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 Post subject: Weight and the Aesthetics of the Ballet - Lewis Segal of
PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2001 10:48 am 
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From the Los Angeles Times:<P><B>The Shape of Things to Come <BR> The premium that classical ballet places on ultra-thinness is an outdated concept and is no longer worth its considerable risks.</B> <P><BR>By LEWIS SEGAL<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Bony is still great and chunky still awful in the obsessive realm of classical ballet, with women continuing to suffer everything from heartbreak to death if they don't measure up. <BR> However, the realities of evolving taste may force the dance world to abandon the kind of thinking that perpetuates its most enduring scandal. The robust look of women athletes could be prompting the Euro-American dance world to rethink its unquestioning adoration of extreme thinness. Furthermore, a number of recent legal actions have turned the uncompromising and often dangerous physical standards of classical ballet into a public issue.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE> <P><BR><A HREF="http://www.latimes.com/cgi-bin/slwebcli?DBLIST=lt01&DOCNUM=26084&TEMPLATE=9002&DBPUB=20010401uPTgPpgZ&QDesc=The%20Shape%20of%20Things%20to%20Come" TARGET=_blank><B>MORE...</B></A><BR> <BR><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited April 11, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Weight and the Aesthetics of the Ballet - Lewis Segal of
PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2001 9:35 pm 
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And don't forget this thread:

Does Body Type Matter?

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

<small>[ 08-10-2002, 17:50: Message edited by: salzberg ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Weight and the Aesthetics of the Ballet - Lewis Segal of
PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2001 8:35 am 
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Interesting to note that Amanda Schull, the star of "Center Stage" whose character turns to more contemporary choreography because of her supposedly imperfect body type (among other reasons), is now a member of San Francisco Ballet. So though she wouldn't cut it for the movie's fictional New York City Ballet/American Ballet Theater conglomeration, she did in real life make it into SFB. How ironic that it is now SFB that is under direct attack. Dancers like Schull and the beloved Tina LeBlanc would suggest to me that SFB is one of the more progressive companies when it comes to body-type acceptance.


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 Post subject: Re: Weight and the Aesthetics of the Ballet - Lewis Segal of
PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2001 9:31 am 
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Lewis Segal's article seems to me to be a well thoughtout well written piece of past, present and possible future trends. <P>And I hope he is right. It has always fascinated, and sometimes horrified me that the male body is seen as the "norm" and the female body is subject to alteration. <P>


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 Post subject: Re: Weight and the Aesthetics of the Ballet - Lewis Segal of
PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2001 6:50 pm 
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Basheva, I too was impressed by the depth of thought in Segal's piece and generally pleased with his conclusions. I just think (looking in from the outside, admittedly) that SFB is actually one of the more progressive companies about this, and I can easily picture them in Segal's bright future.<P>I think it's great people are talking critically about these body-type issues. I just wish we could do it without threatening funding to a particular company; make it proactive rather than punitive. But maybe I'm naive and just want to believe that kind of dynamic could actually happen. Ah, well . . .


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 Post subject: Re: Weight and the Aesthetics of the Ballet - Lewis Segal of
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2001 6:10 am 
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From the Los Angeles Times:<P>Here is a letter to the editor in answer to Lewis Segal's article. It is very short but worthwhile reading.<P><B>Balletic Bodies</B><P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>I very much appreciated Lewis Segal's Perspective regarding the extreme body type on which ballet has insisted for the last 25 years or so ('The Shape of Things to Come," April 1). It has been that long since I have enjoyed a live performance.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE> <BR> <P><A HREF="http://www.latimes.com/news/comment/20010408/t000029881.html" TARGET=_blank><B>MORE...</B></A><P>


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 Post subject: Re: Weight and the Aesthetics of the Ballet - Lewis Segal of
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2001 7:01 pm 
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Location: Lenexa, Kansas, USA
Question:<BR>What do you all consider to be the "ideal ballet body type". I mean, the ideals vary sometimes from place to place, depending on the strengths and emphasis of the technique and style applied in that area. I lived in Argentina for three years, and there was much less emphasis on weight than there is here (in the US), and more on true ability and expression on stage. Also, some ballet schools like tall girls, or strong ones, or ones with good feet. So I just wanted to know, with what you've been taught, what IS the ideal dancer's body?<BR>-Sarah-


