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The PRIMA Ballerina!
http://www.ballet-dance.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1664
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Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Sat Feb 12, 2005 12:34 pm ]
Post subject:  The PRIMA Ballerina!

According to Greta Hodgkinson she is a PRIMA ballerina! She said so herself during the NBoC’s 2005/2006 Preview DVD. During the Glasco/Kudelka pas de deux, there was talk this position did not even exist at the National. This past Friday the Globe & Mail ran a feature on Chan Hon Goh’s Rosedale mansion. According to the writer, Chan Hon Goh is also a Prima Ballerina. I, along with you, may have your own definition of what a Prima Ballerina is and who is a Prima Ballerina.
:D

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Sun Feb 13, 2005 9:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The PRIMA Ballerina!

Me thinks I have touched upon a very sensitive spot-NO responses thus far! Where pray tell are ALL the prima posters and PRIMA ballerinas? Dear please do pull yourself away from the mirror long enough to respond to yourself! Greta? Chan? :D

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sun Feb 13, 2005 10:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The PRIMA Ballerina!

Hey, Mikey! It's Sunday when all decent folk are sleeping off a hangover or catching up on the soaps.

However, perhaps the lack of response is because it's an out-of-date concept. Many companies have several dancers at the top of their game; some will be more interesting in certain work and others in different parts of the rep. Your comment: "Kudelka is infamous for assigning roles to anybody in the company he deems worthy – be they in the corps, soloist, or principal," reflects this approach and, incidentally, this is a policy I applaud - ballet is too hung up on hierarchies.

Thinking of the current roll call at New York City Ballet and San Francisco Ballet, I guess it would be difficult to select one female dancer as "prima".

<small>[ 13 February 2005, 11:10 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Sun Feb 13, 2005 10:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The PRIMA Ballerina!

I agree it is or should be
Quote:
“out of date.”
Sure you are always going to have some standout dancers and perhaps one that shines above all others in a company. If it is
Quote:
“out of date”
why do some dancers still use the term? I think it best the term ‘PRIMA ballerina’ not be used as it does serve up many negative connotations. Companies should actively promote their top dancers but I would leave out the ‘PRIMA ballerina’ tiara until a ballerina reaches her prime or retirement.

Author:  Noreen Arnold [ Sun Feb 13, 2005 10:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The PRIMA Ballerina!

Quote:
Originally posted by Stuart Sweeney:
[QB]"Kudelka is infamous for assigning roles to anybody in the company he deems worthy – be they in the corps, soloist, or principal," reflects this approach QB]
Balanchine would also be included here - from what I've read he cast according to his own vision, not the dancers rank. I remember reading a quote somewhere ..."corps matinee, soloist evening, back to corps by tomorrow." Probably got it wrong but you get the meaning....

As for poor 'ol Greta....give her a freaking break will you Michael. I'm pretty sure her little speach was not spontaneous but scripted by somebody...who that was I don't much care. If the ballet management wants to start calling Principals "Prima" I could care less. Maybe an effort to develop a little "star" power...who knows. She dances like a "Prima" and that's good enough for me.

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Sun Feb 13, 2005 1:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The PRIMA Ballerina!

It would not surprise me if every word was scripted; however, given that Greta does have her very own website and mind, it would not surprise me that she thought up the ‘PRIMA ballerina’ all by her lonesome! Aleksandar Antonijevic didn’t even introduce himself. He let the graphic underneath him do the talking. I see something deeper in this given the personalities involved. I am not surprised this has created quite a passionate debate! It is so typical that the National could practice a non-hierarchal system of dancers within a pay hierarchy but at the same time use a very hierarchal term like ‘PRIMA ballerina!’ LOL! The NBoC even has a studio named ‘PRIMA!’ LMAO!! :D

<small>[ 13 February 2005, 04:21 PM: Message edited by: Michael Goldbarth ]</small>

Author:  citibob [ Sun Feb 13, 2005 3:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The PRIMA Ballerina!

Rank-bound or not, the reality is that the top dancers in the company can handle more choreography, and they can learn it faster. If nothing more than a matter of practicality, even Balanchine would give most leading roles to a small number of dancers. But I think that what people are saying is that he (and others) would not want to limit themselves a priori as to who they will and will not give a particular role to.

To me, "prima ballerina" is not really a good term because it conjures up images of people you really don't want to work with: fussy, petty, immature. The dancers who have achieved a lot and work hard and share generously --- THOSE are the ones I respect. Luckily, the dance world has at least as many of this kind of ballerina as prima donnas.

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Sun Feb 13, 2005 4:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The PRIMA Ballerina!

