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

Misty Copeland, Part Deux


Helene

Recommended Posts

44 minutes ago, Helene said:

I couldn't remember Yeager's name off hand, but yeah.  

 

And it was the same set-up: bringing up a home-grown generation.  Most of the non-import Principals and Soloists started in ABT I/Studio Company and have made it up the ranks.

That was a crazy time in ABT in many ways. I don't exactly remember the Twyla Tharp involvement but her dancers were in the company to do her rep. 

Link to post
58 minutes ago, vipa said:

That was a crazy time in ABT in many ways. I don't exactly remember the Twyla Tharp involvement but her dancers were in the company to do her rep. 

 

That was indeed a time of great change.  I know that they looked hard to find roles in the ABT rep for Tharp's dancers to perform (and to be fair, many of them had significant ballet training at that time).  And Baryshnikov commissioned some pretty post-modern work from David Gordon and Karole Armitage, not to mention Mark Morris.  They did some wonderful classical performances, but they did some really wild stuff as well -- Baryshnikov wanted a bit of everything.

Link to post
1 hour ago, Helene said:

I couldn't remember Yeager's name off hand, but yeah.  

 

And it was the same set-up: bringing up a home-grown generation.  Most of the non-import Principals and Soloists started in ABT I/Studio Company and have made it up the ranks.

 

Cheryl Yeager was a gorgeous Aurora in the Macmillan version...petite beauty, like Sarah Lane now. She and Amanda McKerrow were the two petite ballerinas of the '80s. Both were among the many ABT ballerinas of the 80s that had Washington DC-area connections...through either Washington Ballet or Maryland Youth Ballet, then in Bethesda, MD. That's before Kirov Academy existed.

Link to post
8 hours ago, Helene said:

when Tharp joined ABT, her company, Twyla Tharp Dance, merged into ABT.

Well, I learn something new all the time on Ballet Alert! I did not know this. Thanks, Helene.

Link to post
On 6/26/2017 at 2:33 PM, cubanmiamiboy said:

Out of curiosity.

Aside from her racial driven controversy. Has it been a precedent in the history of ABT where a Principal dancer has been singled out as so technically weak as Copeland..?

I know it has happened at City Ballet...but the category I see Copeland in public discussions I only remember having it seen with Skorik before...not even Somova or Seo. 

Any such precedent in ABT history....?

I would say Alessandra Ferri.  She was a weaker turner than Misty.

 

Link to post

I still see Copeland as a very particular phenomenon. As some of you have noted, there were definitely ABT precedents of equally weak ballerinas getting to Principal status in the past. What makes Misty quite a unique item is that, in parallelism with her public and well known display of technical deficiencies, she and her team went on with the agressive promotional campaign, with strong focus on "the first black ballerina to reach Principal status in ABT". All this, paired with the fact that everything on earth gets to be discussed to exhaustion in the thousand online fora, puts Copeland in a very exposed, although highly controversial spot.  She will certainly be remembered. 

Remember those words from some old dancers in the Ballet Russes documentary when reminiscing about Nina Novak...?

Edited by cubanmiamiboy
Link to post

What is unprecedented is social media allowing dancers to have control over their own self-promotion.  However, there is nothing unprecedented about the media running with a story about a dancer and some non-dance-related aspects of their career.  As was mentioned up-thread, Leslie Browne, who was promoted after "The Turning Point," and ABT did it's best to leverage the film's publicity in promoting her.  They made that choice.

 

Copeland doesn't control the media outside her social media.  If the rest of the media finds that she sells, they will write about her, requests interviews with her, etc.

Link to post
28 minutes ago, DeCoster said:

I would say Alessandra Ferri.  She was a weaker turner than Misty.

 

Yes, but Ferri is 54 years old.  Ferri's technique is very weak. She looks great when someone is partnering her, but she clearly can't do the solo footwork anymore.   Ferri was performing in a ballet where dramatic skill counts for almost everything, and the footwork technique for her role was, in my opinion, not terribly important.  Ferri is choosing her ballets carefully because she is aware of her increasing limitations.  

 

If you're going to take on the major roles, you ought to be able to perform the choreography. 

Link to post
18 minutes ago, abatt said:

Ferri is choosing her ballets carefully because she is aware of her increasing limitations. 

 

 

We've talked about emploi here in the past (the idea that not all dancers are appropriate for all dances, essentially), and the general observation seemed to be that it's practiced less often in American companies.  Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing -- that's perhaps the question here.

Link to post
30 minutes ago, Helene said:

People complained about Ferri when she was 24, 34, and 44, too.

Thanks Helene.  Yes, I wasn't talking about current-day Ferri at all, but Ferri in her prime.  Her technical weaknesses were well known.

 

 

Link to post
4 minutes ago, DeCoster said:

Thanks Helene.  Yes, I wasn't talking about current-day Ferri at all, but Ferri in her prime.  Her technical weaknesses were well known.

 

 

Maybe that's why Ferri never performed Swan Lake, and instead made her career based on the "long skirt" roles with less exacting technique.

Link to post
4 minutes ago, DeCoster said:

Thanks Helene.  Yes, I wasn't talking about current-day Ferri at all, but Ferri in her prime.  Her technical weaknesses were well known.

 

 

 

And yet, I understand that she gave some phenomenal performances.  I get frustrated sometimes when we assume that the "can do it all" title implies that specialists are somehow lesser.

Link to post

Also, Ferri at 54 can choose her roles as a guest artist.  That is rarely true of company members, and most likely meant when she was a company member, she wasn't cast in roles she didn't dance, regardless of her preference. 

