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 Post subject: Re: the typical ballerina
PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2003 1:42 pm 
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Thanks, citibob, you've actually confirmed my point, which is that everyone, no matter what, has an aesthetic already in mind when it comes to dance.

For you, a 400 pound dancer in a ballet company is ridiculous. For some people, a 150 pound dancer in a ballet company is ridiculous.

Now, again, I'm not saying any of that is right or wrong, I'm saying that everyone has some kind of preconceptions, and shouldn't we recognize our preconceived notions and work from there?

Speaking of Goldhuber, for anyone who thinks a 400-pound guy can't be a serious dancer, I would highly encourage you to check out his work. He'll be at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art's TBA Festival this fall in Oregon in mid-September.


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 Post subject: Re: the typical ballerina
PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2003 1:47 pm 
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I haven't really proven your point. Goldhuber may be quite a fine dancer, but he's not a ballet dancer. This is not a matter of minor aesthetics. YOU try doing the tricks required of men in ballet a 400 lbs.

In contrast, I was talking about people who only like "lanky" women or "curvey" women or "short" women or "tall" women or "skinny" women or whatever the fad of the week is. There is a big difference between an AD who only likes "anorexic women between 5'3" and 5'6"" and an AD who will work with anyone who can satisfy the normal physical requirements of ballet.

This isn't rocket science, I think you're pretending like it's more difficult than it really is.


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 Post subject: Re: the typical ballerina
PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2003 3:31 pm 
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No, it isn't rocket science. No one is pretending it is, but discussing body type and dance is never easy.


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 Post subject: Re: the typical ballerina
PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2003 3:31 pm 
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I would also add to the above that there is that tendency to associate thin with anorexia, or ill looking , or , as one poster noted above - "ugly". I think that generally speaking this is an unfair characterization of most ( 98%? ) of these slender ballerinas. These women are strong and tough, and generally very, very fit. Also, although I am no advocate of "thinner is always better", I think we should be cautious to assume that there is an eating disorder ( which is a psychological disorder ), just because someone is thin. My suspicion is it generally means that these dancers have a naturally lean physique, and are very very disciplined. Heck, I think most of these women look pretty beautiful.
Also, isn't it a little funny that over the past two weeks I haven't heard a single person comment on Lance Armstrong being anorexic. ( Talk about low body fat ;)


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 Post subject: Re: the typical ballerina
PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2003 4:14 pm 
If I might move briefly on to Square Two, I would note that the better they are, the nicer they are. Having worked with the best of the best for about 25 years now, I can state that with a weensy amount of authority. A case in point is Natasha Makarova. Sometimes she looks like she can't get one foot in front of the other, but when class starts, she is extremely professional, takes the whole class, and takes the class as it is given and gives it her best. When you walk up and talk to her, her little face breaks into the most angelic smile and she is all energy; most pleasant and accommodating. Same goes for the top tier of NYCB, SFB and ABT. Couldn't be nicer...


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 Post subject: Re: the typical ballerina
PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2003 9:05 pm 
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Location: Petaluma, California
I guess that it just depends on what your aspirations are. Like the previous posters have mentioned, certain professional schools linked with major companies are definitely looking for certain physical attributes along with talent and ability. When you are knocking on this door, that's just the way it is...they can pick and choose...But, is this what you wish for? Perhaps, not...If you love to dance and have talent and ability, there are other avenues to pursue. Perhaps, a smaller regional company or chamber group...Maybe ballet will take you to musical theatre...Perhaps, ballroom dancing or Tango! Or Belly Dancing! One of my best friends when we danced together at SFB now has a belly dancing (not ballet dancing!) empire (Videos, CDs, costumes, workshops, and performances all over the world) and has never been happier or more fullfilled. Every dancer needs to find the place where he/she will be happy and feel appreciated and respected. Sometimes, this may take effort and much trial and error. But most dancers I know are the most perservering people on the planet!

<small>[ 29 July 2003, 12:18 AM: Message edited by: GN ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: the typical ballerina
PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2003 11:02 pm 
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My 15 year old daughter dreams of being a professional dancer. Though her first love is ballet, she holds out little hope of a professional career in that dance form. The reason? She weighs about 150 lbs., is currently about 5 feet 7 inches, and has a "full" chest (36C) and hips. She is a beautiful dancer, though, with strong legs, great technique, good turnout, nice feet. Her face "glows" on stage----she is always being complimented on her stage presence. She plans to try to have a career on stage/Broadway instead, as she is also proficient in jazz and tap, and loves to act. If she is unable to get a dance job after high school, she plans to attend a dance conservatory, for further training. Any advice? (By the way, she was accepted into ABT summer intensive in Alabama, and did attend----she absolutely loved it, but felt that many of the teachers didn't consider her "worth" working with much, due to her size----she says they concentrated on the "mini" girls in her class.) Thanks, from a concerned parent!!!!


