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 Post subject: Sometimes the US puzzles me.
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2001 10:05 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Arguably the USA has done more for dance over the past 70 years than any other country. In ballet, it provided a home for Balanchine and other choreographers who have provided so much wonderful work. Although in the 20s, it can be argued that Germany was the home of Modern Dance, from the 30s onwards it was been the USA that drove the project forward with the rest of the world following in its footsteps.<P>However, from time to time American notions come up that leave me very puzzled. I've just come across the concept of a 'House Ballerina'. As far as I can tell this is rather like a Utility player on a sports team, not outstanding, but solid, reliable and a good all-rounder who fits into the house style. <P>My problem is that we are talking about artists and this seems an unhelpful concept as it seems to offer little insight or illumination into the art of dancing, interpretation of roles etc. Frankly I might be rather offended as an artist to be seen in this light, given that art should always be electrifying to a greater or lesser degree and should have something distinctive about it. And if it is merely solid, it is disappointing almost by definition. <P>Is this a commonly used label in the US? If so I would like it added to the list of products banned from export from the US to Europe as I have never heard it used here and hope that will remain the case. <P><BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Sometimes the US puzzles me.
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2001 11:15 am 
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Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 971
Location: Pennsylvania
"House Ballerina" is a new one on me. I'll be interested to hear more


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 Post subject: Re: Sometimes the US puzzles me.
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2001 12:32 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 1689
Location: USA
I've never heard of it. That's appalling, I think. Sort of like "house wine" or the '63 Chateau Latour.


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 Post subject: Re: Sometimes the US puzzles me.
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2001 2:23 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
That term is one that I have never heard used in the concept of the art or the artist. I would see it as an insult were I the artist so labeled. I have only heard it used in terms of a house wine or salad dressing. <P>It is also true that sometimes we punish those amongst us who are reliable as artists - but it is not so in sports. In fact there were two very famous baseball stars Nolan Ryan was one, and I can't think of the other's name off hand, that were celebrated for their reliability. <P>As for utility players in baseball they too are praised for being "all around" assets to the team. <P>The artist seems to suffer from over reliability or over instability.


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 Post subject: Re: Sometimes the US puzzles me.
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2001 5:25 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Cornwallis,too, was very puzzled as he marched out of Yorktown.......and we have been puzzling people ever since.


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 Post subject: Re: Sometimes the US puzzles me.
PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2001 7:01 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 39
Location: NYC, NY USA
Stuart -<P>My apologies for intruding, but since I'm the one being quoted. . .It is not an "American" concept. It is a direct quote from my writing, though I would not be surprised if someone had said it before me. I think it would be inaccurate to label everything I write as emanating directly from the center of the American psyche; I'm quite sure I'm completely out of step with it!<P>Your description of it is accurate except in labeling it as a perjorative, or in implying that the term negates the possibility of that dancer giving an outstanding performance. In the case of Melissa Hayden (whom I felt was the quintessential House Ballerina) I think it denotes her position as a pillar of the company. If you choose to look at it as the denigration of an artist, that is how you see it, not how I wrote it and I am sorry that the concept bothers you.


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 Post subject: Re: Sometimes the US puzzles me.
PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2001 8:00 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
No intrusion and thanks for the explanation of the term's origin, Leigh. I remain unconvinced about its usefulness as a concept, but it would be a boring old world if everyone agreed all the time.


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 Post subject: Re: Sometimes the US puzzles me.
PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2001 5:52 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 4725
Location: Australia
LOL leigh! i can see the plus side of this, too - actually, stuart, i thought of fiona chadwick, when i first read your post, ("solid, reliable and a good all-rounder who fits into the house style") and was trying to apply the concept to another company - but then decided that, although she chose never to go anywhere else (than RB) she COULD have......so i didn't feel i could easily name someone who could only be that 'house' employee.....although i'm quite sure i could - if i tried harder!

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