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kbarber

Pennsylvania Ballet puts the ballet-haters in their place

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A Facebook user recently commented that the Eagles had "played like they were wearing tutus!!!"

Our response:

"With all due respect to the Eagles, let's take a minute to look at what our tutu wearing women have done this month:

By tomorrow afternoon, the ballerinas that wear tutus at Pennsylvania Ballet will have performed The Nutcracker 27 times in 21 days. Some of those women have performed the Snow scene and the Waltz of the Flowers without an understudy or second cast. No 'second string' to come in and spell them when they needed a break. When they have been sick they have come to the theater, put on make up and costume, smiled and performed. When they have felt an injury in the middle of a show there have been no injury timeouts. They have kept smiling, finished their job, bowed, left the stage, and then dealt with what hurts. Some of these tutu wearers have been tossed into a new position with only a moments notice. That's like a cornerback being told at halftime that they're going to play wide receiver for the second half, but they need to make sure that no one can tell they've never played wide receiver before. They have done all of this with such artistry and grace that audience after audience has clapped and cheered (no Boo Birds at the Academy) and the Philadelphia Inquirer has said this production looks "better than ever".

So no, the Eagles have not played like they were wearing tutus. If they had, Chip Kelly would still be a head coach and we'd all be looking forward to the playoffs."

Happy New Year!

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I saw this on facebook yesterday and thought it was an awesome reply!

Absolutely!

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Really now. That post is hardly evidence that the poster hates ballet or even that he doesn't respect what dancers do. We expect a dancer in a tutu to be graceful and to make what they’re doing look at least relatively easy. We don’t expect her to go banging into other dancers. In football, of course, it may be a compliment to say that a player “makes it look easy,”but in general we expect to see effort and pain. The aesthetic is entirely different. Of course. It’s 10-1 that’s all the poster meant.

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Really now. That post is hardly evidence that the poster hates ballet or even that he doesn't respect what dancers do. We expect a dancer in a tutu to be graceful and to make what they’re doing look at least relatively easy. We don’t expect her to go banging into other dancers. In football, of course, it may be a compliment to say that a player “makes it look easy,”but in general we expect to see effort and pain. The aesthetic is entirely different. Of course. It’s 10-1 that’s all the poster meant.

you're joking, right?

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you're joking, right?

I explained my thinking. If you think I’m joking, I’m sure you can explain yours.

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I honestly wasn't sure whether you were being ironic or not. I have no desire to get into an argument about this.

I explained my thinking. If you think I’m joking, I’m sure you can explain yours.

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Am I to understand that the original poster was praising the Philadelphia Eagles for making it look easy while having super-human strength, and not at best, judging that the team chose style over substance or, at worst, was invoking typically and lazily sexist shorthand that the team played like a bunch of girly-men?

I think someone who respected ballet and ballet dancers would only post the former. If that was the poster's intention, then I apologize.

I would love to see football played with limited stoppages and substitutions for an entire game like they do when there's a minute or less on the clock and the team with the ball is trying to score and see how far they get.

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Am I to understand that the original poster was praising the Philadelphia Eagles for making it look easy while having super-human strength, and not at best, judging that the team chose style over substance or, at worst, was invoking typically and lazily sexist shorthand that the team played like a bunch of girly-men?

I think someone who respected ballet and ballet dancers would only post the former. If that was the poster's intention, then I apologize.

I would love to see football played with limited stoppages and substitutions for an entire game like they do when there's a minute or less on the clock and the team with the ball is trying to score and see how far they get.

Perhaps if I was female I’d feel differently, but I don’t see “girlymen” as sexist in this regard, anymore than it would be sexist to criticize a Sugar Plum Fairy for dancing like a linebacker. Different activities require different qualities, that’s all. In the 21st century, people should know better than to say “He’s playing like a girl,” true. “As a football player he looks like a girl in the Nutcracker” is something else altogether. In my opinion.

kbarber, no irony intended, but thanks anyhow.

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Whereas I see "He's playing like a girl" no different from "He's playing like he's wearing a tutu."

