CriticalDance Forum

Keefer Case and Body Image - BIG Forum
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Author:  Azlan [ Tue Jul 03, 2001 12:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Keefer Case and Body Image - BIG Forum

Oh, gee, guys! You went ahead and named dancers at SFB whom I was avoiding naming to save them from embarrassment. Image I hope they're not reading this.<P>Well, okay, they have nothing to be embarrassed about. They're all amazingly talented.

Author:  angela [ Tue Jul 03, 2001 1:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Keefer Case and Body Image - BIG Forum

Well Azlan,<BR> Your not in trouble with me anyway. It seems like to me its drama vs doing the steps(balinchine's quote). Some people feel if theres too much drama in ballet they miss having clean technique. I guess at one time dance was more expressive-from reading a quote from a European dancer that she wished that dancers showed more expression.Nahat emphasizes the theatrical in his ballets from what I read. (I'm at work still-TO BE CONT>)

Author:  Auntie [ Wed Jul 04, 2001 3:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Keefer Case and Body Image - BIG Forum

The judge threw the Guenther case out of court long ago...

Author:  Karen [ Wed Jul 04, 2001 9:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Keefer Case and Body Image - BIG Forum

Angela - the black dancer in the NYCB is AESHA Ashe. Secondly: although the Guenther case was dismissed by the court as "having no merit", Heidi's mother is still considering an appeal (as far as I know).<P>I see things from two perspectives: if we throw out everyone without a perfect body then where are the choreographers, the character dancers, the teachers going to come from? Well, no one is saying that people with imperfect bodies shouldn't study ballet. They should - if that's what they want to do - in an environment that can cater to their special needs and problems. If someone, isn't very flexible naturally he/she may have to work extra hard to achieve the range of motion necessary for ballet or may just have to be allowed to move within his/her limitations. If someone doesn't have the hip alignment that will ever allow them to achieve perfect or near-perfect turnout, they can, in a proper environment, work within their limits without doing any damage. If someone isn't very musical he/she can just do what he/she can and enjoy it. If the person is big (whether heavy boned, broad, or just a bit overweight) they can still enjoy dancing for dancing's sake as long as they are not in situations where they can cause injury to a partner or to themselves. <P>But to put people who clearly don't have the physical qualifications to succeed in ballet into a professional school is a cruelty to them and to others, more qualified, who would have to be kept out due to place limitations. <P>What is the administration of a school that gets, say, 200 applications for 20 places (I bet the ratio at the SF ballet school is greater that that) supposed to do? Lets assume that out of the 200, 50 meet the physical and musicality requirements. They still need (by my scenario) to weed out 30. This is where there is room to consider other factors. And of course it is quite possible that one of the 30 rejected students will persevere and become the prima ballerina of the resident company. But the kids who don't meet the main criteria don't belong at the school at all. And yes, it could still be possible for the kid who was fat and ungainly at age 8 to develop into a swan at 18. If the kid really wants to dance he/she will find a way of continuing to do so - and perhaps the fact that he/she was not forced at an early age into the rigors of a professional program but was allowed to develop at his/her own pace in what would definitely be a far more nourishing environment, would be the main factor that permitted his/her success later on.<P>Put a kid who doesn't have the correct attributes into a program like SFB's or SAB's and the kid will be miserable. So then the argument could be made: but they should all be nurtured along at their own pace. My answer to that is that ballet has certain specific requirements. A career in ballet is short. Kids train for 10 years for a career that may not last more than that. There isn't time to waste in a serious school. Either the kids can meet the standards or they drop out. Sometimes they drop out only to return when they are older. Sometimes they just give up. Sometimes they go into other forms of dance or areas of the performing arts.<P>As for the weight issue: part of the assessment at an auditon for a professional level school program is to look for kids who are likely to be naturally slim in adulthood. The school can look at a girl's parents and siblings. While this doesn't absolutely ensure that the girl will grow as expected, it's the best they can do at this time. If a kid's parents are chunky, then the kid is likely to grow up that way too. I certainly think good nutritional counseling should be provided all the way through and care should be taken NOT to reward dancers who are unusually slim with roles and other privileges or to punish dancers who are slightly overweight unless it is impeding their ability to dance/be partnered. I think there are ways of handling this issue in a caring and supportive manner. I think schools and companies should be wary of promoting the image of approving extreme thinness as being the ideal. I note that the kids at SAB seem to think that Wendy Whelan has the ideal body type. I happen to find it rather ugly and unfeminine to look at (except in certain roles) She must have close to zero body fat. But my guess is that that is natural for her, as she looks healthy enough. I am relieved to note that the girls in the company are looking less skeletal these days than in the days of Balanchine, who wanted to see the bones dance.<BR>

Author:  pmeja [ Thu Jul 05, 2001 2:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Keefer Case and Body Image - BIG Forum

to correct a point in karen's post, heidi guenther's mother said in the boston herald just a few days ago that she would not appeal as she was unable to, and then suggested that the boston ballet establish a scholarship in her daughter's name.