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 Post subject: Re: the typical ballerina
PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2003 3:15 am 
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A friend of mine put it this way: "I'm fat, you're ugly; I can go on a diet." But seriously, if no one will give you time of day in the studio and you're therefore unable to acquire the skills of a ballet dancer, then no amount of weight loss will help in getting a dance career. Schools are supposed to be there to train people interested in acquiring ballet skills --- that is different from professional companies.

I have plenty of friends --- most of them not dancers --- who were chronically overweight growing up and as young adults and ended up attaining and maintaining a normal weight as adults.

One of them WAS a dancer, actually. He was an amazing Jazz/Hip-Hop dancer. I hated dancing with him because that meant I ALWAYS had to wear ultra-baggy costumes. He went on to Broadway, I went off to college. They told him to lose weight or go home. So he lost weight and went on for a career on Broadway; then retired, went home and started his own school.

Most dancers probably weight less than we would if we didn't dance --- the constant physical activity ensures that.


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 Post subject: Re: the typical ballerina
PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2003 7:13 am 
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Location: Seattle, WA,USA
Quote:
"I'm fat, you're ugly; I can go on a diet."
Uh - oh. I am 0 for two. :) .


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 Post subject: Re: the typical ballerina
PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2003 7:58 am 
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Hardly necessary Matthew - on both counts.


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 Post subject: Re: the typical ballerina
PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2003 9:13 am 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Matthew:
Also, isn't it a little funny that over the past two weeks I haven't heard a single person comment on Lance Armstrong being anorexic. ( Talk about low body fat ;)
Yes, quite true. It seems to be a stigma of female dancers that if they're skinny, they must have an eating disorder. BTW, Tour de France riders need to consume some 9 to 10 thousand Calories a day on the harder mountain stages, and it's reportedly difficult for them to get that many Calories into their body.

--Andre


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 Post subject: Re: the typical ballerina
PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2003 4:10 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 12, 2003 11:01 pm
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Location: New Jersey
Hello! I'm a new member.

I don't look like a typical dancer (I'm a bit, *ahem* big on top....) but I compare myself to some of the other girls in my class who are stick thin. They do not do that well.

I believe that you don't have to be between 5'7" and 5'10" and a size 0 to be a wonderful dancer. When I picture a ballerina, I don't think of her body. I think of her amazing technique, flexibility, and extension.

Take care,
Annie

<small>[ 13 August 2003, 08:39 PM: Message edited by: Azlan ]</small>

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 Post subject: Re: the typical ballerina
PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2003 6:41 pm 
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Interesting observations but let me ask: would you still not observe the body if it were let's say as wide as it was tall?


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 Post subject: Re: the typical ballerina
PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2003 4:24 am 
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I would still not observe the body. I would be looking at her technique and the passion she puts into her dancing.

<small>[ 14 August 2003, 06:24 AM: Message edited by: PeterTomarkensGal ]</small>

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You forgot the tickets??????? Now I can't be at the recital at all!!!!!

(funny caption I wrote)


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 Post subject: Re: the typical ballerina
PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2003 8:44 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2003 12:01 am
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Location: New York
I think if one is discussing classical or contemporary ballet, the line and aesthetic will get completely obsured with too much excess body fat. Also, I can imagine that partnering work would become very difficult at a certain weight.

It was interesting to see the dancers at the recent International Ballet competition in New York. Many of the women were above the weight of the typical dancer one sees in some New York companies. But they were all gorgeous, slender, and athletic. No disruption of classical line by having a healthy body. I've noticed that most dancers on a professional level seem to look more filled out than students. Age may be a factor, as well as muscle development, but I think a lot of students have misconceptions about how thin one really needs to be.

I take daily classes in New York City at large studios and have to say that I often see ballet dancers (usually at an Intermediate student level) who are frightenly thin. There's a definite difference in body shape and composition between a woman who is healthily thin and one who looks like she may have eating issues, even if they look to be about the same weight. The pelvis and upper back especially can start to look quite strange. I am of course making some unscientific assumptions based merely on observation.

I also take class where many dancers in major professional companies drop in. For the most part, these dancers are not excessively thin. Even dancers from companies that are popularly thought of as promoting unhealthy weights. Most of them are very muscular, with good skin color, and healthy-looking. Very thin, yes. But not emaciated.


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