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 Post subject: Re: Race in the Arts
PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2002 8:12 am 
Its funny you mentioned a star from that era crandc.Makes me think of Kirk Douglas,Lauren Bacall,Tony Curtis.How many people knew they were Jewish??? The only Jewish stars who were aloud to use their own names were usually the comediens--with leading men/ladies it was a different story.<BR> This is one of the reasons I LOOOVE Barbara Streisand(spell).She didnt change her name,bob her nose,etc.For years I never understood why certain folks thought her as unattractive(I've ALWAYS thought her to be GORGEOUS)--now that I'm older I understand Hollywood politics.


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 Post subject: Re: Race in the Arts
PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2002 5:52 pm 
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I did remember from four years ago (I think) that Lar Lubovitch's "Othello" was drawn heavily from an Italian novella which was the inspiration for Shakespeare's play. What I forgot was that, interestingly, race isn't an issue in the novella.


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 Post subject: Re: Race in the Arts
PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2002 6:35 pm 
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A letter to the Editor at the SF Chronicle:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Contrary to Octavio Roca's discussion of casting and race, the character Othello is not black.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><a href=http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2002/03/24/PK149452.DTL target=_blank>More</a>, in the second letter on the linked page.


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 Post subject: Re: Race in the Arts
PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2002 9:43 pm 
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I think casting against type/race is perfectly acceptable on stage, but for some reason I find it harder to accept on the screen. Perhaps it's because I have to suspend disbelief anyway, when watching any stage production (especially ballet), whereas films seem so much more like real life; therefore, incongruities seem much more incongruous onscreen.<P>I would like to believe that actors who are the "wrong" race could play against type, even if the script is race-specific. But I think it could only work if they play (or ballet, or whatever) is very familiar to the audience.<P>I was a student at the North Carolina School of the Arts from 1968-1972. There was a drama teacher there who consistently tried not to typecast his students. One talented black actress therefore had the opportunity to play Titania in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and Adelaide in "Guys and Dolls." Then she was cast in a leading role in Lorraine Hansbury's "The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window," playing a white women in a play that is about racial issues. I noticed the reactions of the audience at various performances, and, after a few confused moments, people seemed to understand what was going on.<P>But one night, the actor who played the lead black male role was sick, so the teacher -- who was white -- took his place. This made the heated dialogue about race between the white (black) womand and the black (white) man very confusing for the audience, judging by the "What the..." expressions on their faces.<P>As for bringing in Desmond Richardson for the taping of SFB's "Othello," I can believe either that it was done because the role was created with him in mind, or that it was to avoid having a white dancer in blackface dance the role. I do feel it's a shame to give the leading role to a non-SFB dancer, though. But since they want to have a black dancer do the part, wouldn't it be great to use SFB's resources and have Chidozie Nzerem dance it? I'll bet he'd be great in the role.


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 Post subject: Re: Race in the Arts
PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2002 10:10 pm 
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Since "Othello" has already been recorded, I should have said that it would have been great if Chidozie Nzerem had done the part. Which reminds me: I see postings that have been edited. How do you edit something after it's been posted?


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 Post subject: Re: Race in the Arts
PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2002 10:19 pm 
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djb, interesting remarks you make. I suppose it does get confusing when you have the cross-race casting you described. Does anyone remember the super-long play "Angels" in which characters are not only played by different actors but also across gender?<P>Interesting you should bring up Chidozie as a choice for Othello. I remember someone else also suggesting it but I can't remember who. I feel however that Chidozie is not experienced yet to dance that lead part.<P>To edit your post, click on the pencil-on-paper icon that you see right above the post: [img]../../../ubb/edit.gif[/img] <p>[This message has been edited by Azlan (edited March 24, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: Race in the Arts
PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2002 10:31 pm 
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Thanks for the info -- I guess I should just look around the screen before I give up. Re Chidozie's abilities, I suppose he must still be in the corps for a reason, even though he gets an occasional meaty role. But I was mainly thinking about his dramatic potential, which I think is considerable. I attended the special SFB event at which Amanda Schull discussed "Center Stage" and Chidozie was one of the dancers who demonstrated the swordfighting in "Romeo and Juliet." He was doing Tybalt's part, and he really made me wish he could actually get to perform the role. (Not that SFB lacks for great Tybalts, but there's always room for more.)


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 Post subject: Re: Race in the Arts
PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2002 4:09 pm 
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I just wanted to add Erika Lambe of Boston Ballet to your list of black ballerinas.There was also a mention of black Tenors and ironically,her grandfather was the late tenor,Roland Hayes.Hays was the first black man to ever sing with a classical orchestra.He came before Paul Robeson.I do not know however if he ever sang in an Opera company,but I though it was an interesting fact that he did sing classical music and his granddaughter went on to dance classical ballet.


