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 Post subject: Would Like to Know
PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2004 2:28 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2004 12:01 am
Posts: 30
Location: Canada
Hello everyone, I am new to this board, and I have a very very important question to ask.I really need some good advice on what to do in my particular situation.

At the age of 16 I was told by the administrator of my ballet school that I could never make it as a professional ballet dancer because of my body type.I am 5 ft 4 inches tall and weigh 105 pounds, I have a large head, medium torso, short legs and long arms.I was told that you have to be very tall and long limbed in order to be a ballet dancer.
However,I have seen some professional ballet dancers myself both onstage and in person and have seen some that have suceeded even though they don't have the ideal body type.One girl that I know even dances in the corps de ballet at the San Fransisco Ballet, she is the same height as me and she is not super thin.
I am 19 now by the way,I still dance,just not as much recently because I am finishing up the last bit of high school.
At my old ballet school,I was in the professional training program but left because of various personal reasons.
Do you think they were right about my body?
Do I have any chance at all for a professional career?

I know that looks matter in ballet, and that there is an ideal body type, but not every single one I have seen is tall and toothpick thin.

What do you all think?


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 Post subject: Re: Would Like to Know
PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2004 7:48 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 16, 2002 11:01 pm
Posts: 92
Location: Toronto Ontario Canada
i noticed you are from canada, so am i. may i ask which school you went to?
personally i would not take that comment too seriously. there are a lot of companies out there that do not look for the tall, thin, look like a 12 year old boy, body type.

if you truly love to dance i would continue to. audition, you never know what would happen.


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 Post subject: Re: Would Like to Know
PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2004 8:28 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2004 12:01 am
Posts: 30
Location: Canada
Its nice to know there are other Canadians on this board.I'm not sure I should reveal on this board what school I was at since there might be people on this board who might guess who I am.

One of the reasons I left there was because of their obvious favortism of tall long legged dancers.I often felt that when I was there,it wouldn't have mattered how good I was,if I were better Karen Kain the teachers still wouldn't have liked how I danced.

I don't think it is right for people to say who will make it and who won't because there are so many things that can happen in a person's life that it is impossible to tell what the future will hold.


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 Post subject: Re: Would Like to Know
PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2004 9:18 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1876
Location: New England
Rasberry...

A sense of visual unity is needed for ballet. This visual unity is traditionally achieved by hiring only a narrow range of body types into the corps. Soloists and principle dancers can have different bodies; but without the corps experience, it's hard to make it there.

Exactly which body types are hired for a particular company is somewhat arbitrary. Some companies are into tall dancers, some short, etc.

The body you describe is probably not "in demand" by any company, unfortunately, due to the proportions you described. In that sense, your teacher was right.

However, there is a way out --- it's to get hired by a company that will work with all different body types. In this case, the company achieves the visual unity by getting everyone to move the same way, by training them the same way. You also have to be careful who you group with whom --- since everyone's different, some groupings look good, and some look bad. It's a painstaking process for everyone. It means you can't just "produce" a ballet because that same ballet will look good or bad depending on who's doing it and how those dancers are arranged. But if you take the time to rearrange the choreography to fit the dancers at hand, it gives excellent results.

Even in a "diverse" company, body type STILL means something. The short girls get press lifted a LOT more than the tall girls.

This approach of hiring a diverse range of body types is sometimes rare in ballet, although I dance for just such a ballet company and it's becoming more common in general. In contrast, it's very common in modern dance and has been for a long time. If your director was from an "old school" type of thinking, he or she may not be aware of the level of diversity currently in the ballet world.

The other thing you can do is learn how to "dance tall". That happens through careful good technique. One of our principle dancers is just over 5' tall --- but that didn't stop the press from raving about her beautiful long lines in a certain pas de deux.

<small>[ 20 March 2004, 10:21 PM: Message edited by: citibob ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Would Like to Know
PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2004 9:50 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2004 12:01 am
Posts: 30
Location: Canada
citibob,where do you dance? what company?

I know about the ideal body type for ballet and that I do not nor have ever had it.

Is there any chance for me to dance ballet anywhere?

Are there any places that accept people like me?


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 Post subject: Re: Would Like to Know
PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2004 9:08 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1876
Location: New England
Quote:
citibob,where do you dance? what company?
I gave that information on another thread you recently started. As I mentioned above, we are not the only "diverse" ballet company out there --- and ballet is CERTAINLY not the only kind of dance.

Quote:
I know about the ideal body type for ballet and that I do not nor have ever had it.
I tend to believe that the "ideal" body type was a belief promoted by certain founders of American ballet, based on their own personal preference. I cannot dispute that the ballet these people produced was very beautiful --- but I've seen other beautiful ballet as well.

Quote:
Is there any chance for me to dance ballet anywhere?
I have no idea. Without skills, you have no opportunity. If you want a chance, you need to worry about developing skills, i.e. quality training.


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 Post subject: Re: Would Like to Know
PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2004 10:00 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 16, 2002 11:01 pm
Posts: 92
Location: Toronto Ontario Canada
there are a few schools/ teachers out there in the professional dance schools in toronto that like to make comments that arent true to their students. i have a friend that has the perfect ballet body, yet she has had teachers that have said otherwise.

there are a lot of small companies out there, especially in toronto. ontario ballet theatre does nutcracker every year, and for the past two years that i have danced there has been a huge range in dancers.

i say never give up :)


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 Post subject: Re: Would Like to Know
PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2004 10:31 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2004 12:01 am
Posts: 30
Location: Canada
There aren't many companies in Canada though,how hard is it to get a visa if you are a Canadian ballet dancer looking to work in the USA? How about other countries?
And I really don't have the perfect ballet body at all.I'm a small person but I don't have the long legged limbed look.Margot Fonteyn was only 5ft4, Veronica Tennant 5ft3,and I think Tina LeBlanc of SFB is a mere 5ft1!
I don't want to give up,and I don't think I will.
How tall are the NBOC female dancers?


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 Post subject: Re: Would Like to Know
PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2004 10:33 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2004 12:01 am
Posts: 30
Location: Canada
Ooops, Margot Fonteyn was only 5ft2!
Sorry about that one!


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 Post subject: Re: Would Like to Know
PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2004 8:46 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 23, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 1057
Location: SF CA
Hello Raspberry, I danced with the RWB and I am 5'1. I am also an American. I danced with several Canadian dancers here in the USA.

Study hard and be the best dancer you can be. Talent and artistry will win out.


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 Post subject: Re: Would Like to Know
PostPosted: Fri Mar 26, 2004 5:57 am 
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Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 65
Location: Germany
Rasperry, I guess it's always VERY difficult to take (or neglect) advices on body types in ballet.

Contrary to your experience, I was always told that the world (at least in Europe... ;) ) needed small, tiny dancers - especially because of the pas de deux - reason citibob mentioned.

I don't know how to compare the US-system with the european metric system, but I was always considered a [to] "tall" dancer with only 1.68 meters. But I guess this height-argument changed a bit in the past few years, because you can notice that even the established Russian companies tend to have more "tall" dancers (1.70 m +).


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