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 Post subject: Re: Nudity in Dance
PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2003 8:29 am 
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Posts: 38
Location: New York
Matthew - I see your point, and in an ideal world you would be right. However, the difference between abortion and something like posing for Playboy is that with abortion, no one can know she had one. According to new HIPAA laws, she can have absolute confidentiality, and this would of course have no impact on the ballet troupe. However, with Playboy, there is no way of concealing the matter, so to speak. This is an action that impacts not only her, but like it or not, the ballet as well. It may not be perfectly just, but the ballet has a right to protect itself, and the dancer's actions had connections to others besides herself.

On another note - in terms of nudity in general, I wonder why there is so much resistance to it in the dance world. Virtually every actor and actress, famous or not, has had a nude or partial nude scene at some point in their career, either on stage or film. And this includes virtually all works - from classical Greek dramas to Shakespeare to modern productions. The same is rapidly becoming true of opera performers. As a relatively novice fan of dance, I'm a little surprised that there is still such opposition. Any thoughts on why?

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 Post subject: Re: Nudity in Dance
PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2003 11:33 am 
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Location: The Bronx is up; the Battery's down
Quote:
Virtually every actor and actress, famous or not, has had a nude or partial nude scene at some point in their career, either on stage or film.
It would be more accurate to say that "many actors have had...."; most of the ones I know have not.

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 Post subject: Re: Nudity in Dance
PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2003 5:07 am 
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Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Because dance in itself is a physical artform, primarily expressing through the shapes and lines and movements of the body, perhaps it is felt that nudity is not necessary. More or less everything extra that can be added by including nudity has been done, or can be added by other means. Dancers have for centuries tried to show more of their bodies without actually showing their bodies (hence the development of tights, etc.). That extra step is perhaps unnecessary or un-artistic.

That extra step is also impractical. Dancers wear what they wear to keep certain parts of their anatomy in place while they dance. As most dancing involves jumping and/or turning, the effects of not having this support are potentially disasterous.

Imagine (if you dare) a man trying to do James' Act 1 variation from La Sylphide, or the male Blue-bird variation from Act 3 of Sleeping Beauty, naked. Not only would this cause the distraction of the audience, it would also probably injure the dancer.

Also, imagine a woman trying to do Kitri's Act 3 variation and fouettes.

I am very sorry to be vulgar and give you these mental images, but it gets the pointe across.


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 Post subject: Re: Nudity in Dance
PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2003 9:22 am 
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Location: USA
Failli, you make perfect sense to me. Dancing together nude on stage, because of the sweating factor, is also not sanitary.


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 Post subject: Re: Nudity in Dance
PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2003 2:07 pm 
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Location: New York
Failli - I agree with your point that nudity is completely inappropriate in certain ballets and scenes. The majority of the time, dancing nude adds nothing to the story, and sometimes detracts. In an earlier post someone mentioned Giselle - I can think of no way nudity would be appropriate anywhere in the ballet. On the other hand, I still maintain that nudity can and should be used when it contributes to the overall effectiveness of the dance. To use a modern example, I can't imagine Preljocaj's "Le Sacre du Printemps" being performed without nudity - it just fits perfectly. While not ballet, Pilobolus often uses nudity very effectively. Dancing is a performing art - and what greater work of art is there than the human body?

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 Post subject: Re: Nudity in Dance
PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2003 8:39 pm 
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MW, movement of the human body is the art. The human body is the instrument for the movement. In my opinion, nudity does place the focus on the instrument and not the art. But, I agree with your point that it is appropriate in some circumstances, as you mentioned.


