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agalisgv
12-11-2010, 11:24 PM
Ballet is classical. Classical does not change and if it does, it becomes another tradition and ceases to be classical ballet.

Ballet dramatically transformed under Balanchine. If you look at early ballerinas under Petipa, they were somewhat chunky with little turnout. Ballerinas danced en pointe on top of the toe box rather than over it as is common today. Ballet aesthetics have changed quite a bit over the years. But it's all still ballet--even classical ballet.

On a separate note, I've heard Vishneva described in many ways, but disgusting hasn't been one of them.

IceAlisa
12-11-2010, 11:31 PM
Ballet dramatically transformed under Balanchine. If you look at early ballerinas under Petipa, they were somewhat chunky with little turnout. Ballerinas danced en pointe on top of the toe box rather than over it as is common today. Ballet aesthetics have changed quite a bit over the years. But it's all still ballet--even classical ballet. In the beginning of the 20th century, yes, there was a different look to ballet dancers and even more so going back to its roots in the Renaissance. But as ballet became very established and schools became more selective, they were able to keep to a standard. And that standard is unlikely to change.




On a separate note, I've heard Vishneva described in many ways, but disgusting hasn't been one of them.

What? Who said that? :lynch:

ballettmaus
12-11-2010, 11:43 PM
In the beginning of the 20th century, yes, there was a different look to ballet dancers and even more so going back to its roots in the Renaissance. But as ballet became very established and schools became more selective, they were able to keep to a standard. And that standard is unlikely to change.

And not to forget that the female body type also changed.

Also, agalisgv, what you describe is the development of ballet. People were capable of doing more, they understood the body in a different way, technique advanced. It's like jumping singles back then and now triples in skating.
What never changed in all this is the aesthetical aspect of ballet/dancing and the lines you create. The importance of those hasn't changed. If anything it became only more important.

agalisgv
12-12-2010, 12:28 AM
But as ballet became very established and schools became more selective, they were able to keep to a standard. And that standard is unlikely to change.
And not to forget that the female body type also changed.

Also, agalisgv, what you describe is the development of ballet.

...What never changed in all this is the aesthetical aspect of ballet/dancing and the lines you create. The importance of those hasn't changed. If anything it became only more important. Just putting both together--as the female body type changed, so did ballet aesthetics. That would indicate aesthetics aren't static or unchanging.

I agree that ballet has developed over the years--it goes without saying. But I would disagree that ballet has reached a point where development doesn't continue to occur. Balanchine was a major development. One could argue Vishneva being plucked straight out of Vaganova to principal dancer represented another moment of development--where other dance styles were being incorporated into classical ballet and greater emphasis on athleticism of sorts (I think this is evident in her Scheherazade). And one could argue Somova's similar rise represents another developmental moment--where extreme flexibility is coveted.

Both Vishneva and Somova (particularly the latter) were criticized when they came on the scene as they represented departures from certain "classical" ideals. I recall many saying if one wanted to see a greater than 180 degree leg extension, they should be watching rhythmic gymnastics rather than ballet. But really it's a different aesthetic coming to the fore.

FWIW, I read many years ago a former principal ballerina (I believe trained at Vaganova) talk about the essence of ballet. She said the goal of ballet was to create the illusion of lightness unbounded by gravity, and movement that continued past where physical movement ceased. In this way, the sense of lightness and extension made dancers appear to not be bound by physical laws, and not weighed down to the earth. The point of lines was to convey that sense of extension that went beyond the physical body and which had no definable end point. The point of body shape was to allow the dancer to move, jump, and lift/be lifted in such a way to appear that gravity did not exist. Thus lines and body aesthetics were not the goal of ballet--only the means.

I found that interesting.
What? Who said that? :lynch: Just above gkelly

IceAlisa
12-12-2010, 12:35 AM
FWIW, I read many years ago a former principal ballerina (I believe trained at Vaganova) talk about the essence of ballet. She said the goal of ballet was to create the illusion of lightness unbounded by gravity, and movement that continued past where physical movement ceased. In this way, the sense of lightness and extension made dancers appear to not be bound by physical laws, and not weighed down to the earth. The point of lines was to convey that sense of extension that went beyond the physical body and which had no definable end point. The point of body shape was to allow the dancer to move, jump, and lift/be lifted in such a way to appear that gravity did not exist. Thus lines and body aesthetics were not the goal of ballet--only the means.

I found that interesting.

That's just it. Some things like 180 extension may appear and Vishneva's interpretive style is not exactly strictly classical. However, there is one constant and you have just mentioned it: the illusion of weightlessness that is achieved via core strength. That would be hard to achieve with extra pounds on one's body. The lines and body aesthetics are an integral part of this illusion.