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Perhaps if I was female I’d feel differently, but I don’t see “girlymen” as sexist in this regard, anymore than it would be sexist to criticize a Sugar Plum Fairy for dancing like a linebacker. Different activities require different qualities, that’s all. In the 21st century, people should know better than to say “He’s playing like a girl,” true. “As a football player he looks like a girl in the Nutcracker” is something else altogether. In my opinion.

kbarber, no irony intended, but thanks anyhow.

I think if you were a women you would feel differently.

It is offensive to women for men to denigrate other men by calling them women or other female gender identifiers. I'm not going to lose sleep over it, but it is offensive.

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It is offensive to women for men to denigrate other men by calling them women or other female gender identifiers.

This.

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This.

Bingo

Like others above, I have no desire to wrangle, especially on the first day of the new year. But I think if you examine the original post, you will find that the comment about tutus was meant in a condemnatory fashion. I do not wish my world (the dance world) to be used to excoriate other athletes.

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I think if you were a women you would feel differently.

It is offensive to women for men to denigrate other men by calling them women or other female gender identifiers.

Sure, but the verb was "played" not "are." Would you find it offensive to say a clunky Sugar Plum Fairy was dancing like a linebacker? I am not trying to "wrangle," but I'm trying to understand.

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Sure, but the verb was "played" not "are." Would you find it offensive to say a clunky Sugar Plum Fairy was dancing like a linebacker? I am not trying to "wrangle," but I'm trying to understand.

I would be offended for the poor Sugar Plum Fairy, not for any linebackers out there.

You are being too literal, because I think we all know what was meant when he used the term "played." Tutus (and ballerinas) in general, are considered the epitome of femininity in our culture. As discussed by Helene and others in this thread, it is not rocket science to see the intent behind the comment--that the Eagles were playing like girls (because a man being called a girl/woman/feminine/soft by another man is considered such a horrible tragic insult <insert major eye rolling>).

Anyway, like others, I'm going to get ready to watch the Rose Bowl and walk away from this conversation. If my alma mater, the Iowa Hawkeyes, can play with the strength, poise and passion of a professional ballet dancer, they have a good chance for an upset. Happy New Year!

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On a tangent:

The thing that drives me nuts about football is the amount of time spent on time out, half time, the constant stop and start of getting from one play to the next. I hate watching the players standing around, it makes me feel like nothing is happening.

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Kaysta, if the Eagles played like girls in the sense which seems obvious to me but not anyone else on this thread, they would lose every time. Yes, ballet is considered feminine. And football is considered masculine. Anyone remember powder puff football? Part of the fun is that the women were stepping outside of their usual gender role. And we could all laugh together, players and spectators. At ourselves.

What would offend me, so to speak, is seeing ballet when I was watching football, or football when I was watching ballet (Alma Mater excepted, of course :wink: ). It’s just possible this guy actually likes ballet, or at least has a daughter that dances, and that’s why the comparison came to mind. But this is an age in which students take offense at inauthentic sushi and banh mi, so either I’m a Neanderthal or this too will pass and the sooner the better for everyone. Then again, I’d protest too if it would get me a good banh mi sandwich!
Anyhow, like I said, what I consider obvious is not a given to others here, and in light of that I apologize for the, er, wrangling tone of my initial post. And I wish everyone a Happy New Year!

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The post was an easy one to understand, so I don't see how it gets confusing. The poster implied that the players were playing inadequately soft, soft as ballerinas in tutus usually LOOK LIKE onstage, instead of roughed up strong players.

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Whereas I see "He's playing like a girl" no different from "He's playing like he's wearing a tutu."

I don't think they're quite the same. In fact, I can imagine the latter statement coming from someone who actually watches ballet and even likes it, and it's certainly not prima facie evidence that the poster is a "hater."

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So no, the Eagles have not played like they were wearing tutus. If they had, Chip Kelly would still be a head coach and we'd all be looking forward to the playoffs."

As someone who played competitive male football in all my school years in full equipment, and danced ballet professionally on stage, I disagree with the criticism with the original Facebook comment and my reply to the Pennsylvania Ballet is that if the entire Pennsylvania Ballet ballerina roster played in full equipment against the Philadelphia Eagles football team, every ballerina would be in the hospital or in a grave and would not be going to the playoffs, but to funerals.

