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 Post subject: Pride and Prejudice at the Barre
PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2000 8:45 am 
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Here are two interesting articles from the Los Angeles Times - they both are called by the same title - one deals with the Keefer case but seems to have more details than the other links I have seen - or different details and the other deals with choices chosen and choices imposed:<P><BR><A HREF="http://www.calendarlive.com/top/1,1419,L-LATimes-Search-X!ArticleDetail-14856,00.html?search_area=Articles&channel=Search" TARGET=_blank>Brother and Sister and Their Ballet Dreams</A><P><A HREF="http://www.calendarlive.com/top/1,1419,L-LATimes-Search-X!ArticleDetail-14857,00.html?search_area=Articles&channel=Search" TARGET=_blank>Prestigious Ballet School is a Target</A><P><BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Pride and Prejudice at the Barre
PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2000 9:27 am 
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Location: IL, USA
Thank you Basheva for sharing these articles. I am very impressed with how thorough and well-researched the L.A. Times is these days. These are easy topics for lesser writers to turn into tabloid fodder.<P>The Keefer case continues to leave me asking the question: If Krissy Keefer is as concerned with her daughter's welfare, and not her own socio-political agenda, as she claims, why then does she seek to place her daughter under the tutlelage of a school/environment of which she has such contempt? Surely she can recognizes that the syllabus is such a small part of what actually goes into a dancer's training. If she abhors their values, why does she seek to allow her daughter to be mentored by such people?<P>Don't get me wrong, I am fully behind SFB school on this, but they made a crucial error in judgement. As I have participated as an adjudicator in such auditions, I know that very often, and very mistakenly, the staff (who should be much better prepared for this type of thing), rely on the old 'body type' excuse, feeling that it is a tangible that people can accept, whereas the 'talent' issue is so much more subjective. Perhaps this whole situation will encourage companies/schools to look at their procedures and educate their staffs more thoroughly, but also, unfortunately, it may mean that artistic decisions may be more influenced by the lawyers!<P>

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 Post subject: Re: Pride and Prejudice at the Barre
PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2000 10:30 am 
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Cabriole - I think that this is an issue that will not go away - but may indeed become more and more omni-present. I am not sure if you had a chance to read the thread also in Issues - called the Keefer Case. It is quite a long thread - but very worthwhile I believe, - so many interesting opinions.

Here is the link to it if you are so inclined:

http://forum.criticaldance.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=3&t=000167

<font size = -2><center>(Edited by salzberg to fix link)</center></font>

I think, as I said in that thread, that some of this controversy may be avoidable by how the audition process is handled. It must be handled with care, thoughtfulness, rather than in a dismissive, autocratic manner. And, in my opinion, a dismissive manner has all too often been the case.

Rejection may be the outcome, but one can minimize the bruising to the hopes, heart and soul of the applicant.

<small>[ 08-11-2002, 11:27: Message edited by: salzberg ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Pride and Prejudice at the Barre
PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2000 2:16 pm 
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Location: neworleans, louisiana
Thank you for sharing these clippings, Basheva. I especially enjoyed the brother/sister tale of these apparently well balanced siblings. If nothing else comes of their respective ballet careers, look at the valuable, adventurous lives they've already lived. Three cheers once again for home schooling, and I hope to see Wendy at the Jackson competition in 2002.


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 Post subject: Re: Pride and Prejudice at the Barre
PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2000 3:00 pm 
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Location: IL, USA
Yes, Basheva, I did read the original thread on the "Keefer case". I do agree that it was miss handled on the part of SFB, but frankly I feel that this parent is a mine field and was determined, if not now, somewhere down the line, to create a commotion whenever it served her purposes. Does she really believe she can demand and recieve a quality dance education for her daughter through legal means? How well would any of us teach under the threat of legal action?

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 Post subject: Re: Pride and Prejudice at the Barre
PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2000 3:50 pm 
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thanks forthese links, basheva - and i agree that they are both interesting and informative.<P>i would like to select out just a couple of bits - for people who may be weary of reading all the links we've had on this case:<P>this rings true to me, and is appropriate, IMO:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>The (SFB) school's published criteria states: "The ideal candidate is a healthy child with a well-proportioned, slender body; a straight and supple spine, legs that are well turned out from the hip joint, and correctly arched feet. The child should also have an ear for music and an instinct<BR>for movement." <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>and, regarding the child's mother:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>A self-described radical feminist, she is politically savvy and seeking to make a point about the ballet world's obsession with thinness. <BR> When she was 21, Mrs. Keefer founded a feminist dance company...In the mid-'80s, she started another company, Dance Brigade...(whose Nutcracker) was not a fairy prince but a South African freedom fighter, with dancing mice as CIA rodents. <BR> ...Mrs. Keefer...says she is looking for "justice" and for "a change of consciousness. We're all weight-obsessed and these are the institutions that perpetuate that." <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>i am getting curious now to see what size and shape Mrs Keefer is!<P>sorry!<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>The San Francisco Ballet Assn.'s managing director, Glenn McCoy, says ..."We frankly feel it's tragic that this little girl's mother has dragged her into the spotlight where people are publicly critiquing her body." <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>it really does sound as though she is using her daughter, at this tender age, to battle on her own personal issues with society....i wonder what this daughter will make of this, when she hits her teens....!?<P>forgot to say, basheva: great title - well done! Image<p>[This message has been edited by grace (edited December 26, 2000).]

