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soxxy
12-10-2010, 08:58 PM
"Hefty," my word.

Alastair Macaulay's review of this year's Nutcracker at the New York City Ballet:


Jenifer Ringer, as the Sugar Plum Fairy, looked as if she’d eaten one sugar plum too many; and Jared Angle, as the Cavalier, seems to have been sampling half the Sweet realm. They’re among the few City Ballet principals who dance like adults, but without adult depth or complexity. Ashley Bouder (Dewdrop) has the brilliance they lack, but also a greater and more tough-grained hardness.

I suppose many of us would like to look this way....in our dreams (note he says the dancer he deems "brilliant" has a "tough-grained hardness":

http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2010/12/04/BALLET.html

Full review:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/29/arts/dance/29nutcracker.html?_r=1&scp=4&sq=Nutcracker&st=cse

vesperholly
12-10-2010, 09:09 PM
GMAFB. It's hard to see most of her body in that picture, but I'm sure she's fine. I'd prefer to watch ballerinas that look like they keep solid food down instead of dancing skeletons.

IceAlisa
12-10-2010, 09:13 PM
Most of us are not principal dancers in major ballet companies, eys? You cannot apply street standards to top ballet dancers. Although it's hard to judge from these pictures whether the assessment of "hefty" is accurate. But if a dancer is heavy for ballet standards (extreme case, think Rachael Flatt's physique), it's impossible to create the lean, long look expected in classical ballet.

Given all that, I do think that one of my favorite ballet dancers ever, Diana Vishneva was too thin in Don Quixote (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9JmAAdEzI4) but the dancing is still superb.

Here in Sleeping Beauty (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0A9zoUxzpIU) she looks healthier and dances just beautifully. I am such a Vishneva uber. :shuffle:

Schmeck
12-10-2010, 09:16 PM
I'm thinking it sounds more like 'heavy on one's feet' than a body measurement - laborious instead of light of toe? Like how one feels and moves after a big meal?

Must say though - some of the dancers in the blue/white snow photo looked a bit 'hefty' for ballet dancers, but that could just be the costumes, the sizing of the photo, or the body positions.

Gazpacho
12-10-2010, 09:29 PM
I'm thinking it sounds more like 'heavy on one's feet' than a body measurement - laborious instead of light of toe? Like how one feels and moves after a big meal?
No, as a ballet follower, I'm pretty sure it meant body measurements.

Jennifer Ringer's problem isn't fat, it's her proportions. People with long limbs can put on extra weight without affecting their line. People with shorter limbs, like Ringer, look dumpy with just the slightest bit of extra weight. In fact, even the slightest bit of extra muscle will destroy their line. Ringer, like almost all ballerinas, has heard endless comments about her weight, but usually behind closed doors, so the critic wasn't saying anything new.

However, to phrase it that way so publicly is insensitive because anyone who follows ballet knows that Ringer has previously battled an eating disorder. He could have gotten the point across by saying she looked a bit out of shape, but that would probably improve as the season goes on--a true statement because the added practice and performance makes dancers thinner by the end of the season.

soxxy
12-10-2010, 09:34 PM
Gazpacho, et al, any comment on the man? I've heard these criticisms of ballerinas.

IceAlisa
12-10-2010, 09:38 PM
Gazpacho, et al, any comment on the man? I've heard these criticisms of ballerinas.

It's hard to judge from that picture. Possibly a little soft around the waist, or is it the costume? I can't really tell.

Gazpacho
12-10-2010, 09:39 PM
Also, the Sugar Plum Fairy is not a waif character like Giselle or Manon. A waifish Sugar Plum Fairy would be as out of character as a plump and robust Giselle. So weight is a legitimate issue for critique, but I believe it should be done sensitively and spoken of in terms of the dancer's ability to execute the steps and embody the character.


Gazpacho, et al, any comment on the man? I've heard these criticisms of ballerinas.I'm not that familiar with Jared Angle and haven't seen him dance and thus can't comment on his body line and proportions. But in general, men don't get nearly the number of weight comments as females do, both in and outside the ballet world. That's not to say there aren't men with body image disorders, but that in general, female ballerinas get mean nasty weight comments far more than men and are more likely to be affected by them since the competition among female dancers is so much stronger. In addition, long lean lines aren't as emphasized for male ballet dancers.

Skittl1321
12-10-2010, 09:56 PM
Although I think it was unnecessary to comment at all, the way he did it was really out of line. It was completely an after thought put at the end of the review. There was no point to the comment except to get a jab in.

vesperholly
12-10-2010, 10:03 PM
I'm thinking it sounds more like 'heavy on one's feet' than a body measurement - laborious instead of light of toe? Like how one feels and moves after a big meal?

He was definitely talking about her eating habits: "Jenifer Ringer, as the Sugar Plum Fairy, looked as if she’d eaten one sugar plum too many."

I would think a writer of sufficient caliber to be published in the NYT could think of a better way to say heavy on her feet than that.

IceAlisa
12-10-2010, 10:15 PM
Yes, I think snarking like that here on FSU is one thing but putting in print in NYT is another.

Rob
12-10-2010, 10:24 PM
There has been backlash -- here is the critic's response. Some of the backlash articles are linked below. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/06/alastair-macaulay-jenifer-ringer_n_792503.html

Schmeck
12-10-2010, 10:55 PM
OK, I stand corrected - the guy is an ass. Why does ballet have to be about body shape? Because we say it has to? Because it's traditional? Well, there are quite a few traditions that we as human beings have decided are arcane and unneccessary. I'd like to see the brittle ballerina tradition tossed out the window too!

Marlowe
12-10-2010, 11:11 PM
Not surprising for Alistair. He can be brutal.
In my opinion he's just being self-indulgent by making this crack. It's totally unnecessary.

IceAlisa
12-10-2010, 11:16 PM
OK, I stand corrected - the guy is an ass. Why does ballet have to be about body shape?

What should ballet be about if not about lines and shapes and grace and precision? Not svelte enough for ballet? There are other dance traditions. A ballerina should not look brittle, she should be long, lean and strong.