obscure and marginally talented or relevant white male bands if those bands had an indie cache, but they couldn't be bothered with anyone else.

Some black critics felt that excessive praise of Prince and MJ was being used to mask that fact that some of those guys had a very narrow appreciation of pop music and couldn't be bothered to notice anyone else.

Being a pop music critic that only cares about certain types of pop music, is like being a movie critic who hates certain types of movies. How can they be expected to judge fairly?

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Tapfan, I can imagine how I’d feel if no one wrote about the music I like, but everybody knows how much white people love and have loved black music. I have to wonder how many African-Americans, critics included, had an interest in the white bands of Jackson and Prince’s day. I was an avid concert and club-goer back then, and except for blues clubs on the (black) South side of Chicago, and to a lesser extent jazz clubs, I remember seeing very few.

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Music critics have a tendency to specialize more than dance critics do (more outlets, more material, more information to be responsible for) -- I know a few people who really do cover a wide variety of genres, but they're more exceptional.

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Thanks. This is interesting. Squires is also ABT's publicity agent. Ever wonder why there are so many photos of Misty and her pals on the internet after an ABT gala? It's because Gilda Squire also represents Misty and makes sure that Misty gets as much publicity as possible. Hopefully ABT is taking note of this lawsuit and evaluating Squire's continued suitability as ABT's publicity agent.

We'll know in about a month whether Misty is going to be represented by the same counsel that represents Squires. I wonder if the legal defense fees for Misty's counsel will be coming out of Misty's pocket or the pocket of the Squire agency. Hopefully someone along the way advised Misty to purchase insurance that would cover this type of claim. With fame comes responsibility (and lawsuits). Misty's contract with Squires may require Squires to defend and indemnfy Misty with respect to any claims related to publicity services provided by Squires.

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That's true, but I suspect Harpo will assert that they broadcast the content that was selected and provided by Squires and Squires, not Harpo, had the duty to vet the material for any copyright viiolations.

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This does not look good for Misty. Getting the Oprah Winfrey network embroiled in a copyright infringement lawsuit is not good politics, although I'm sure there are an abundance of lawsuits against Harpo at any given time on a variety of topics.

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This does not look good for Misty. Getting the Oprah Winfrey network embroiled in a copyright infringement lawsuit is not good politics, although I'm sure there are an abundance of lawsuits against Harpo at any given time on a variety of topics.

This certainly shows (me at least) what a powerful publicity machine Misty Copeland has behind her.

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I'm sorry to hear about this -- copyright issues have become much more touchy in recent years, especially in television and film production. Morgan Spurlock's recent film about product placement (The Greatest Movie Ever Sold) was a fascinating, if slightly depressing, look at how thoroughly commericalized that aspect of filmmaking has become.

(and tangentially, when I looked up the IMDB link, I noticed that Spurlock was the producer of the television documentary series "A Day in the Life" which included an episode in 2011 about Copeland. It's a tiny world.)

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I don't know if this has been posted elsewhere, but Copeland will perform at the Vail Festival in 2015 in the International Evenings of Dance, which are typically on Friday and Saturday nights: http://www.vvf.org/arts/vail-international-dance-festival

Damian Woetzel, of course, is the artistic director and has made some imaginative programming decisions in recent years, but this is a little puzzling. The summer residents in Vail tend to be very white and very rich, so perhaps there is a curiosity factor for them. The underprivileged communities that apparently flock to her NYC performances don't live there. The drive from Denver is truly miserable and public transportation is awful -- no train service, spotty Greyhound bus. Hotels - essential for Vail evening performances - are no bargain. So it will be interesting to see what kind of outreach they do to bring in nontraditional audiences and whether she will do some complementary events in Vail or Denver.

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Damian Woetzel, of course, is the artistic director and has made some imaginative programming decisions in recent years, but this is a little puzzling. The summer residents in Vail tend to be very white and very rich, so perhaps there is a curiosity factor for them. The underprivileged communities that apparently flock to her NYC performances don't live there.

I didn't realize being "very white and very rich" would prevent anyone from attending a dance program with minority dancers. I also didn't realize that Misty's fans in NYC were "underprivileged." I mean, how would you know simply by attending a performance with a large group of her fans?