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 Post subject: Re: Nudity in Dance
PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2003 10:03 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
An article covering theatre and musical theatre:

Undressed for success
There's one sure way to stand out on stage: bare some flesh. Maddy Costa reports for The Guardian

Every night after the curtain goes up at London's Piccadilly Theatre, something peculiar happens. A woman on a trapeze swings in and out of view, and each time she flashes across the stage, she laughs deliriously and discards another piece of clothing. It is not, as Tom Stoppard must have known when he slotted this scene into his play Jumpers, a sight you would expect to see in a smart West End theatre.

click for more

<small>[ 05 December 2003, 11:04 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Nudity in Dance
PostPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2003 1:22 pm 
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Location: So. Cal
Didn't Paul Taylor say the problem with nudity is dance is that when you stop the rest of you doesn't?


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 Post subject: Re: Nudity in Dance
PostPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2003 1:39 pm 
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Location: SF Bay Area
Welcome, DK.

And I believe Hanya Holm might have said something to the effect of "Nudity is okay but there are many unchoreographed parts for both male and female dancers."


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 Post subject: Re: Nudity in Dance
PostPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2003 2:16 pm 
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I recently read Toni Bentley's "Sisters of Salome" in which Bentley describes in the intro how she became interested in dancing in the nude and how empowering it was. Most of the book is a discussion, sometimes a bit dry, of Maud Allen, Mata Hari, Ida Rubenstein and Colette, all of whom danced versions of Salome.

This was another book that had been sitting on my shelf unread for a while, but the topic came up when one of the recent Boston Ballet productions included a dance in which the women wore transparent tops. At one performance one the women's tops came undone and she was thus dancing half naked. This was quite distracting because we were wondering if she was supposed to be or not. Turns out not. Not that it mattered that much since the tops were transparent. The second time we saw the performance we were able to put that aside and think more about the dance itself.

But the women in our group wondered why it had to be the women dancers who were half naked instead of the men, whose tops were translucent not transparent.


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 Post subject: Re: Nudity in Dance
PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2003 4:08 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
The cheeks of it!
From The Herald


AS has been apparent even in the high art pages of the Edinburgh International Festival programme for years, footnotes of the type "this production contains nudity" have long since become enticements devised by arts marketing departments rather than warnings.

click for more


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 Post subject: Re: Nudity in Dance
PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2003 8:38 am 
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Location: SF Bay Area
There's an article on Bentley in the Misc forum, I believe.


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 Post subject: Re: Nudity in Dance
PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2004 11:24 am 
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Location: New York
After a long hiatus from posting while I simply lurked, the nudity in dance thread brought me back in.

BBalletFan - Sisters of Salome is a superb book - Bentley is an impressive person, from her dancing to her writing to her speaking. I think the thesis of the book addresses your question of why the women's tops were transparent instead of the men's. Her general contention is that women were made to be looked at, and men were made to do the looking. Not that women don't enjoy looking at men, but we all know there is a difference. As Bentley also points out, most women enjoy being looked at - she even notes how some of the most popular female fantasies deal with stripping or being seen naked. Just look at fashion - men wear concealing tuxedos and thre-piece suits, whereas women wear much more revealing clothing with fashionable low-cut dresses and short skirts. And I think most women would agree that given the option of looking at a man in a g-string or a tux, they'd take the man in the tux.

Just look at traditional dance costumes - as Bentley says, what is a corset and tutu with flesh-colored stockings but a means of showing off the body? And what's wrong with that? If done appropriately, nudity is a beautiful thing and enhances whatever performing art in which it is employed. As a long-time theatre and opera fan, I welcome the acceptance of nudity in many of the new productions. While obviously most dance pieces should not be performed nude, many could be done very well. I'm still surprised at the objection to it on this forum - maybe the dancing community is a bit more traditional and straight-laced than even the opera world!

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 Post subject: Re: Nudity in Dance
PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2004 11:54 am 
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Location: Seattle, WA,USA
Quote:
Her general contention is that women were made to be looked at, and men were made to do the looking.
Lucky for me! :)


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 Post subject: Re: Nudity in Dance
PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2004 8:46 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 223
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Quote:
Originally posted by MW:
Just look at traditional dance costumes - as Bentley says, what is a corset and tutu with flesh-colored stockings but a means of showing off the body?
Or, for that matter, white tights and a tight vest...


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