CriticalDance Forum

Nudity in Dance
Page 6 of 10

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Mon Jul 07, 2003 3:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nudity in Dance

The "porn magazine" in question is "Playboy" rather than "Farmyard Fun":

Ballerina in naked protest threat
From Ananova

A Bulgarian ballerina who was sacked after appearing in a porn magazine says she is considering a naked protest in parliament.

Maria Ilieva was sacked as dance director of ballet productions at the Sofia Opera House, after appearing topless in the latest Bulgarian edition of Playboy.

But she said she was driven to posing for the magazine out of desperation, and is considering stripping off at what she says is a lack of ballet promotion in Bulgaria.

click for more

<small>[ 07 July 2003, 05:53 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

Author:  Torrignani [ Fri Jul 11, 2003 5:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nudity in Dance

I haven't long been a fan of dance - whether classical ballet or modern - so I don't know exactly where nudity is or isn't appropriate in a specific work. However, as an avid opera fan, I think the trend towards more and more nudity even in the biggest, most traditional companies is generally a good thing. Sometimes it is over the top and unnecessary (e.g., many ENO productions), but for the most part it is a highly effective way to make a powerful and personal connection between performer and audience. When we see nudity in film there is the artificiality of a projected image, but when we are in the same room with a nude performer, it has the potential to impact us in a profound way, thus lending poignancy to the production. Seeing Salome's Dance of the Seven Veils culminate in nudity touches me every time, not only because of the eroticism, but because of the loss of innocence it represents. I think the same could be said for many modern and classical ballets, where the point, after all, is the human form...

Author:  wiballet [ Fri Jul 11, 2003 7:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nudity in Dance

I respectfully disagree, specifically concerning Classical Ballet, because the main point of this art form is beauty, not eroticism.

Author:  Torrignani [ Fri Jul 11, 2003 8:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nudity in Dance

I agree with you - dance, like other forms of art, is about beauty. I didn't mean to imply it was about eroticism with my Salome reference. My point is that nudity can be a very effective means of connecting with the audience, whether it be through vulnerability, courage, eroticism, or simply the admiration of the human form. But I agree that dance is about the beauty of human form and movement - not always nudity and certainly not always eroticism.

Author:  wiballet [ Sat Jul 12, 2003 9:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nudity in Dance

Thanks MW for your explanation. I understand now what you were trying to say.

Author:  Azlan [ Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nudity in Dance

Not about dance but this article touches upon some of the issues discussed here:

The Seductress

NY Times

Ludivine Sagnier, actress

In Cannes during this year's festival, Ludivine Sagnier seemed to be everywhere. <a href= target=_blank>more</a>

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Tue Jul 15, 2003 1:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nudity in Dance

Opera dancers naked - for a bonus
By Kylie Walker for The Courier Mail (Queenslad, Australia)

OPERA producers beware: If you want to keep your costs down, don't ask performers to bare all in the name of art.

On-stage nudity is costing Opera Australia nearly three times the going rate, as it gears up for the July 21 opening of the passionate Richard Strauss opera Salome.

During the Dance of the Seven Veils, four dancers will unveil just about everything, at a total cost to the company in nudity payments of $140 per performance.

click for more

Author:  Torrignani [ Tue Jul 15, 2003 12:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nudity in Dance

Interesting couple of articles - I find the article on Australia's dancers very interesting. I believe they have every right to demand more for their performance being nude. It certainly isn't an easy thing to do, and they should be well-rewarded for their openness to such a scene. The problem I have with the article is the opera's insistence on "warning" people about nudity. Such a warning implies that it's a potentially traumatic event to see nude bodies on stage - and by making nudity known before the opera is performed, it undermines the scene's poignancy. It also ignores the opera as a whole, which basically requires nudity during the Dance of the Seven Veils to maintain emotional consistency. My biggest question is why Salome herself isn't doing the dance...

On another subject from an earlier post: the difference between male and female nudity. One could really write a book on this subject, but I think Azlan and Stuart both hit the nail on the head - male nudity is both more distracting and more mundane. The times I've seen male nudity in dance, it seemed as though the attention was drawn to which contortion, flip, spin, etc. "IT" would take rather than the dancer's body. Also, the male body looks pretty similar from one person to the next - when you've seen one six pack, you've pretty much seen them all. On the other hand, a woman's body is made of soft curves and graceful lines, such that there is great variation in terms of size, shape, contour, etc. of many female traits. Plus, the subtle elegance of the female body makes it much more suitable for graceful body movements than does the more power-oriented male body. At least that's my perspective...

Author:  djb [ Tue Jul 15, 2003 2:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nudity in Dance

You know what, MW? Desmond Richardson and Nikolai Tsiskaridze don't look much alike. At least that's my perspective...