 

Clearly McKenzie thinks that the dancers he casts more than on an emergency and experimental basis can do the roles to his satisfaction.

Link to post
Just now, sandik said:

 

And yet, I understand that she gave some phenomenal performances.  I get frustrated sometimes when we assume that the "can do it all" title implies that specialists are somehow lesser.

Don't get me wrong, I idolized Ferri growing up -- had her picture from Dance Magazine plastered inside my locker at school.

 

I totally agree with you.  And we can choose casts based on their strengths.  For instance, I didn't go to Misty's Giselle or Swan Lake this season, but I admired her performances in La Fille and Coppelia, where I thought she managed beautifully both technically and theatrically.  Like Ferri, she is not suited to everything she is cast in.

 

 

Link to post

I remember reading in Suzanne Farrell's autobiography that Mr. B asked her to circle the roles she was interested in and she circled every role in the repertory. As besotted as he was with her he did not give her every role in the repertory. In the end casting decisions (and their success and failure) are at the responsibility of the AD.

Link to post
4 hours ago, Helene said:

And Suzanne Farrell is the great exception to just about every ballet rule that was written :).

 

 

 

 

Funny you should say that Helene. I was telling my husband that when people ask me who my favorite ballerinas are I sometimes forget to include Suzanne because she was so - well - Suzanne - and I don't think of her as being in any category. One of the greats in any discipline might be a better description.

Link to post
On 6/24/2017 at 8:38 PM, cubanmiamiboy said:

 

It is tough for me since I haven't encounter too many of them in any company I follow-(ABT...MCB...NYCB...BOLSHOI...MARIINSKY...POB). On the contrary...I do remember following Jose Manuel Carreno and Carlos Acosta since the very early stages of their career, and up until they left Cuba. They were both AMAZING...and being black had nothing to do with it. I hadn't seen Copeland dance a full evening ballet until I saw her SL...and dear...it was just a sad spectacle...whatever race she might be.

It's different for men.  The fact that  men like Acosta   - despite lingering bias -  have in rare cases risen to international stardom when black women have been unable to do so, has been a major concern for  the black ballet community.  And yes, there is such a thing as a black ballet community.  They meet every third Thursday  at secret locations across the Americas  to plot their systematic destruction of the evil, Western ballet establishment.  I'm their spokesperson ;)

 

Good folks, nobody wants quotas. Nobody wants to see bad black female ballet dancers. Nobody. Yet some of us insist on seeing racial diversity in ballet because it can enrich the art form and because we KNOW there WERE and ARE black women dancers who are more than deserving to be given the chance.   Some of us  also believe that  there should be more acknowledgement of excellent black ballerinas from the past   who didn't get their due. They exist and  are part of ballet history.  They are not unimportant just because some ballet fans don't know or care about them.

 

I just wish some folks were as concerned about the fact their beloved art form was for the longest time, NOT open  to everyone who wanted to master or appreciate it if those people happened to be  the wrong color.   And the great gods of ballet didn't suddenly snap their fingers and everything in ballet became an egalitarian utopia. 

 

Copeland's promotion to principal did not plunge ballet in to a state of soul-sucking mediocrity.  Mediocrity could already be found everywhere you looked  long before she came on the scene.   

Link to post
On 6/27/2017 at 7:26 PM, vipa said:

Funny you should say that Helene. I was telling my husband that when people ask me who my favorite ballerinas are I sometimes forget to include Suzanne because she was so - well - Suzanne - and I don't think of her as being in any category. One of the greats in any discipline might be a better description.

 

A very thoughtful observation -- there are singularities in most fields, and they often have a hard time finding their place in those worlds because of that quality.  I suppose we could say that Farrell had an easier time than most in that, despite the personal dynamics, she found a place where her specific skills were valued.

Link to post
53 minutes ago, Tapfan said:

It's different for men.  The fact that  men like Acosta   - despite lingering bias -  have in rare cases risen to international stardom when black women have been unable to do so, has been a major concern for  the black ballet community.  And yes, there is such a thing as a black ballet community.  They meet every third Thursday  at secret locations across the Americas  to plot their systematic destruction of the evil, Western ballet establishment.  I'm their spokesperson ;)

 

Good folks, nobody wants quotas. Nobody wants to see bad black female ballet dancers. Nobody. Yet some of us insist on seeing racial diversity in ballet because it can enrich the art form and because we KNOW there WERE and ARE black women dancers who are more than deserving to be given the chance.   Some of us are also believe that  there should be more acknowledgement of excellent black ballerinas from the past   who didn't get their due. They exist and  are part of ballet history.  They are not unimportant just because some ballet fans don't know or care about them.

 

I just wish some folks were as concerned about the fact their beloved art form was for the longest time, NOT open  to everyone who wanted to master or appreciate it if those people happened to be  the wrong color.   And the great gods of ballet didn't suddenly snap their fingers and everything in ballet became an egalitarian utopia. 

 

Copeland's promotion to principal did not plunge ballet in to a state of soul-sucking mediocrity.  Mediocrity could already be found everywhere you looked  long before she came on the scene.  

 

 

Yes -- that explains all those Thursdays...

Yes -- as a sometimes dance historian, I am constantly frustrated at how much of our shared history we are losing because we're so very focused on only looking forward.

Yes -- we need to acknowledge the far past and the recent past, not to mention some nasty parts of the present

And yes -- there is good and bad work being done at all times, everywhere.

Link to post
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...