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  1. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by mag View Post
    If you are not born with the right body type, being a ballerina would be brutal.
    This is what I was alluding to earlier. Jenifer Ringer has shorter limbs than the average ballerina. If she puts on even the least bit of extra weight--whether that weight is in fat or in muscle--her line is compromised. A ballerina with longer limbs can put on the same weight without her line compromised.

    Chances are, Jenifer Ringer ate the same number of sugar plums as any other ballerina (most likely zero), but it's more noticeable on her because it affects her line more.

  2. #22

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    I think she and her partner are beautiful and this reviewer is a wannabee A$$! Good riddance to this pig!
    "awwww....shades of Janet Lynn" - Dick Button on anyone who makes more than one mistake in their program.

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    They look just fine. And if he thinks the guy was heavy, what on earth did he think of one of NYC Ballet's best dancers, Jock Soto? Fabulous and solidly muscular. I loved watching him and was so sorry he retired, except all good careers in ballet come to an end.

  4. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmeck View Post
    Why does ballet have to be about body shape? Because we say it has to? Because it's traditional?
    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by ballettmaus View Post
    Exactly. Ballet is all about lines, every movement is about creating a line. There's a reason why some children don't even get accepted to ballet schools because they don't have the right body types.
    I have a problem with this, which is one reason I'm not so interested in ballet any more.

    Traditions change; why should Balanchine's personal aesthetic define body types for the whole art form?

    These dancers look thin but not brittle.

    There was a woman in my ballet class in college who was bigger than I was (and even at my fittest I was overweight by normal standards let alone ballet standards) -- but she was a great dancer, and specifically a great ballet dancer. She must have started young and kept with it even after her body changed. She'd never get a job with a traditional ballet company; I think that says more about the limitations of the ballet world's vision than about this dancer's limitations as a dancer.

  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by mag View Post
    I would say this is an example of "long, lean and strong," but I just can't even imagine the work and self discipline it must take to maintain that kind of shape - especially after having two kids!

    http://www.ballet.ca/thecompany/prin..._rodriguez.php

    If you are not born with the right body type, being a ballerina would be brutal.
    You don't pass exams if you have the wrong body type. I remember years ago I saw a Spanish ballet company touring here do Carmen. The lead was "hefty" for the day (most ballet dancers of that time were Ballanchine influenced stick figures) but she had amazing technique and performed a great role. I must admit, I do love a stick thin persons line better, but not at the expense of health.
    I guess the hard thing for a lot of people to accept is why God would allow me to go running through their yards, yelling and spinning around.


  6. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by skatemommy View Post
    I think she and her partner are beautiful and this reviewer is a wannabee A$$! Good riddance to this pig!
    Actually, the reviewer is a well-known and highly respected dance critic; it was a coup for the Times to get him.

    I think some of you irate fans are missing an important point; he is not comparing these dancers to some ideal type that he thinks is better. He's comparing them to what they looked like at the beginning of this season or the end of the last. AM reviews City Ballet on a regular basis and has seen Ringer and Angle dance dozens and dozens of times; he's just commenting that at the moment he finds them slightly out of shape. Since I haven't actually been to City Ballet since mid-September, I don't know if he's on the mark or not. In general, I avoid this particular Nutcracker like the plague; I've been in NY for 38 years and I'm just sick of this production.
    Last edited by emason; 12-11-2010 at 10:41 AM.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jubak View Post
    They look just fine. And if he thinks the guy was heavy, what on earth did he think of one of NYC Ballet's best dancers, Jock Soto? Fabulous and solidly muscular. I loved watching him and was so sorry he retired, except all good careers in ballet come to an end.
    Haha, that guy could eat (and drink). He'd eat his meal and finish the rest of our meals too. He was so fabulous. A great performer and a great guy. But he had people on his back about being too fat all the time.

    Ringer has soft muscles - she's not the willowy sinewy style dancer. She doesn't look out of shape to me, but she does look a bit heavier than she was the last time I saw her. Weight does change line. I don't know her personally, but I have read that she burnt out, took time off, and has had battles with eating issues. She went to my school (much later than I did), and my teacher pointed her out to me when she was a kid. She was always a strong dancer. But if she was that heavy, they'd flip out on her so I am sure she is fine.
    I think I will have a snack and take a nap before I eat and go to sleep.

  8. #28
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    I just saw the Bolshoi's Nutcracker on the Battle of... the other night and I recall I thought some of the girls dancing snowflakes would be getting browbeaten into laxative abuse in the US (or probably even in the Kirov.) Seriously muscled legs on short girls (and really, in ballet, most are short, EXCEPT in NYCB) look "hefty" but I would not call them unfit. Not least because I'd be afraid they'd kick me with toe shoes. (Also because none looked in any way winded.) Even the principles didn't have that ropey, emaciated look some of the allegedly "willowy" girls too.

    Really, if you can be long and willowy while still maintaing a decent fat layer so you don't look like a crone, that's one thing. (Look at the YOUNG Susan Farrell, during her first time with NYCB--she was long-limbed and slim, but she didn't have the sunken look and wirey veins and muscles. Or, heck, look ten years before THAT at the kind of shape and muscle Balanchine himself used--much more old-school strong legs, and he worked with that.) If being 'willowy' means aging ten years because you have less than 5% body fat, it's really not attractive. (Like that Don Q. video. Her arms are disgusting.) You can see when super-slim people are that way naturally or whether they're below where they should be.

    Personally, I prefer the power the strong Bolshoi legs give, but there are not a few Kirov/Balanchine type girls who can maintain the willow look without sacrificing youthful skin or stamina. Both to me are acceptable styles, provided the dancers are able to perform and look healthy doing it.

  9. #29
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    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!

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    I have a problem with this, which is one reason I'm not so interested in ballet any more.

    Traditions change; why should Balanchine's personal aesthetic define body types for the whole art form?
    Ballet is classical. Classical does not change and if it does, it becomes another tradition and ceases to be classical ballet.
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

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  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    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.

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by agalisgv View Post
    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.


    Quote Originally Posted by agalisgv View Post
    On a separate note, I've heard Vishneva described in many ways, but disgusting hasn't been one of them.
    What? Who said that?
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

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  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    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.

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by ballettmaus View Post
    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?
    Just above gkelly
    Last edited by agalisgv; 12-12-2010 at 12:36 AM.

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by agalisgv View Post

    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.
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

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    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    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

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jubak View Post
    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.
    Last edited by cruisin; 12-12-2010 at 01:23 AM.

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by agalisgv View Post
    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.
    Last edited by IceAlisa; 12-12-2010 at 01:26 AM.
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

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  19. #39
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    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
    Last edited by agalisgv; 12-12-2010 at 01:41 AM.

  20. #40
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    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.
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

    from Speedy Death

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