Just as many people end up watching "it" instead of the dance, when men dance in the nude, I think a lot of people similarly end up watching "them" when women dance.

I also disagree with you about a man's shape not being as suitable for graceful movements as a woman's. Yuri Possokhov of SFB, a hunkily-built man, can be more graceful and fluid than many of the women in company, IMO.

<small>[ 15 July 2003, 05:28 PM: Message edited by: djb ]</small>

Author:  djb [ Tue Jul 15, 2003 5:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nudity in Dance

I just read a post on the first page of this thread about David Bintley's Still Life at the Penguin Cafe and the topless "native woman" in it. I remember when I saw the ballet on TV in the US, her breasts were censored, using the "large pixel" effect, as I recall. There's one part where she and the man run together around the stage, so she had bouncing pixel patches on her chest. It was one of the silliest things I've ever seen. I would have expected it on a major network, but this was on PBS, so it was very disappointing. (By the way, can anyone tell me what that effect is actually called?)

<small>[ 15 July 2003, 07:28 PM: Message edited by: djb ]</small>

Author:  Matthew [ Tue Jul 15, 2003 5:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nudity in Dance

I don't think that Maria Ilieva should have been fired for posing in Bulgarian Playboy ( then again - I haven't seen the picture ), unless she had contractually agreed not to prior to being hired. Is it really such a big deal? I would bet there were other factors involved in this firing.
Though I would say that very few ballet companies have the dancers and the audience that can carry off a performance with nudity in good taste, I know that POB can, and if it is good enough for them, it is good enough for me!

Author:  Torrignani [ Tue Jul 15, 2003 6:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nudity in Dance

djb - I realized the absurdity of my statement about men all looking the same as soon as I posted the reply. I should have pre-emptively retracted it. However, I still do maintain that as a general rule, male bodies look more similar to each other than do female bodies. Again, not always true, but I think by and large it is. I guess my point is that it's more of a mystery when a woman is unveiled compared to a man, but certainly this is not always the case.

I think we will have to respectfully disagree about distraction during dance. And of course men can be graceful in dance, and you gave a great example. In my experience, male nudity in dance can be very silly if not done well - I've seen it both ways. I don't think female nudity in dance runs the same risk of being silly unless done very poorly. Personally, I find myself much more distracted by the movement of "it" during a dance than of "them." And I agree about PBS's pixel effect - they should have just not shown the dance at all rather than make it look absurd.

Matthew - I disagree about Maria Ilieva being fired. Posing nude in Playboy and dancing nude in a ballet are completely different. Playboy clearly has a "prurient interest" as the US Supreme Court would say, such that its sole purpose is to sexually entice and titillate its readers. I can understand the ballet's reason for not wanting to be associated with that sort of smut...

Author:  epist [ Tue Jul 15, 2003 6:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nudity in Dance

there have been few works with nudity where it has worked and not just been for shock value.

the only one I can think of is Ann Carlson's
"Naked ape" was it called?

otherwise I think you should keep your clothes on
leave something to the imagination

clothing even if "just enough" is sexy

naked is NOT

my two cents

Author:  Matthew [ Wed Jul 16, 2003 6:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nudity in Dance

I suppose the broader issue is should a woman be fired by choosing to do something legal with her own body on her own time. For example, some people may think that abortion is actually murder, so should a ballerina be fired by a prolife artisitic director for having an abortion?
I think the broader issue here is should women be penalized, or men for that matter, by doing something with there bodies on there own time that is legal? My gut feel is that they should not - if, however, as a condition of employment, they signed a contract excluding themselves from certain activities, then they made an informed choice and should be made to pay the price.
I think the broader issue is whether or not one believes in free expression and free choice, particularily in the context of a womans right to choose what she does with her own body. Although it may be possible to make a case against this when another life is involved ( as in abortion ), I think it would be very difficult to make it in the case of a woman getting a few photos taken.

Author:  Failli [ Fri Jul 18, 2003 3:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nudity in Dance

Whilst I aggree with that statement, one must take "getting a few photos taken" in it's context.

From reading the article it seemed to me that she posed top-less in an effort to promote the ballet company (and ballet in general).

This is noble in principle (in a way), but if she posed in the context of a ballerina with whichever company she is with, that brings the company into the picture, and it seems to me that she is no-longer using her own body as her body, but she is using her own body as part of the company. If that makes sense.

The company probably doesn't want people to buy tickets for the ballet to perv at the ballerinas, which, in effect, seems to me to be what this woman is promoting, whether intentional or not.

I admire the determination and courage, though.

But is it not said, "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions"? Heeheehee...

Sorry I couldn't help it.

Page 6 of 10 All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group