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 Post subject: Re: Pride and Prejudice at the Barre
PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2000 4:27 pm 
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Thank you Grace - very much ....<P>Parents use their children in many ways and for many reasons. It isn't right, but it is done. As teachers we have all come across parents who live vicariously through their children. The corridors of ballet studios - and many other places are filled with them. <P>Playing devil's advocate here - (forgive me) what would we say if this case was the start of a true re-think of the sometimes dangerous aesthetic that exists now in the ballet world? <P>The entire segregation issue in the South of the United States was sparked by one little woman by the name of Rosa Parks. Yes, she is an adult and made a choice for herself, and Fredrika is just a child....but suppose this started a trend away from the death like thinness that is now demanded? <P>


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 Post subject: Re: Pride and Prejudice at the Barre
PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2000 8:23 pm 
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Location: Montreal, QC, Canada
Basheva, I fundamentally agree with your idea of a court case being used to set a precedent, or bring public awareness to an issue, but because this case involves a minor it really rubs me the wrong way. <BR>Juveniles aren't named in court in Canada in order to protect them from the media--although I realize it's the mother who has brought this action. It just seems like her daughter may end up paying a higher price than is necessary in order to make a point.


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 Post subject: Re: Pride and Prejudice at the Barre
PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2000 5:44 am 
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Ms. Keefer's web-site.<BR> <A HREF="http://www.dnai.com/~ntooby/" TARGET=_blank>http://www.dnai.com/~ntooby/</A>


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 Post subject: Re: Pride and Prejudice at the Barre
PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2000 5:55 am 
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Interesting website, Maggie. If you click "Interview with Krissy" you will see a picture of the mother. I have to say, judging from the website, in my personal opinion, she sounds like an angry woman. <P>Marie - you make a good point about using a minor in this way. So, let us say that (again playing devil's advocate, forgive me again) that you wished to set in motion this change - how would you go about it? <P>It is afterall mostly only minors that are auditioned for the school.......how else would you set a "complaint" (I am not sure it is a law suit, yet) against the school which you thought was furthering an aesthetic which you were convinced was harmful? Don't you almost have to have a minor child to do this?<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Pride and Prejudice at the Barre
PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2000 1:00 pm 
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Well, there's no other way to bring a complaint against a school (except if you were on the faculty) unless it's through a minor child auditioning but I know that I wouldn't be willing to sacrifice my child to do that. And I do consider myself a feminist, but not a radical feminist. <P>If this was my cause I would be more likely to get someone to audition for a company and then sue on that person's behalf rather than going after perceived inequities in the institution of ballet through the school. <BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Pride and Prejudice at the Barre
PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2000 4:23 pm 
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More devil's advocate:<P><BR>I am not sure that auditioning for the company is quite the same as auditioning for the school. <P>When one auditions for the company - the company is seeing the "finished" product (or almost finished).<P>But when a child auditions for the school, then that child is being judged of potential - and it is precisely that potential, in my opinion, that has angered the mother. She says they didn't even have the child show what she can do - they simply judged her body and its potential to be trained in the ballet.<P>So, it seems to me, that a child is needed to test this "complaint". <p>[This message has been edited by Basheva (edited December 27, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: Pride and Prejudice at the Barre
PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2000 4:37 pm 
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But the school will allow the child to train in its recreational division so they are not denying her a dance education, they just didn't choose her for the professional school. I still don't think you can force an institution to accept anyone who sues for the right to attend.


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 Post subject: Re: Pride and Prejudice at the Barre
PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2000 4:41 pm 
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well done, maggie! Image<P>i offer up the following quote from ms. keefer's site - from an interview with her:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>I was particularly attracted to Lilith because she was kicked out of the Garden of Eden, and I tracked that back to my adolescence of growing up during. the '60s and feeling like I was constantly in trouble with myself, my parents, the state, and the school system.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>i don't think this publicity will do any harm to her dance collective and it's future audiences.....

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 Post subject: Re: Pride and Prejudice at the Barre
PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2000 9:43 am 
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Location: Ontario, Canada
As I am not a dancer myself, I have found myself asking this question as I have read through the posts re the Keefer case: <P>How does one assess talent (or potential) in a 9 year old? What are the accepted industry markers of talent? Can one really reliably assess this at all in children 8 or 9 years old with very little formal dance training? What would the best marker be...musicality? Flexibility? How much flexibility is enough and how much is too much? How can you distinguish between the flexibility of a child who has regular stretch/strength class and one with more limited flexibility who don't stretch regularly (again, we are talking that very young age group)? Is it preferable to have a child with less formal training to one who has done more, but needs some correcting?<P>Are there as many answers to these questions as there are questions?<P>I have only seen auditions for 2 professional ballet schools so my experience is extremely limited...one had very little "dancing" but there were some basic movements required (I think I have referred to this elsewhere...)<P>On a more personal note, my little one has a very important audition this winter. I think that no matter what your talent/potential you must be prepared for the outcome of NOT being accepted. I don't think that this was done in the Keefer case. There are just too many applicants for too few spots. The panel does their best but can't see every little nuance. Some days my little one looks absolutely wonderful (I'm just slightly biased...). Other days she is nothing special as a dancer that is, always special as a daughter). <P>Sorry to ramble (again)...got to go now.<P>


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