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 Post subject: Re: Weight and the Aesthetics of the Ballet - Lewis Segal of
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2001 7:14 pm 
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HI Sarita: I see you live in Kansas! I taught at K-State for two years, in the Dance Program!! Welcome to criticaldance. As far as ideal body type, it really varies with the style of dance. Ballet seems the most pre-disposed to the thinner physique. Luckily, hopefully this attitude is STARTING to change. Several "high profile" cases (Keefer case and Heidi Gunther at Boston Ballet)have hightlighted that the dangers of this aesthetic, taken to an extreme, are very harmful and unhealthy. I even saw some cover story, I think it was People magazine, where it said "healthy bodies are in", with pictures of Jennifer Lopez, Charlize Theron, and other shapely Hollywood stars; apparently showing that a more "womanly" physique is becoming more fashionable. Our standards in dance, indeed attitudes about "bodies" in general, are a reflection of cultural attitudes in general. As you point out from living in Argentina, different cultures have different ideas about what is beautiful or "ideal". <BR>In modern and jazz, there is much more variation in body types. Tall, short, long legs, short legs, you name it!! Of course, there are exceptions to these norms. An exceptional talent, an unusually talented dancer with great performing ability, will catch the eye of an artistic director, a casting agent, or the hearts of the audience!!<p>[This message has been edited by trina (edited April 10, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Weight and the Aesthetics of the Ballet - Lewis Segal of
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2001 10:53 pm 
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I'd just thought I'd mention this: I have the Classical Ballet Technique book by Gretchen Ward Warren, and I was showing the pictures to my boyfriend. Some of them I thought were so pretty, but he couldn't get past the fact that the women pictured were so terribly skinny-- he didn't think it pretty at all. He wants to know why we think a bony body is pretty. He also wants to know why an overly arched foot is pretty. Looking at the "beautiful but weak" foot pictured in this book, we both go "ew!" -- it is so extreme it is disturbing to us. Is it possible that the ballet world has slowly convinced itself that such unnatural body shapes are pretty, when really they are just extreme, unnatural, and not really aesthetically pleasing? My boyfriend wanted me to ask you all about this... why do we think that that overly arched foot, that excessively bony body is attractive? He is a musician, a photographer, an amateur artist -- he loves looking at lines -- but he has a hard time appreciating the extremeness of ballet. <P>Okay, those were just some thoughts I've been wanting to share. --Katheryn


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 Post subject: Re: Weight and the Aesthetics of the Ballet - Lewis Segal of
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2001 5:10 am 
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Katheryn - I think your friend makes a very good point.

I, too, sometimes looking at an extremely arched foot have thought "that doesn't resemble a human foot at all". Sometimes people who become immersed in a certain thing forget that the rest of the world sees things quite differently.

Look at the body builders - they think all those muscles are beautiful. Actually, to me, they look really bizarre. To a certain point those muscles are beautiful, but after that point to my eyes it looks bizarre. So it is not only the ballet world.

The ballet world can become very closed....people comparing themselves to themselves. That is very thin people comparing themselves to other very thin people, and therefore losing sight of what is really normal.

We had an interesting discussion on this in the thread in the Studio - here is the link to it in case you didn't see it:

BODY PROPORTIONS

By the way one of the men in Gretchen Ward Warren's book Theodore Brunson is an old friend of mine. I was there when he took his very first ballet class.

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

<small>[ 08-10-2002, 17:51: Message edited by: salzberg ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Weight and the Aesthetics of the Ballet - Lewis Segal of
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2001 1:33 pm 
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Having come from the ballet world to the modren world and now back to the ballet world as an administrator, I like to see MUSCLES. I want to see strength and grace together. I DON'T want to see your bones. That means you have no muscles or strength. If I wanted that, I'd look at fashion magazines.


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 Post subject: Re: Weight and the Aesthetics of the Ballet - Lewis Segal of
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2001 2:20 pm 
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That makes me consider what I like to see, LMCTech...and I guess my answer is lines and curves in space. That certainly does NOT mean bones. It is the entire body, muscles and form, shapes made within the negative space.


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 Post subject: Re: Weight and the Aesthetics of the Ballet - Lewis Segal of
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2001 4:21 pm 
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I can't imagine what artistic directors are thinking when they advertise for dancers who are "nearly 100% muscle" - is there even such a thing?


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 Post subject: Re: Weight and the Aesthetics of the Ballet - Lewis Segal of
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2001 10:23 pm 
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Thank you for an understanding reply, Basheva. I like your example of body builders very much. They don't look good to me at all! I'm sure I have more to say on this topic, but it's late and my brain isn't thinking, so I'll try again another day. :-)<P>


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 Post subject: Re: Weight and the Aesthetics of the Ballet - Lewis Segal of
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2001 5:37 am 
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From the Los Angeles Times - Toni Bentley's reply to the Lewis Segal article:<P><B>Critic's Argument for Heftier Dancers Is Thin</B> <P><BR>By TONI BENTLEY<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>As a former member of the New York City Ballet during George Balanchine's tenure, I feel compelled to respond to Lewis Segal's April 1 article, "The Shape of Things to Come," calling for ballet dancers to gain weight and stop being victims of the slim, linear image that surfaced in late 20th century dance. <BR> Coupled with Krissy Keefer's lawsuit against the San Francisco Ballet School for "discriminating" against her 9-year-old daughter by not accepting her for professional training as a classical ballet dancer, we are entering the dangerous world of art as politics.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE> <BR> <BR><A HREF="http://www.latimes.com/print/calendar/20010416/t000032283.html" TARGET=_blank><B>MORE...</B></A><BR>


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