But back to Vishneva, while there are standards that she had fulfilled extremely well, just look at her record at Vaganova and her international prizes, she has, like every artist put her own spin on her roles. This is analogous to one's interpretation of a classical piece like say, La Campanella. I've heard vastly different individual interpretations by different pianists but the music always remained a classical piece.

agalisgv
12-12-2010, 12:49 AM
That's just it. Some things like 180 extension may appear and Vishneva's interpretive style is not exactly strictly classical. However, there is one constant and you have just mentioned it: the illusion of weightlessness that is achieved via core strength. That would be hard to achieve with extra pounds on one's body. Not sure if we're disagreeing, but what I'm thinking of are dancers you might find, say, in Alvin Ailey Dance theater. They do classical ballet (amongst other things), but may have a different body aesthetic. Arguably the same sense of lightness and never ending movement is still achieved.

Here's Alicia Graf who discusses her thoughts on the matter:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvZj45n7ix8

cruisin
12-12-2010, 01:17 AM
One of the most willowy on stage is Wendy Whelan, but god, in some costumes & in person she is soooooo skary skinny. I am always amazed that these young women have the energy to perform.

But back to Jock Soto - dang, I miss him & his artistry. I guess he was thought of as a wonderful partner by the women who danced with him. I could watch him all day!

Is Wendy Whelan still dancing? I haven't been to NYC Ballet in years. I used to have season tickets for the fall and spring, but we let them go when week-ends became too busy with daughter's own ballet obligations. I remember being lucky enough, one year to see the Nutcracker with Darci Kistler as the Sugar Plum Fairy, Damien Woetzel as the Cavalier, and Wendy Whelan did the Arabian Dance. It was amazing! I also saw Wendy Whelan do The Cage, it was brilliant, and very eerie.

IceAlisa
12-12-2010, 01:18 AM
Not sure if we're disagreeing, but what I'm thinking of are dancers you might find, say, in Alvin Ailey Dance theater. They do classical ballet (amongst other things), but may have a different body aesthetic. Arguably the same sense of lightness and never ending movement is still achieved.

Here's Alicia Graf who discusses her thoughts on the matter:

[url]

Could you please post a link to the dance company's performance so I could judge for myself? I saw the Alicia Graf thing and am not buying what she says for one minute. Neither is the Vaganova school. Incidentally, Miss Graf's physique is long and lean.

agalisgv
12-12-2010, 01:30 AM
Here's a clip of Alicia Graf (I'd be interested in what you think of this compared to Vishneva's Scheherazade):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RnnCfyo2L40

From Alvin Ailey--selections from The Firebird:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UxWPhxuNt4

You'll notice the different body type there :saint:

IceAlisa
12-12-2010, 01:42 AM
Thanks for the links. Both clips are of dancers who are trained in ballet but this is not ballet. Alicia Graf is not even en pointe. And there is no attempt at weightlessness, nor was there an intent for it as once again, this is not ballet, rather modern dance with elements of ballet.

I will comment on Vishneva a bit later.

Gazpacho
12-12-2010, 01:43 AM
But if she was that heavy, they'd flip out on her so I am sure she is fine.On second thought, I'm starting to wonder if they cast her precisely because she isn't waifish. There are several dancers alternating the Sugar Plum role, including waifs like Wendy Whelan, but Ringer was selected as the top Sugar Plum to promote (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHbubQU34bE) the NYCB's performance. As you can see, she looks healthy, friendly, and warm--the ideal NYCB ambassador to kids.

On a separate note, I've heard Vishneva described in many ways, but disgusting hasn't been one of them.Unless you're referring to her feet (http://www.vishneva.ru/eng/photo.php?gal=9&no=2) :scream:

cruisin
12-12-2010, 01:59 AM
Vishneva is amazing! Here's another amazing dancer, from back a while:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-Tgfx5jFkI

agalisgv
12-12-2010, 02:38 AM
Great clip, cruisin :)

My fav:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwy6IqHwUVQ

Please don't call her disgusting :shuffle:

agalisgv
12-12-2010, 02:42 AM
Unless you're referring to her feet (http://www.vishneva.ru/eng/photo.php?gal=9&no=2) :scream: I remember seeing this (http://www.vishneva.ru/eng/photo.php?gal=2&no=4) pic from the site you posted and thinking it wasn't the best look.

PRlady
12-12-2010, 03:01 AM
Great clip, cruisin :)

My fav:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwy6IqHwUVQ

Please don't call her disgusting :shuffle:

That was breathtaking. Really.