Author:  *Jan* [ Thu Jul 05, 2001 4:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Keefer Case and Body Image - BIG Forum

Something that I haven't seen addressed yet is the psychological issues of eating disorders and the psychological issues an eight year old girl is going to have to deal with due to the publicity her mother is garnering from this situation.<P>It is all well and good that more companies are recognizing a healthy body over a thin body; however, the majority of dancers themselves are still in the mindset of "being thin" at almost any cost. Until companies realize they must be responsible on some level for dancers' healthy minds and attitudes towards their own bodies and eating habits I sincerely doubt that change will be seen.

Author:  angela [ Thu Jul 05, 2001 8:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Keefer Case and Body Image - BIG Forum

Theres an advertisement featuring DARCY BRUSSELL(or is it Bussell?) in Nov 2000 Vogue-its a jewelry ad. And theres an interview with her in one of the European dance mags. Now she is STUNNING-long and slim but still shapely.<BR> AGAIN EXCUSE THE SPELLING AND GRAMMAR-I'm usually on break when I type these.......

Author:  angela [ Thu Jul 05, 2001 8:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Keefer Case and Body Image - BIG Forum

Thanks for the correct spelling Karen of AESHA ASHE's name(did I get it right this time??). And does anyone read/get POINTE magazine? Its a mag EXCLUSIVELY for ballet dancers. One of the back issues talks about the change in image and Ms.Ashe is featured along with others. I have to order it(the back issue).

Author:  Leigh Witchel [ Thu Jul 05, 2001 9:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Keefer Case and Body Image - BIG Forum

Karen,<P>As I recall from the original story the actual ratio of applicants to available places was a bit lower, (1400 to 400) but I think your point is still valid. There's room for less than one in three. Someone has to make a choice.

Author:  Azlan [ Thu Jul 05, 2001 10:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Keefer Case and Body Image - BIG Forum

From an unscientific survey conducted by Glamour Magazine:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Should ballet schools reject students for being too big?<BR>25% say yes 75% say no<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="" TARGET=_blank><B>More</B></A>

Author:  Azlan [ Thu Jul 05, 2001 7:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Keefer Case and Body Image - BIG Forum

Rachel Howard reports on the "Dance and Body Image" forum led by Ms Keefer:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><B>Krissy Keefer leads 'Dance and Body Image' forum</B><P>By Rachel Howard, SF Examiner<P> Krissy Keefer may be telling the truth when she claims she had no idea how much commotion she'd cause by filing a complaint against the San Francisco Ballet School's admission guidelines with the Human Rights Commission. She filed back in November, the first to test San Francisco's new ordinance against height and weight discrimination by contending the school rejected her then 8-year-old daughter Fredrika because she didn't fit the stated desire for "a long, slender" body.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="" TARGET=_blank><B>More</B></A>

Author:  Auntie [ Thu Jul 05, 2001 7:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Keefer Case and Body Image - BIG Forum

I think we need a little reality check here. The whole weight/size issue is a non-issue. Sorry, friends, but nobody wants to see a fat ballerina. I remember when the gorgeous Kaleria Fedicheva ballooned up to about 200 lbs. and tried to do Sugar Plum. She needed FOUR cavaliers to lift her. They sewed her into her costume and then just left her. The simple fact is, if this is YOUR career, body, craft, art (whatever), there are a zillion sensible food/diet plans of every stripe, equally as many sports medicine, sports nutritionist, psychologist, etc. etc. for little or no money... SPEND MONEY! God, no! Aaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrgh - well, if you’re serious about your future, and you have a correctable problem, then (as they say in class) “FIX IT.” Most of these eating disorders have little or nothing to do with dance. They are a hedge against an individual’s personal failure. If you don’t succeed, then you have something to blame. Oh, mean old Auntie, you say; listen - I am the best friend who will tell you what your best friend won’t tell you and one day you will thank me. Without mentioning any names (ahem) I know for a fact that one of the dancers under discussion on these threads was a junk food junkie - You can have an apple and an orange for the same caloric value as a candy bar and get a helluva lot more bang for your buck. Eating properly is not only cheaper, but you feel better and get more mileage out of your life. True, it might take a little more time and planning, but the pay-off is tremendous. Don’t take my word for it, do us all a favor and prove it to yourself...go for it!<BR>

Author:  OdileGB [ Fri Jul 06, 2001 7:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Keefer Case and Body Image - BIG Forum

Auntie, I do not think anyone is advocating "fat" ballerinas. I think it is reasonable to ask if it is right that anything but "ultra skinny" is not acceptable anymore. I am afraid in this day and age Margot Fonteyn would be considered far too fat to be a professional ballerina. Where is it going to end?

Author:  angela [ Fri Jul 06, 2001 9:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Keefer Case and Body Image - BIG Forum

Some oter WONDERFUL ballerinas who would be "fat" by todays standards:Moira Shearer,Zorina,Maria Tallchief,Leslie Caron,Zizi Jeanmarie-the members of the BALLET a matter of fact Cynthia Gregory probably would too.

Author:  Belinda [ Fri Jul 06, 2001 10:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Keefer Case and Body Image - BIG Forum

And Alexandra Danilova, Mary Ellen Moylan, Pavlova.<P>And on the extreme end, has anyone out there seen old photos of Carlotta Grisi?? MY goodness!!! Defintely a, ahem, rubenesque woman. But I doubt I would want to see a woman of her stature perform ballet today. A revolutionary on the level of Isadora Duncan--that would be another matter.

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