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 Post subject: Re: Race in the Arts
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2002 8:03 am 
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o boycott or not to boycott. In my view, artists, sportspeople and all of us should be aware of the implications of what we do.<P><B>Ballet program spotlights diversity</B> <BR>By Jennifer Mrozowski for The Cincinnati Enquirer<P><BR>Two African-American guest dancers for the Cincinnati Ballet received a lot of attention for performing here Friday despite some groups' call for an economic boycott of the city. <P>But one of those dancers had a simple answer. <P>“This is my life,” said Linda Denise Fisher-Harrell. “It's very unfortunate what's going on in the city, but I'm here to dance.” <P>Ms. Fisher-Harrell is performing a solo titled ""Cry'' in Cincinnati Ballet's “Come Together Festival” this weekend at the Aronoff Center downtown. Visiting dancer Desmond Richardson, also African-American, is performing a solo titled ""Growth.''<P><A HREF="http://enquirer.com/editions/2002/04/13/loc_ballet_program.html" TARGET=_blank><B>click for more</B></A>


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 Post subject: Re: Race in the Arts
PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2002 6:49 am 
A charming looking book came our way in our library collection called 'Another Way To Dance' by Martha Southgate.<BR> It was published in 1996,about a(Black) 14 year old aspiring ballerina who was accepted into the SAB.<BR> Its aimed for juveniles;anyone ever hear of it???<BR>MARIE found the link and posted it in the Students forum under 'book discovery'.<BR>Can someone connect to this thread???<p>[This message has been edited by angela (edited April 18, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: Race in the Arts
PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2002 3:18 pm 
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The situation of the two Afro-American dancers who guested with the Cincinnati Ballet made me think of something I read in Margot Fonteyn's autobiography. She was censured by other members of the Royal Ballet for accepting an engagement in South Africa, which was not a country that dance companies tended to go to at the time. But it was a different situation in that Fonteyn would be performing for whites-only audiences. She said that she felt she was an artist and should be performing for whoever wanted to see her, and that she shouldn't get involved in politics. <P>I don't agree with this philosophy, and my impression from reading her autobiography was that Fonteyn was negligently ignorant of world politics, though her intentions in accepting the South African engagement were innocent.


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 Post subject: Re: Race in the Arts
PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2003 9:20 pm 
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Is there a case for cultural segregation in the arts?

Quote:
Black artists go own way with 'Juju'

By MARY LOUISE SCHUMACHER, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

While there is plenty of debate about the level of racial segregation in Milwaukee, many local African-American visual artists are convinced that a cultural segregation exists. There is a lack of integration at cultural events, they say. <a href=http://www.jsonline.com/onwisconsin/arts/feb03/119508.asp target=_blank>more</a>


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 Post subject: Re: Race in the Arts
PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2003 4:55 pm 
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COPIED FROM AESHA ASH FORUM:

Very well put Violindancer. As you all ready know, I couldn't agre with you more........to Azlan, you stated that she has now found a company that matches her attributes-or something like that. Thats the question I have, what does this mean? That she has found a contemporary company, am I correct? Is that basically what you meant? If so, that's the problem ....... the power holders in ballet always seem to think that black dancers should simply stick to contemporary work. I mean except the men, because of course, we need them to lift the women and do Agon and The Four T's. So where does that leave the little black girl who wants to perform Giselle one day with a top company? What exactly about Aesha's attributes didn't fare well at NYCB (other than the obvious)? Sure she could have gone to a smaller company here in the states and made it to Principal, or say, go to the Dance Theatre of Harlem. But the question is, why should she automatically have to do that; and besides, DTH can't hire every little black girl who wants to dance. Violindancer hit the nail on the head when she said that the problem is that those born to more opportunity and priviledge, don't realize that they have it. Then, comments and views are made, with the priviledged not realizing that the views are racist ot prejudiced. Like, why do all of my white teachers automatically assume that I want to, or should dance with the Ailey Company, simply because Im black? I mean, it's simply sad, and really unfair that ppls ideals are narrow. Ive typed more than I was planning to here, lol, but the point is this: for those who don't realize it's racist stereotyping it is. Black dancer does not automatically equal contemporary work, or modern dance. For everyone who thinks that all black dancers are meant to be jumping or kicking or hinging to the floor while emoting and thanking Jesus for our triumphs, and that that is all that we're good at, get over it. It is 2003, and if you really want to see a black dancer exciting and expressing the feeling of triumph, wait until you see a black female in her first performance after being promoted to SOLOIST at one of the TOP American companies, let alone principal.

-Just so you know Azlan, all of that was NOT directed at you. Just wanted to make sure you knew that since I did direct that one question at you..........and since I did get on a slight tangent,lol, I'm gonna copy this into race in the arts, also.


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 Post subject: Re: Race in the Arts
PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2003 5:01 pm 
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Since everyone is debating the whole Desmond playing Othello for SFB, and debating the race issue with it, answer me this. A friend of mine has a friend who is now an apprentice with PNB. He told her that because he is white, they made him wear "black-face" to play a servant or butler or something in the nutcracker. How about that??


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 Post subject: Re: Race in the Arts
PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2003 8:58 pm 
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Unfortunately, I can't comment on the specific attributes, as I don't know the full details but it is not what you are referring to. In general, it would be foolish for anyone not to admit that color along with other image-related characteristics play a role in the classical ballet image. However, we have to be careful not to *******-sink in the case of Aesha Ash and make her a martyr-like symbol for a cause.

Let's look at the bigger issues in race. Why aren't there more blacks in ballet, period? But yet why are there so many Asians? I guess it's the same old economic striation? And as a percentage, how many black female dancers make it to soloist and beyond in companies other than DTH? How many Asians?

I think there are some serious questions here but I think it has a lot to do with the same old factors that are prevalent in classical ballet, all related to the traditional image.

<small>[ 17 August 2003, 10:59 PM: Message edited by: Azlan ]</small>


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