Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by Iceman, Dec 17, 2011.
I think that Baryshnikov would be very surprised to hear that he's a "ballerina" (I hope that was the writer's error - Weir couldn't be that ignorant about dance). Is Misha a dancer? definitely; when he was on the ballet stage, a danseur noble? he was that; a ballerina? I don't think so.
Oh dear, now I'm getting visions of Baryshnikov in a tutu...LOL Ya think that's what Johnny had in mind? Just kidding!
Yeah I think the ballerina word is quite unfair.
I took the "ballerina" comment as an attempt to be funny, not a mistake.
Thanks for the article, always nice to hear from Johnny!
But isn't that why so many Americans look down on male ballet dancers and figure skaters because they feel dance is feminine?
Sometimes men are called "ballerinos".
Baryshnikov was cast in Premier Danseur (princes) roles in the West. I'm not sure what his rep was in the Soviet Union, but he was what was in traditional Kirov/Mariinsky type-casting, a demi-caractere dancer (Coppelia, Don Q, lots of jesters)
But ballerino is Italian for male ballet dancer. And ballerina means female ballet dancer. In many languages words have masculine and feminine forms and so there's a difference between ballerino and ballerina. Ballerina has always referred to a female dancer. And isn't the ballerina really the big female star? Not sure what being a court jester has to do with it.
I can't bring up the article on my phone -- the page is coming up blank -- so I can't tell if he was being cheeky, or was mis-heard, since "ballerino" is rarely used.
Prima Ballerina or Prima Ballerina Assoluta is what the female star is called. "Ballerina can be used to describe a six-year-old or the ideal -- ie, "She's a true ballerina." regardless of rank or star status.
Ballerina is usually not a rank. Principal Dancer is often the top, except for Paris Opera Ballet, which has a limited number of "Etoiles". Sometimes the top rank is First Dancer, but a top-ranked female dancer isn't always a ballerina -- the are plenty of lifetime achievement/outlast them all/loyal member of the company promotions -- in the ideal sense, and many lower-ranked dancers are ballerinas.
Well, speaking as a gay man, if I heard another gay man use "ballerina" the way Johnny seems to be using it here, I would probably hear it as ironic and campy. I'm sure Johnny knows too much about ballet to have been using the term seriously, and I doubt he meant it as any kind of insult.
Bear in mind, I don't have any particular need to defend Johnny, he generally annoys me in his interviews (including parts of this one ). I just don't think he meant that particular comment the way it's being interpreted.
I did like this comment about figure skating judges:
Well I get that but I think using that term just perpetuates the myth in America that dancing isn't something for straight men" If your going to make it sound that feminine. It doesn't matter if its being perputuated that way to gay or straight guys. I think it is a problem. How does referring a male ballet dancer as a ballerina help matters there?
Even I know that what a male ballet dancer does and what a female ballet dancer does is two very different things. It takes a lot of strength and athleticism I would think to be a male ballet dancer and be able to lift female dancers. I'd imagine gay male ballet dancers, would like that to be recognized too.
Well, this is just Johnny being Johnny, yet again, and no time should IMO be wasted on taking any of it seriously or even at face value, including this little jem (truly outrageous!)
yeah, because 50 years ago Peggy Fleming and Tim Wood skated in front of a panel of same age, long-haired hipster judges in Neru jackets, not cranky old white-haired farts, and Gaga is a true visionary and not ripping-off, sorry I meant paying homage to, 1960s artists like Jack Smith and Kenneth Anger.
Love the idea of Johnny competing in curling someday. Maybe he can bring sparkles to the sport. LOL!
This interview seems generous and full of gratitude and professional. His reference to Baryshnikov as a "ballerina" reads to me like a rhetorical device, and an effective one, to make the point through exaggeration that the ideal of heterosexual masculinity differs widely from culture to culture.
Oh, I think curling is getting quite colourful by itself already.
He should design curling pants, but Weir in a team sport?
Great interview. What a sweet young man he is to support the Trevor Project so wholeheartedly.
Most female dancers who dance ballet are called (female) ballet dancers. Ballerina, therefore, is a critical accolade bestowed on very few female dancers, somewhat similar to the title diva in opera. The male version of this term is danseur noble (French).
"Danseur noble" is a type of male dancer, the dancer who dances leading aristocratic male roles. There are male dancers who are as accomplished as danseurs nobles who would never be given that title, including most of the greatest who danced for Balanchine, because they didn't dance that type of role.
The way we bandy around the term "diva" on this board is the way the word "ballerina" is used for many female dancers. It can be used as a critical accolade -- although there's no Nobel Prize committee-like board that bestows it, so it becomes in the eye of the beholder -- and it can be used to describe a 16-year-old winner of YAGP or the local girl who dances the Sugar Plum Fairy with a local school-based company.
This gets repeated often- about "old" judges, but I have been to a lot of competitions, and that's not what I see. Sure a few are in their 60s and 70s, but most are considerably younger, and the technical panel even more so. I would say (without seeing judges bios I can't be sure) that at most international comps they are in their 40s and 50s, with a few younger and a few older.
But judges now in their 70s would have grown up in the early days of Rock and Roll, in their 60s they would have grown up with the hippie movement and the sexual revolution. Those in their 50s grew up with Disco and Pink Floyd, and those in their 40s grew up with Madonna and Springsteen.
I realize that non-Western judges would have different frames of cultural reference (particularly China), but I don't think that Lady Gaga is much of a stretch to those who remember Madonna in her early days- or the "glam rock" of the 70s.
(By the way, I am replying to Johnny's original quote, not your post!)
I'm suddenly realizing how old I am!
Is anyone planning to attend this show at the UPenn rink on Friday evening?
Short blurb about the show: http://www.upenn.edu/almanac/volumes/v58/n16/ice.html
All I have to do these days to accomplish that is look in the mirror each morning and on the medicine cabinet shelf at all the unsuccessful wrinkle and lifting creams I have have purchased.
In Russian language there is a word for a male ballet dancer - "balleroon" (балерун, but it can only be used in a casual conversation or for humor. The acceptable term is "ballet dancer" or "ballet artist". However, a male ballet director or choreographer is called "ballet-maister"..
And then there is always this kind of He-Ballerina...
That's our men!!