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Joy Womack

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Not to mention that referring to professional dancers in US companies as ‘professional student’ isn’t going to endear her to many, even if they understand her point. It’s the disdain in her tone and wording. When ‘clearing up’ the 1st American in Bolshoi school she still fails to remember Michael Shannon who was there before they ever had an international division. And there were others taken into the Russian program before her. So maybe she needs to say the first in the Russian division after they started dividing!

I was also taken aback when she claimed that she was more or less shocked when the reporter she spoke to actually reported her story. Because I always thought that you only spoke to the press if you didn’t want your story to be reported.

Last thing, she still claims that she was taken into the Kremlin as a principal instead of as a first soloist and that it was laziness from the corps members and their complaints that caused the company to stop her from filming. My first question is why would she be taking class with the corps de ballet? Usually in Russian companies the soloists and Principals have class either together or with their own coach. As a former dancer, I highly doubt that it was the laziness that showed on video that caused the complaints of her fellow dancers. I suspect, considering that when I took daily class it was to condition my body and work on areas that needed to be worked on, that their complaints had to do with the privateness (excuse my new word) that most feel class should be and that if the knew they would be performing for an audience via Youtube then perhaps they would have chosen a different class. I would never have wanted an audience to see me at anything but my best and I could not work on things the way I would need to in a class of I knew that I had an audience. Even if she can and chooses to doesn’t mean her company should be  expected to.

There were so many places where she contradicted herself as well, like saying that she wanted to be anywhere but in the spotlight after the Bolshoi scandal and then saying she started putting videos on YouTube so that she could be heard??? The more she talks the less I believe her.

She did make some good points about state funding for the arts, the responsibilities that teachers have to their students and that not everyone should become a teachers hit the mark. Then saying she wanted to become a lobbyist for state ballet funding told me again that she is very naieve or just really out of touch. '

I wish her luck in Korea. I’m not optimistic though that she will find herself in a terribly different situation than what she left, or that she will be any more successful there than she was at Bolshoi or Kremlin.

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Drama kind of follows her. . . 

And, I honestly believe that the time/days in Russia have heavily impacted her sense of self. It seems that she struggles with picking up on important elements that define the culture of a company and is violating certain standards. She does not appear to be a team player and I think that ADs know and are shutting the door on that.  They don't want/need vlogs of Womack's complaints. 

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I also am shocked by her complete disdain towards any American training of ballet. I can see why Julie Kent or any other American AD would be hesitant about taking her if she seems to think that if it isn't Russian training it didn't happen. She has a right to feel that way (many Russian ballerinas I'm sure would agree) but she can't be surprised if American companies are less than welcoming after her comments.

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I agree with everyone's replies/assessments about the interview.

Dumb question but just want to be sure. She mentions Universal Ballet contacting her after seeing her videos. She must mean audition (or possibly competition) videos, not her youtube videos, right?

Edited by wonderwall

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canbelto,

I doubt that the ADs care about her disdain for American training. Many hire European or British dancers who likely the hold the same opinion.  The difference is that they don't create videos about it. She creates distractions. She's just kind of adolescent. 

 

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I wonder if she would be happier as an artist if she had started in a Corp and gained the experience of working as just one of the group.  I'm not judging her character when I say this, but I don't think she knows how to not be in the spotlight.  Constant change and new opportunities is what she clearly craves. 

Thanks for sharing.

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There are people like this in normal work life too.  They are just not putting videos on YouTube.  

I hate that she threw her coach under the bus.  For all we know the director just reassigned Zhanna to work with a different dancer.  

Why is she still soliciting donations?  She has a principal’s position at Universal Ballet.  

Edited by Jayne

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I have been following her vlogs lately, and I must confess I was quite shocked to see her ranting about what seems to me just the regular ups and downs of any job environment at any place or country. We all have encountered laziness, preferential treatment, jealousy and everything in between virtually everywhere we work. Still we don't go on to film our complaints for a public YouTube video for everyone to see. I would expect that each and every single member of the troupe were asked for permission to be filmed while taking class, and I'm sure more than one unhappy colleague checked her complaints next morning. Throw in the mix that she's dealing with a VERY enclosed environment-(meaning Russia)- in which they still take pride, and then you have a perfect formula for disaster. 

She has vlogged just a couple of tmes since her move to Korea, which sort of tells you that she hasn't done too many exciting things over there. 

Edited by cubanmiamiboy

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14 minutes ago, cubanmiamiboy said:

I have been following her vlogs lately, and I must confess I was quite shocked to see her ranting about what seems to me just the regular ups and downs of any job environment at any place or country. We all have encountered laziness, preferential treatment, jealousy and everything in between virtually everywhere we work. Still we don't go on to film our complaints for a public YouTube video for everyone to see. I would expect that each and every single member of the troupe were asked for permission to be filmed while taking class, and I'm sure more than one unhappy colleague checked her complaints next morning. Throw in the mix that she's dealing with a VERY enclosed environment-(meaning Russia)- in which they still take pride, and then you have a perfect formula for disaster. 

She has vlogged just a couple of tmes since her move to Korea, which sort of tells you that she hasn't done too many exciting things over there. 