The posts are starting to gush out like gold coins from a Million Dollar Casino Slot Machine! This is healthy. We could effect some positive change in the world of ballet and possibly end something silly handed down over the centuries-The notion that a female dancer should be ordained a title placing them above all others. I admit this bandage has taken some time to pull off: 6 centuries! The important thing is that we as a planet and the world of ballet evolve for the better! :D

In Canada ‘PRIMA’ is definitely not a good word to throw around. We play team sports in Canada. Hockey is a team game. You win and lose as a team. You don’t blame your goalie for a loss. You lose as a team. You win as a team. Arguably Canada’s greatest athlete and hockey player of all time didn’t just score a bushel full of goals; he regularly led the league in assists. There is only one athlete who got away with calling himself the Greatest: Muhammad Ali. Most athletes define themselves with their actions. They allow others and the passage of time to define their place in history. ;)

<small>[ 13 February 2005, 05:57 PM: Message edited by: Michael Goldbarth ]</small>

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Sun Feb 13, 2005 7:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The PRIMA Ballerina!

Okay, ALL you PRIMA ballerinas out there! For fun, I tried to pull up www.primaballerina.com Guess what? Nobody has the website! It is for sale to the highest bidder! If you’re a true PRIMA ballerina, then price will be no object. GO FOR IT!

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Mon Feb 14, 2005 10:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The PRIMA Ballerina!

I’m home with the flu today, so I had some time on my hands and thus decided to explore the NBoC’s website. I’m happy to report it contains a lot of educational material and that no where could I find mention of the position ‘prima ballerina.’ Greta Hodgkinson, despite her PRIMA claim, is listed as a principal on the National’s website as well as their preview DVD.

Below is an excerpt from Max Wyman’s book, ‘Revealing Dance,’ dealing with the issue of ‘prima ballerinas.’

Quote:
Might Glasco and Kudelka be seen in retrospect to have been already on collision course, their visions of the structure of a ballet company and the function of its dancers diametrically at odds? Glasco considered herself the company’s star, its Prima Ballerina.

That was how she described herself in a press release when she went public with her lawsuit in 1998: “My name is Kimberly Glasco, Prima Ballerina of the National Ballet of Canada.” Kudelka was far more interested in pursuing the notion of the company as an ensemble: no stars, all stars. Glasco’s use of the term ‘Prima Ballerina’ is interesting.

The National Ballet claims it has never had a position of that name, and says it treats all its principal dancers equally (in the 2000-2001 season it had eight, plus, at the same level, three Guest Artists in Residence). Glasco, however, saw herself in a direct line of Primas -from Veronica Tennant to Karen Kain to herself.
I have enjoyed Miss Hodgkinson’s performances and have no doubt she could dance for any ballet company in the world. From what I’ve seen and read of her, she has not met my definition of a ‘prima ballerina.’ Once again, I invite Miss Prima Hodgkinson, the National Ballet of Canada, and any ‘PRIMA ballerina’ on the planet to respond to this thought provoking topic.

Author:  Matthew [ Mon Feb 14, 2005 10:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The PRIMA Ballerina!

Diana Vishneva is a Prima Ballerina ( she also has a website which says so ). I would say that a prima ballerina can be defined as one of the top dancers in the world as defined by a consensus of audiences, aritistic directors, other dancers,and media. I doubt you can just hang your own shingle out and say that you are one. ( or even have your own website! ).

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Mon Feb 14, 2005 12:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The PRIMA Ballerina!

Quote:
I doubt you can just hang your own shingle out and say that you are one.
Matthew

Perhaps Prima Hodgkinson earned her ‘Prima Ballerina’ degree studying at home through the Sally Struthers Correspondence College? For those of you unfamiliar with the above actress, Miss Struthers gained notoriety as Meathead’s wife on the 70s sitcom ‘All in the Family.’ She gives B-list celebs a bad name and certainly makes a strong case for a new category of celebrity: C-list! :D

I’m curious if there is an actual certificate awarded once you’ve reached the lofty status of ‘prima ballerina?’ I imagine there would be a gathering of dignitaries with a ceremony of sorts? For those in the know, please do elaborate! There must be something awarded to actually laminate and perhaps hang on your wall. Otherwise, how would you know you’re a ‘prima ballerina?’

<small>[ 14 February 2005, 01:46 PM: Message edited by: Michael Goldbarth ]</small>

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Mon Feb 14, 2005 1:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The PRIMA Ballerina!

Something tells me I shouldn’t expect any Xmas cards from Prima Greta-Especially after mentioning her good name with Sally Struthers! You know something’s not quite right when you G :) :) GLE your name with Sally Struthers and a search comes up! :D

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Mon Feb 14, 2005 1:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The PRIMA Ballerina!

I think I can also forget about getting any Valentine Cards too! I guess all the PRIMA ballerinas are so above us mere mortal profit-free critics; they won’t even defend their grand exalted status as PRIMA ballerinas!

Author:  Matthew [ Mon Feb 14, 2005 5:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The PRIMA Ballerina!

Perhaps there should be a catagory for PRIMA Critics ;) . Do we know any critics with their own website?

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