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 Post subject: Re: The Keefer Case
PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2000 11:37 am 
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Location: Montreal, QC, Canada
Well, I guess you could hire a company of height challenged people (Can I say that?) to do La Bayadere there by keeping the symmetry. <P>In all seriousness, I understand what you're saying Basheva. I guess this is somewhat like the U.S. election, it doesn't matter what you'd like to see happen; what ultimately will decide the issue is the way the law is written and how the judge interprets it.


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 Post subject: Re: The Keefer Case
PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2000 1:37 pm 
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Location: Ontario, Canada
For some reason this seems like Kinberly Glasco all over again, in miniature...<P>I have many, many thoughts on this topic but will try not to ramble too much here.<P>First of all, perhaps there is something about the audition process itself? I remember when my older daughter auditioned for the National Ballet School at about the age of the young girl in question there was very little dancing done. There was a lot of opportunity for the panel to look at physical characteristics - including flexibility, feet, and back. They also did a few little plies and some jumps. One opportunity to move across the floor to music, but doing something very basic. At this age no formal ballet training is required (at least for NBS)...is it the same for San Francisco?<P>In my work I see many parents get quite over-involved with their children and consequently expect too much of schools, sports coaches, dance teachers, etc. I hope that this is not the case here. I assume that since the mother is also a dancer she knows what she is doing...(!) Her legal action will likely colour how her daughter is received by future artistic directors, but I'm sure the parent recognizes this.<P>On the other hand, I am all for whomping this distorted ideal we seem to have of the ballerina. There are many lovely dancers who are not pencil thin, and it is sad that girls in their growing years find themselves so obsessed with thinness that they jeopardize the very career they yearn for. As someone else said, weight gain often preceeds a growth spurt...<P>Another point is the age of the daughter in question. I have to wonder why the mother chose to bring the action now. Why didn't she wait a year and have the child audition again? Why was it so important to launch this action now?<P>In the end, too many questions and no one clear answer.


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 Post subject: Re: The Keefer Case
PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2000 4:45 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Let's throw another potato into the stew. Apparently the law says that one cannot disciminate on the basis of gender. <P>Suppose a ballet company has 50 dancers - 25 men and 25 women. One of the women quits and the ballet company auditions to replace that woman. Naturally they are looking for another woman - but won't that automatically disciminate against all male applicants?<P>Another unanswerable question.......applying the law is much more difficult that simply writing the law...no matter how wonderul the intent may be.


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 Post subject: Re: The Keefer Case
PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2000 8:30 am 
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Posts: 90
Location: Reston,VA
I don't have a problem with SFB making ANY artistic judgement that they PLEASE.<P>But what is SILLY is that they TURN away tuition money and ask for tax dollars to keep them "floating".<P>Most kids aren't stupid. They get tired of swimming upstream and not being given recognition (even if their mama's DON'T).<P>SFB just doesn't want to "bother" with hiring teachers to teach anybody that doesn't please them aesthetically. That is a mistake on their part.<P>That would be 100% OK, if they were self supporting.<P>How many college freshmen take science courses 'cause they "want to be an astronaut" that don't PASS them??????? Lots. And eventually they go on to be English teachers or move into some other field that they are better suited for.<P>But nobody prohibits them from taking the course. And the college collects the money for the course even if they don't grant the credit.<P>SFB would have no problems if they took these eight year old "ballerina wannbe's" and then DID not give them a part in Nutcracker. They either "fit the costume" or they don't. Or if they NEVER gave them a job.<P>The problem originates with the notion that they are annointing 8 year olds. And using the "professional division" nomenclature. <P>How many 8 year olds could tell you with any certainty that they PROMISE to live up to the vote of confidence and PROMISE to dance for SFB or ANY company if asked????<P>None (although their moms might).<P>Take the kid. Keep her in the pre ballet levels FOREVER if her parents feel like paying.<P>They'll get tired of it eventually. But they will have been given a "paying chance". And SFB will have some tuition money.

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'God grant you all your desires and accept my own hearty thanks for all your attention to me. Although indeed, those attentions have tried me more than death can now terrify me.'<P>Lady Jane Grey<BR>Wife of Guildford, Lord Dudley King Consort<BR>Daughter of Henry Grey Marquis of Dorset, Duke of Suffolk


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 Post subject: Re: The Keefer Case
PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2000 11:02 am 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
You raise some very interesting points, Jane. But one might ask, if being part of the school program at San Francisco Ballet would not mean an implicit "acceptance" if not an explicit one? Might the student and his/her parents not complain then if the child does not advance? Might this not raise some false hopes?<P>While it is true that anyone can sign up for a college course - it is often stipulated that there are prerequisite courses that must be taken before one can sign up for a more focused course. <P>There is also the issue of there being just so much time and space to take all comers. If a prestigious ballet school was put in a position where it had to accomodate all comers - would not then, because of the prestige of the school, all comers come? <P>You raise some very interesting issues, Jane, as I said...........