Given what you say about her Video blogging in Russia...perhaps she has just decided to approach her job in Korea differently? 

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14 hours ago, Drew said:

Given what you say about her Video blogging in Russia...perhaps she has just decided to approach her job in Korea differently? 

One can only hope!

She is just 23 years old, and has no outside professional work experience to give her perspective.  Apparently her parents haven’t given her any either (or have been unsuccessful to influence her).  

Edited by Jayne
A thought

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At the very end of the whole vlogging thing one can tell  there is her desire to promote her Prima chocolate bars. And I'm sure many of those around her weren't happy to be unpaid members of her marketing campaign 

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1 hour ago, cubanmiamiboy said:

At the very end of the whole vlogging thing one can tell  there is her desire to promote her Prima chocolate bars. And I'm sure many of those around her weren't happy to be unpaid members of her marketing campaign 

Her Prima Bars are no longer being manufactured.

 

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1 hour ago, ivypink said:

Her Prima Bars are no longer being manufactured.

 

Oh WoW. So no more "American ballerina in Russia" and no more Prima bars...? This doesn't sound promising...🤔

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Quick update on Womack. She's  back in Russia... she's "so over the conventional world of ballet"-(verbatim)- and tired of "proving yourself to some old guy"-(I assume AD's). She's also looking into her post-performance life. Teaching is in her horizon, so she says.

 

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Thank you Cristian. Of course I'm confused. She is still a principal dancer in S. Korea but she is looking for part time work in Moscow, doing anything, to continue working on her teaching degree. Is she going back to S.Korea for their season?  Interesting comments about "proving yourself."  In any company you are proving yourself to the AD, choreographers, stagers etc. - young or old, male or female. In some ways Womack never seemed cut out for company life.

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It's interesting to see that many of the competition stars do not succeed in company life for whatever reason. I can't remember whether Joy Womack was, in fact, a competition star, but she certainly had significant attention at a young age, as did Gisele Bethea, Juliette something, the girl from first position (not Michaela dePrince, who is so lovely!).

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4 hours ago, Emma said:

It's interesting to see that many of the competition stars do not succeed in company life for whatever reason. I can't remember whether Joy Womack was, in fact, a competition star, but she certainly had significant attention at a young age, as did Gisele Bethea, Juliette something, the girl from first position (not Michaela dePrince, who is so lovely!).

I think they burn out. Too much, too soon, and not enough time to be a child. And being alone with your coach doesn't prepare you for a team environment such as working in a company. As for Miko Fogarty, as I watched "First Position", I got the distinct impression that her mother wanted it more than she did. 

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I don’t think Joy was a competition kid, though she did a few.  I saw her more as someone who lacked the natural talent of someone like say Diana Vishneva but worked extremely hard to get to where she is today. A fanatic to the highest degree really. Her solution to any setbacks seemed to be more time at the barre, time spent trying diet and medical fads, and just working herself to death. That mindset and fanaticism  can lead to burnout, especially when things don’t exactly go according to plan.  

 

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Womack had a different dream for ballet than most North American dancers, and she is one of the relatively few that tried to make that dream happen, going a lot farther against greater odds that the vast majority of professional division/top class students.  From her public musings and career, that hasn't a good fit for her temperamentally or one in which that was good enough.

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I feel sorry for her and hope that she will be able to fashion a new career for herself, be it as a teacher or something entirely different. She's certainly got drive and ambition!

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7 minutes ago, vagansmom said:

I feel sorry for her and hope that she will be able to fashion a new career for herself, be it as a teacher or something entirely different. She's certainly got drive and ambition!

I feel sorry for her too. I was surprised to hear that she is just 24. I don't know her, except from her media and videos I've seen of her dancing, but I've never seen a young dancer who seemed so closed off to input. By that I mean she seems to have a very fixed idea of her dancing and how she should be perceived. This would be the opposite of the dancers who go to Vale to grow and explore. That's just my impression, of course.

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Yes, she's struck me also as someone with a very fixed mindset. But I have hope that, if she truly is at a turning point in her life, she will choose growth. Baby steps are fine.

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I sense a void that she hopes to fill by becoming "important" through ballet.  She tried to do that by being a "first" American Bolshoi school graduate, then a "first" American Bolshoi Corps member, then a "first" Kremlin soloist (she says principal).  All that time vlogging.  None of it filled that void.  Her interview discussed her "ground breaking" views that American ballet companies don't get enough government funding and the dancers don't have enough performances to be considered pro dancers.

Then she went to Korea, this time as a true principal, still didn't fill the void.  Now she has returned to Moscow to try to fill the void by writing a PhD thesis on sports therapies for ballet dancers that will be "important" and the Russian ballet leaders will "change" things.  If she is truly interested in studying sports science in ballet, she should visit The Australian Ballet, which famously put David Hallberg back together again (among other international dancers).  

I know she is only 24, and I was certainly very insecure at 24 too.  We all want to feel important and needed.  But she is doing this on blast through social media.  I really wish she would take a year off from vlogging, and really do a full reset, and figure out why that void exists. I hope she closes the void and can find her path forward.  She may need a different kind of professional assistance to figure this out.  

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