CriticalDance Forum

Barbie of Swan Lake
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Author:  thom_hecht [ Sun Jun 06, 2004 1:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Barbie of Swan Lake

I am interested in "ballet and animation" and currently investigate "Barbie of Swan Lake" as a case study. I would be delighted to get some opinions regarding this topic.

The following abstract will show the focus of my research. Any suggestions are more than welcome. :p

"Once upon a time, there was a beautiful plastic princess, who was born in El Segundo, the home of the Mattel Corporation in California. Her full name is Barbie Millicent Roberts, but to keep it simple she prefers to be called Barbie. As an icon of beauty and popular culture, Barbie™ has inspired both contra-positional or rather ambivalent criticisms. With the turn of the millennium, the ever-young toy doll has launched her career as a professional dancer in Barbie™ of Swan Lake and conquers from now on the world of ballet. At this point, it is worth mentioning that, so far, Barbie had about seventy-five careers from registered nurse to rock star. As well as becoming a leitmotif for young girls, Barbie™ has similarly shaped the ways of perceiving the representation of the body, which has become central to the study of dance, and of course - fashion. Yet, in contemporary productions of Swan Lake the rationale often seems arbitrary due to the sheer unlimited repertoire of experimental ballet choreography. Whilst dance scholar Sally Banes claims that “the Petipa-Ivanov version of Swan Lake [from 1895] features more conventional representations of women as fragile and dependent on men, even while the ballets still present alternative visions of female authority” (1998:59), Mattel Entertainment portrays Barbie™ as powerful, seductive and supernatural ballerina of the twenty-first century. The body is one of the key factors for understanding the manifold art of classical dance and the complexity of ballet itself. My focus in this article is on the discourse on the representation of the dancing body produced in Barbie™ of Swan Lake. Thus, this essay will move beyond the discipline of classical dance, which is usually concerned with the movement of human beings. I aim to emphasize the interdisciplinary methodological approach of analyzing a hybrid of dance and animation."

Btw, if you want to quote from this abstract, please reference it properly (otherwise it is plagiarism!). If you want to read the whole essay (available from July 2004), please drop me an email.

Author:  BabsLights [ Fri Jun 18, 2004 12:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Barbie of Swan Lake

It seems to me that Ms. B's journey in to ballet is not a new one. Thirty odd years ago she certainly was doning the required tutu and shoes, at least in my house. Perhaps, at that time, she decided against a career as her minimal training had resulted in extremely reduced flexibilty (except in splits or grande jettes), poor turnout, and a loss of balance when not supported by a barre or someone's hand on her torso.

I personally felt she was better suited, in the 20th century, to a career in modern dance; her angled poses, supported by abstract objects, seemed more in line with some of that century's honored modern choreographers.

Has the improved technology of the 21st century enabled a new super-dancer, just as it seems to have produced super-athletes? Is this dancer now able to flow freely, not only in movement, but between dance genres, as the atheletes do?

Author:  Azlan [ Fri Jun 18, 2004 9:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Barbie of Swan Lake

Hi, there have been numerous posts on the subject in this forum. You can use the search function (upper right corner).

Author:  maria_technosux [ Fri Jul 30, 2004 6:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Barbie of Swan Lake

Originally posted by Dance_Scholar_London:

Btw, if you want to quote from this abstract, please reference it properly (otherwise it is plagiarism!). If you want to read the whole essay (available from July 2004), please drop me an email.
Dear Sir,

I contacted you in private about your work, but I haven't received any reply so far. I also included some reading suggestions in the mail I thought you'd be interested in. If you are reading this, please reply to me at my e-mail address.


Author:  thom_hecht [ Fri Jul 30, 2004 1:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Barbie of Swan Lake

Hi Tex,
I got your email and will reply shortly. Sorry, was (am) really busy with rehearsal at the moment + article is about to be copy-edited but will send it to you soon. Hope that is ok. Sorry again for make u waiting. XX

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