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 Post subject: Re: The Keefer Case
PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2000 12:25 pm 
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Location: Reston,VA
Well, you can be accepted to UVA or anywhere else with no guarantees that you are gonna graduate in ANY dept., or at ALL.<P>The kid is EIGHT!!!!!<P>Gee.

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'God grant you all your desires and accept my own hearty thanks for all your attention to me. Although indeed, those attentions have tried me more than death can now terrify me.'<P>Lady Jane Grey<BR>Wife of Guildford, Lord Dudley King Consort<BR>Daughter of Henry Grey Marquis of Dorset, Duke of Suffolk


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 Post subject: Re: The Keefer Case
PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2000 1:49 pm 
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Location: Ontario, Canada
The age of the child in question is precisely what has my head spinning of late...how does one define a talented child in any domain at such a young age? Some may seem very skilled now but plateau early. Others may reach a very high level of proficiency somewhat later.<P>My younger daughter is just about the age of the Keefer girl and I find it impossible to imagine taking the step that this mother has taken. Are there not other avenues in that city for a child who wants to dance but aspires to be a classical ballerina? <P>If the child's size was the only determining factor in her not being successful, that is not very fair. However, lots of things in life (the dancing life in particular) are not very fair. I have seen talented girls turned away after an audition and not-so-talented ones get the part or the spot in the programme or whatever. Well, at least that is how it has looked to this non-dancer. I have seen many girls (and mothers) upset and in tears after auditions. This is difficult enough; how would one explain legal action to a child? How does one explain the potential risks and benefits inherent in such action?<P>And if the Keefers are successful in the legal action what will they achieve? Will the ballet be forced to give their child a spot? If so, how will she be received? And are the parents prepared for how all of that?<P>The issue of size and shape is a difficult one at the best of times. The question is when and through what forum is it most constructive to address this and hope to achieve some change.


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 Post subject: Re: The Keefer Case
PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2000 2:42 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
So the question remains - if you, you personally, were running this thing, and you were auditioning children for the San Francisco Ballet School and it was your job to train dancers for the company with a limited amount of time and space - how would you handle it?<p>[This message has been edited by Basheva (edited December 12, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: The Keefer Case
PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2000 2:49 pm 
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Location: Reston,VA
Mom2 asked:<P>And if the Keefers are successful in the legal action what will they achieve?<BR>_____________<P>Well for ONE thing, they might not have to pull money out of their LEFT pocket to subsidize SFB, while they pull money out of their RIGHT pocket to fund their OWN childs education.<P>I think THAT was the point.

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'God grant you all your desires and accept my own hearty thanks for all your attention to me. Although indeed, those attentions have tried me more than death can now terrify me.'<P>Lady Jane Grey<BR>Wife of Guildford, Lord Dudley King Consort<BR>Daughter of Henry Grey Marquis of Dorset, Duke of Suffolk


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 Post subject: Re: The Keefer Case
PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2000 2:53 pm 
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Location: Ontario, Canada
And a very good question it is too!<P>I am not a dancer, so I feel I should beg off some of the dance/technical aspects here. I do imagine that there would be certain physical characteristics which are desireable (not necessarily essential for such a young age?)...There might be certain things that would preclude acceptance...<P>I wonder how the San Francisco Ballet school handles things...here at the NBS following the audition class some children's numbers are called (or not; I have heard of "classes" that had no child chosen). Those whose numbes are called are given a brief interview and then offered a spot in summer school OR a spot on the wait list.<P>The wait list can be a good thing. Not really rejection, but not acceptance either. And you never know.<P>Sorry, I have to go fix dinner now!


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 Post subject: Re: The Keefer Case
PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2000 2:54 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 17498
Location: SF Bay Area
An opinion from Joan Ryan:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><B><A HREF="http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2000/12/12/ED164763.DTL" TARGET=_blank>We Are Not Created Equal in Every Way</A></B><P>Joan Ryan, SF Chronicle<P>FREDRIKA KEEFER is an 8-year-old girl who likes to dance, just like her mother and grandmother before her. She relishes playing the lead role of Clara in the Pacific Dance Theater's "Petite Nutcracker." So perhaps she is not as shy as many fourth-graders. But I wonder how she feels about her body being a topic of public discussion.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><B><A HREF="http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2000/12/12/ED164763.DTL" TARGET=_blank>More</A></B>