I remember my high school football coach, who played on Oklahoma University's collegiate champion team He coached our team to New York City champion in my first year, but when we played bad, he would criticize us for playing like girls or playing as if we wore dresses. When any group of ballerinas can play a full game against an NFL football team and have one ballerina on the field by the end of the game, who was not carried off the field in a stretcher or headed to the morgue, would be a miracle..
If every Mariinsky ballerina played against the Eagles, Skorik and Shapran would definitely be in intensive care or dead.

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If the men at the Mariinsky or the World Champion men's gymnastics team played football against the Philadelphia Eagles, they would all end up in the hospital, too. Same with the best male marathoners, the world's best male ski jumpers, the world's best male short track speed skaters, etc. The size/weight differential makes it so.

It is also just as possible for someone to love ballet and say, "He plays like a girl." In fact, it is very possible that that person might have more respect for ballet and ballet dancers than the person who says, "He plays like he's wearing a tutu." Neither shows much respect for women, in my opinion.

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If the men at the Mariinsky or the World Champion men's gymnastics team played football against the Philadelphia Eagles, they would all end up in the hospital, too. Same with the best male marathoners, the world's best male ski jumpers, the world's best male short track speed skaters, etc. The size/weight differential makes it so.

It is also just as possible for someone to love ballet and say, "He plays like a girl." In fact, it is very possible that that person might have more respect for ballet and ballet dancers than the person who says, "He plays like he's wearing a tutu." Neither shows much respect for women, in my opinion.

I know that when I was taking class at SAB, I received criticism from friends, but I was a good fighter and after beating up some friends, they soon stopped criticizing me. However,many years ago, ballet was considered to be possibly the most feminine type of activity. I do not think my football team was ever criticized for playing like ballerinas or as if we were wearing tutus, but we were criticized for playing like girls or as if we wore dresses. So I do not see much difference between dresses and tutus.

Pennsylvania Ballet and some here on ballet alert were highly offended by that tutu criticism, but I received much worse criticism when I was taking class at SAB and that tutu comment was not much different criticism than what my football coach told us when we played bad, so I see no reason for anyone to be offended by that comment. i love ballet and football and understand that tutu comment as an accurate description when a football team plays poorly.

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Kaysta, if the Eagles played like girls in the sense which seems obvious to me but not anyone else on this thread, they would lose every time. Yes, ballet is considered feminine. And football is considered masculine. Anyone remember powder puff football? Part of the fun is that the women were stepping outside of their usual gender role. And we could all laugh together, players and spectators. At ourselves.

Ballet isn't considered as only "feminine." It's considered to be effeminate in this culture (as is dancing generally). And the feminine has been traditionally subordinated to the masculine and regarded as inferior, so there are underlying value judgments involved. As I said above, I don't think the comment under discussion is necessarily offensive. I do understand why it might be taken that way. Football players are celebrated in our culture in a way that ballet dancers aren't and have never been. It's not so easy for those who have been traditionally marginalized to laugh at some things.

As someone who played competitive male football in all my school years in full equipment, and danced ballet professionally on stage, I disagree with the criticism with the original Facebook comment and my reply to the Pennsylvania Ballet is that if the entire Pennsylvania Ballet ballerina roster played in full equipment against the Philadelphia Eagles football team, every ballerina would be in the hospital or in a grave and would not be going to the playoffs, but to funerals.

Perhaps that's taking the company's response a bit literally. I don't think they meant to suggest that the dancers could play football of any kind, any more than they meant to suggest that the Eagles should replace Kelly with Corella (not that I wouldn't enjoy seeing that). I understand studies have shown that in some respects ballet is as hard on the body as football is. The company might have pointed that out, and added that, the career of a dancer, like that of an NFL player, can be nasty, brutish, and short. But maybe there are comparisons to football they'd rather not make.

The thing that drives me nuts about football is the amount of time spent on time out, half time, the constant stop and start of getting from one play to the next. I hate watching the players standing around, it makes me feel like nothing is happening.

Replay, commercials, etc. But the game keeps you watching, because the spasms of action that go on between those pauses can be wildly exciting........

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