Originally posted by Tzigane:
There are huge divergences in opinion on this subject, and I have heard most of them. His portrayal, especially in the eyes of dancers such as Gelsey Kirkland, has been often negative, and I believe that his actions in that perspective were destructive and damaging, and I hardly support them. I have to take into account, however, that Ms. Kirkland was a deeply troubled dancer, as evidenced by her anorexia and drug use, and I can't assume that everything alleged is totally accurate.
It goes deeper than "slight glance here, a move of the finger there", though.
To thousands of people, hearing the name "Gelsey Kirkland" mentioned in the same breath as the word "ballet" is like being slapped in the face with the bloated corpse of their favourite art. Typing those two terms into Google, in fact, will yield countless sites dissecting her connection to that term. She’s hailed as a "ballet revolutionary" by some sites and derided as a reprehensible crackhead by many more.
The truth of the matter is she has more in common with Marilyn Manson in a strange waythan Suzanne Farrell, Merrill Ashley, or Toni Bentley.
Why on earth would I make such a ridiculous statement? It’s simple: she is the whipping-boy for an imaginary moral decline. Much as the Christian right deemed Marilyn Manson a dangerous puppy-smashing psychopath responsible for turning thousands of misfit teenagers against The Lord, the balletomanes of the world have deemed Gelsey Kirkland a drugged-out fake responsible for spoon-feeding direly unfavourable behind-the-scenes information to thousands of preteens under the false banner of revolutionizing the ballet as a vocation.
However, any sane person can see that the notion that Kirkland could possibly contribute anything to the destruction of ballet simply by her fairly ridiculous association with it is as laughable as thinking Marilyn Manson ever had any hope of making a lasting impact on anything other than the world’s supply of bottomless vinyl unitards.
The word "Balanchine" has been dragged through the mud for decades by such notorious mainstream ballet hackers as Michael Clark and Edouard Lock. Thousands are concerned that Gelsey Kirkland has taken something away from the credibility of ballet, but perhaps they fail to see that ballet has been greedily digesting itself since the moment it began.
So what are those with a "more balanced look at things" worried about? Is their connection to ballet so tenuous that Gelsey Kirkland actually poses a threat to it? Why should they care about the tastes of a demographic that’s using ballet rebellion via more balanced look at things to wean them off the breakdancing trend?
Their major problem, as I see it, is jealousy. Whether they like it or not, whether she's a crazy junkie or not, Gelsey Kirkland has done more to invigorate the concepts of ballet and ballet as a profession than any of their real ballet-colleagues have done in years. She’s put the word ballet on the tongues of more people than Balanchine ever did.
She may be nothing more than a vapid junkie to the Balanchine fans, but they hate her for one reason more than any other: she won.
It’s time for the balletomanes of the world to face the fact that Gelsey Kirkland's vision of how ballet should be is the future and Balanchine ballet is the past. Ballet has never been more accessible, what with ballet-companies in beer commercials and choreographers appearing on reality television. Despite anyone’s best efforts to prevent it, younger and younger kids are going to get curious about ballet; since it’s already entered the mainstream in manifold ways, it’s ridiculous to blame Kirkland (or her supporters
for trying to get in on the coolness bandwagon. She provides an accessible alternative to ballet's fragmented and, in many cases, quite befuddling extremes. To deny Gelsey Kirkland her place in the lineage of ballet would be short-sighted and ridiculous.