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 Post subject: Re: The Keefer Case
PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2000 2:56 pm 
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Location: SF Bay Area
Here we go:<P><B><A HREF="http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2000/12/12/DD166410.DTL" TARGET=_blank>Letters to the Editor</A></B><P>


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 Post subject: Re: The Keefer Case
PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2000 3:49 pm 
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Location: Australia
well! i haven't seen any thread here grow so fast! <P>and i'm not surprised...i think that, like glasco, this one will run and run.... Image<P>every post here is interesting and relevant...and i haven't yet read every link. i agree with you all - with marie as quoted below, with mom2 that one has to wonder about this mother's judgement and motivations, with basheva that....well, lots of things! jane grey - welcome to a new voice! Image -as you suggest, the funding issue can be seen from several angles.....<P>just a couple of quick points:<P>1) no, the RBS do NOT use x-rays as part of any audition (never have, to my knowledge).<P>2) it IS common practice to be selecting for elite training institutions, at this age (or up to the age of 12), on the basis of physique alone - NOT any learned skills. inherent aptitudes like co-ordination and musicality and natural jump height may be appraised, as well as innate confidence and personal presentation, but whatever they have learned at dancing classes prior to these ages is next to useless for professional training purposes. (that doesn't mean it's 'useless' - it just means it's really not very relevant, maybe not at ALL relevant - to the audition.)<P>3) the kirov/mariinsky/st petersburg/vaganova school use wierd little formulae, and have done for a long time, which are supposed to predict body height and body proportions - i have never understood whether these actually have a scientific basis, or not - it seems so unlikely, to me, and yet, it's how they've done it for a long time, and still do....<P>4) we can't all do everything at the same time - what i mean there, is, ANY school has only so much space, and has a particular purpose, a mission statement, a vision, a reason for being - it CAN choose to train all-comers (in which case, for safety sake, the training must be different to vocational training) OR it CAN choose to train vocationally, in which case there are physical safety considerations, and weight would certainly impact on this - though height might not...)<P>5) the use of the term 'eyeballing' is dismissive, and innappropriate when referring to the use of seasoned judgement by professional teachers of many years of experience - i'm not saying they'll be right or wrong - just that this term is disparaging , and really conveys the wrong impression.<P>6) i agree with basheva, that there has been much criticism in the past of innappropriately raised hopes of children, if encouraged to believe they can have a career which they are extremely unlikeley to be able to have. the teacher or school is soundly and rightly criticised, for taking their money on the basis of fostering false hopes......<P>jane grey - you mention universities, but they too have entrance requirements and cutoff points. some are able to accept ALMOST all-comers (community colleges, which may or may not be called universities), whereas the elite ones like the ivy league schools may have more stringent requirements, just as a recreational dance school and a vocational dance school will have different entrance trequirements - just as a local community diving program and an olympic coaching clinic will have different standards......<P>i think marie hit the nail on the head, here, but i also think this case raises many points which may benefit from discussion.....<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Ballet, and dance in general, is a discriminatory art form, but I would argue that most professions are--you don't get the job without the required credentials. In dance the body is the tool and the accepted shape is what's in vogue; there's just no way around it <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><p>[This message has been edited by grace (edited December 12, 2000).]

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 Post subject: Re: The Keefer Case
PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2000 3:58 pm 
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Location: Reston,VA
Well isn't that just great?<P>They STILL "tap dance" around the issue that they are requiring tax money to maintain their "elite" status.<P>They ought to be able to do WHATEVER in the heck they want. Even reject a kid 'cause they don't like her LIPs or ask her to "change them" (isn't that an old NYCB allegation? Didn't some of the dancers at NYCB alledge that Balanchine wanted them to adopt the lip line of Suzanne Farrell?)<P>But not at tax payers expense.

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'God grant you all your desires and accept my own hearty thanks for all your attention to me. Although indeed, those attentions have tried me more than death can now terrify me.'<P>Lady Jane Grey<BR>Wife of Guildford, Lord Dudley King Consort<BR>Daughter of Henry Grey Marquis of Dorset, Duke of Suffolk


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 Post subject: Re: The Keefer Case
PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2000 4:42 pm 
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Location: Ontario, Canada
I have to say that I don't really look at the funding issue the same way you do, Jane Grey. Possibly because I now live in Canada where there is substantially more government funding of many things than there is in the states. I think there was even a comment about this on another thread somewhere. I appreciate the fact that tax dollars are given to the arts, yet I don't feel that my tax dollars give me the right to access things just because I am a taxpayer. That being said, I will stand up for my own children and advocate for things I feel are appropriate and just. Perhaps that is what the parent is doing in this case; it will be interesting to follow the news.


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