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Damian Woetzel, of course, is the artistic director and has made some imaginative programming decisions in recent years, but this is a little puzzling. The summer residents in Vail tend to be very white and very rich, so perhaps there is a curiosity factor for them. The underprivileged communities that apparently flock to her NYC performances don't live there.

I didn't realize being "very white and very rich" would prevent anyone from attending a dance program with minority dancers. I also didn't realize that Misty's fans in NYC were "underprivileged." I mean, how would you know simply by attending a performance with a large group of her fans?

My apologies. I don't mean to offend anyone. But if you look at the overall marketing, the book signings, the lecture-demos, the fan pages, etc., you get a sense of the principal demographics she's aiming at. Of course white, rich people can attend and enjoy dance programs with minority dancers. I certainly didn't say they were "prevented" from attending anything. And perhaps Woetzel is capitalizing on the extensive press she's had and will benefit from a curiosity factor for those who haven't seen her perform in NYC or on tour.

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Yeah but why would "very white and very rich" people necessarily be less interested in a well-known dance festival simply because there was a minority dancer?

Excuse me, but that's not what I said! Indeed, because of the extensive press she's had in recent years, they might be more likely to attend. As I said, Woetzel might be capitalizing on that public attention.

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You said:

Damian Woetzel, of course, is the artistic director and has made some imaginative programming decisions in recent years, but this is a little puzzling. The summer residents in Vail tend to be very white and very rich, so perhaps there is a curiosity factor for them.

You said it was "puzzling" that Woetzel would invite Copeland considering the "very white and very rich" Vail residents, but then chalked it up to"curiosity factor"? This isn't like that scene from Show Boat at the St. Louis World Fair where a gaggle of folks look at the "curiosity" African warriors.

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Along with the announcement of the Vail performances, it would be nice to see them announce some community outreach performances in the huge communities in Denver who have never seen her perform and otherwise never will -- the people who populate her fan pages, go to book signings in other cities, etc. ABT never tours to Denver (something we've discussed before, possibly because of the high-altitude clauses in the dancer contracts). Perhaps Vail will be announcing things like this in the future for her visit to Colorado. I hope so. It would be a nice activity for Project Plie or her corporate sponsors.

For many months, I've read everything posted about Copeland but never responded. I haven't seen her perform enough to make any meaningful judgments. I haven't read her book (just some book reviews). I don't seek out her TV interviews. I have read very strong opinions on all sides of the issues here and elsewhere. I wish it weren't so difficult to discuss these things in the U.S., but sadly, it still is. I think I'll go back to the sidelines on this thread!

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The summer residents in Vail tend to be very white and very rich, so perhaps there is a curiosity factor for them. The underprivileged communities that apparently flock to her NYC performances don't live there. The drive from Denver is truly miserable and public transportation is awful -- no train service, spotty Greyhound bus. Hotels - essential for Vail evening performances - are no bargain. So it will be interesting to see what kind of outreach they do to bring in nontraditional audiences and whether she will do some complementary events in Vail or Denver.

African-American audiences are not, by definition, underprivileged....

Just because she draws a different audience than usually comes to the ballet, and yes, a more diverse one, doesn't mean the people who are coming are impoverished.

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Misty has been appearing at dance festivals for years. This is nothing new. And I dare say that she has white fans who want to see her not because she's some unicorn, but because they like her dancing.

Also, most black people are middle or working class. Not everyone lives in the ghetto and not everyone depends on public transportation.

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For Woetzel to book Copeland sounds like a no-brainer. I guess the schools will be closed then, but perhaps she’ll do outreach programs anyhow. The festival’s website says it “presents a variety of off-stage events, including free performances, community events, unique educational opportunities, master classes, discussions and more,” so it’s a good bet that she’ll do a “community event” or two.

For many months, I've read everything posted about Copeland but never responded. I haven't seen her perform enough to make any meaningful judgments. I haven't read her book (just some book reviews). I don't seek out her TV interviews. I have read very strong opinions on all sides of the issues here and elsewhere. I wish it weren't so difficult to discuss these things in the U.S., but sadly, it still is. I think I'll go back to the sidelines on this thread!

Perhaps some day the country will be able to discuss issues without remarks and opinions being monitored for any possible racist overtones, but both racism and the urge to see and then condemn it are human nature.
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