I wrote last season that his costume reminded me of a yahrzeit candle; it also echoes imagery of survivors as brands from the fire (Zechariah 3:2, among other Biblical references). Very appropriate, and probably intentional.While not cultural appropriation, one thing that I know raised some eyebrows is Jason Brown's costume for his Schindler's List program, which appeared to have fire/flames on the shirt. While he is Jewish, having flames on his shirt while skating to music from that movie, knowing what happened to millions of Jews... Not cultural appropriation, but probably not the best decision.
The Schindler’s List program was problematic. For one thing, I think it was the first one, the movie came out the year before. For another, Witt was East German and they had not really acknowledged or repented of the Holocaust. The girl in the red coat was indeed Jewish and used by Spielberg as a symbol of lost and tortured innocence, a dicey role for a grown-up, sexy German woman to play. I wasn’t outraged but I did think hmmm, better choices were available.
Lip’s program suited her solemn persona. Looking young didn’t hurt. Witt must have been 10 years older when she skated her program. It doesn’t have a moral aspect but it does affect the suitability of the “role.”I also have some reservations with German skaters skating to Schindler's List, though I do think Witt's interpretation was respectful. I also don't think her curvy figure should disqualify her from portraying a child. Lipnitskaya's interpretation isn't "better" because she was a malnourished teenager portraying a child. That comes too close to the madonna/whore complex to me.
The program that did offend me was the Japanese man that skated to Pearl Harbour.
There's cultural appropriation and there's being respectful of a culture.
That's not how that term is used. This is the dictionary definition:I understand the term „cultural appropriation“ as taking away something from a different culture that is not rightfully yours. Say, in colonial history, many African countries were robbed of their artwork which was then displayed in European museums. To fight cultural appropriation, robbed pieces of art have to be given back to their rightful owners (or their heirs).
If a white musician like Elvis takes a song created by a black musician - say „Blue suede shoes“ - and interpretates it in his way, I cannot see why using the word „cultural appropriation“ would make any sense, since, regardless of the fact whether you like Elivs‘ version or not, the original version is still there, has not been „destroyed“ has not been „taken away“ and can still be enjoyed.
A couple of years ago, the Berlin ballet had reconstructed the original Nutcracker version from 1892 with original stage designs, costumes etc. which cost a lot of money and was a huge success.This is an interesting piece that explores how The Nutcracker—often seen as a classic Russian ballet—is actually a pastiche of music and dance concepts drawn from (or inspired by) other cultures:
I am not a fan of artistic censorship. Remember Germany in the 30s and what was censored back then because it was "not appropriate"? Remember what it led to?Right. Anecdotal evidence can only take you so far. That theatre was probably being less arrogant and more worried about the future of the theatre. Maybe they’re a bit early but it’s good to be proactive. They’re lucky more Asians don’t watch ballet, which (in the US) is still considered sort of a more upper-middle class and up sort of activity with a mostly white audience generally-speaking.
Many productions have cut the “Arabian” and “Chinese” dances and have done so since like the 1970s at least.
The Mariinsky "Nutcracker"-version by acclaimed and controversial Russian artist Mikhail Chemiakin has also changed the Arabian dance into a serpent's dance and it has become a highlight of the entire oeuvre without taking away anything of its character.Or, after several rounds of changing the costumes and removing the finger-pointing from the choreography --I'm pretty sure it was Peter Martins who did the latter at New York City Ballet -- Pacific Northwest Ballet turned the character into the Green Tea Cricket, a symbol of good luck:
Martins made a comment -- unfortunately, I can't find the link -- that you start with the list of nine offensive things and tick them off one-by-one.
Of course, everything that changes in a Balanchine ballet has to be approved by the Trust.
Of course, but in the case of the Berlin State Ballet the main argument for cancelling the 1,5 million reconstructed "Nutcracker" was that the "audience was not ready for what was happening on stage" which is absolutely stupid IMHO.It's not censorship for a company to decide what it will or will not perform. It's their right to decide they didn't want to put on this version of the Nutcracker. Or any version.
The "Nutcracker" versions I grew up with and love have nothing such as yellowface or blackface. The Berlin version used to have kids with blackface, but changed it very quickly after it premiered back in 2013 or so. IMHO they were stupid to do it in the first place at all.There is a difference between deeming something not appropriate because you have racist ideology and hate people with certain backgrounds, versus not enjoying art that offends and hurts people.
I'm sure the (original) creators of The Nutcracker had no evil intentions, times were different then, but when we find out that some of our actions hurt and offend people, shouldn't we learn and change? Sometimes we might not realize that something is offensive, surely we can try to do better when we find out that something is actually hurting people?
A Nazi forbidding work from Jewish authors and artists can't be the same as someone deciding to stop using something offensive like blackface or yellowface?
Yes but stupidity isn't censorshipOf course, but in the case of the Berlin State Ballet the main argument for cancelling the 1,5 million reconstructed "Nutcracker" was that the "audience was not ready for what was happening on stage" which is absolutely stupid IMHO.
Except I googled the incident and did not find your version of events to be 100% accurate. The company has been putting this version of the ballet on for years and decided to give it a second look after they were sued for racial discrimination by one of the dancers and also had gotten complaints over the years that the Chinese and Arabian dances were caricatures that promoted harmful stereotypes.They could've handed out playbills with annotations in case anybody would be offended by what they did. But they decided to cancel the whole thing altogether and then came up with this bs.
I am aware of the racial discrimination stuff.Yes but stupidity isn't censorship
Except I googled the incident and did not find your version of events to be 100% accurate. The company has been putting this version of the ballet on for years and decided to give it a second look after they were sued for racial discrimination by one of the dancers and also had gotten complaints over the years that the Chinese and Arabian dances were caricatures that promoted harmful stereotypes.
It seems to me that the lawsuit caused them to start taking those complaints seriously and to take a second look at what they were putting out there and not liking what they saw.
I think some people might view Elvis similarly to what you mentioned about African art. The Black Artists that did the music Elvis did prior to him didn’t get the same recognition or credit and him doing their style did nothing to shine a light on those artist he took from until many years later. Contrast that to someone like Eminem who whether you like him or not always mentioned Dr Dre and the Black artists who began hip hop and didn’t make himself look like he was doing anything that he invented himself.
The "Nutcracker" versions I grew up with and love have nothing such as yellowface or blackface. The Berlin version used to have kids with blackface, but changed it very quickly after it premiered back in 2013 or so. IMHO they were stupid to do it in the first place at all.
But cancelling the whole thing only because there are Chinese and Oriental dances which could be offensive? Come on.
I have seen the version and it was nothing but beautiful.
But back to figure skating: Do you also find it offensive if a European skater skates to Oriental music which does happen quite frequently?