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 Post subject: Re: titles
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2001 3:07 pm 
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But Basheva surely both of these examples are an informal use of the term. They have not been given the status of Assoluta. As Kersley and Sinclair say, '..regrettably the occasional journalist will make free with the phrase 'so and so, the Assoluta without having the slightest grasp of the weight attached to such a title.'<P>It's a shame that the National Ballet of Cuba does not have a website. On education and health policy matters I would always listen carefully to the words of Fidel - not so sure about ballet terminology.


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 Post subject: Re: titles
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2001 4:51 pm 
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Which brings us to the question I posed above - or tried to LOL - in these days when most dancers do not dance under the auspices of a monarchy - how are such titles declared?<P>You are right that perhaps Fidel cannot or should not simply proclaim this for Alonso - but I don't remember anyone arguing the point with him either. Certainly I wouldn't.<P>I would argue his other policies but not on the subject of Alonso.


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 Post subject: Re: titles
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2001 9:36 am 
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Hi, <P>Don't know if someone mentioned this already, but a few years back the top female dancer at the Royal Swedish Ballet was designated "Prima Ballerina Assoluta." Conveniently, I can't remember her name, but I got this information from an excellent documentary movie called "The Dancer," which follows the development of Katja Bjorner with the Royal Swedish Ballet. So there's one recent usage, if anyone can substantiate it.


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 Post subject: Re: titles
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2001 10:34 am 
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And so, we still have the question:<P>Who decides - on what basis - and what makes it so?


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 Post subject: Re: titles
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2001 12:58 pm 
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In Italy male dancers are actually called 'Ballerino'(or'Ballerini'in plural). The principal male dancer would be called 'Primo Ballerino'. It may sound odd to we English speakers, but there you go!<P>Ballet is typically called 'Danza Classica', as 'Balletto' can refer to any type of dance choreography. Therefore a ballet school would be called 'Scuola di Danza Classica'. Unless it is the Scala school, which is known as the Scuola di Ballo del Teatro Alla Scala, just to complicate matters.


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 Post subject: Re: titles
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2001 1:17 pm 
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I did some reasearch of my own by going through some references and talking to ballet professionals. The problem we're having here is due to the fact that these terms are no longer used in any official capacity (for the most part), rendering them almost useless in academic meaning as they have been appropriated by popular media and usage.<P>Interestingly however, when one notes that in some dictionaries the word danseuse appears right below danseur, it becomes apparent that danseur equates to danseuse and that ballerina is a term entirely different in meaning from the two, reserved only for the stars who were mostly women at that time. Therefore, according to my theory, you had a cast of ballerinas supported by danseurs and danseuses, both noble (classical) and caractere (character). Red Shoes' articulation of ballerino would support my point in that Italy was where many of the first powerful male dancers came from. They had male stars and therefore had to call them something besides danseur.<p>[This message has been edited by Azlan (edited March 30, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: titles
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2001 2:21 pm 
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I, for one, think it is a pity that the use of the words "assoluta" and "danseur noble" are aparently being negated in general usage.<P>It is such a lovely title - and one so dearly earned, over a lifetime. There is a certain charm that will be lost. <P>I think the point is a good one, Red Shoes, that to English speakers the word "ballerino" does not sound - how shall I say? - kosher. Well, LOL - no, that's not exactly what I mean. It tends to take on a silly meaning/sound. Do you think so?<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: titles
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2001 3:12 pm 
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I can reassure you on one point Basheva. The term danseur noble is alive and well. Several dance professionals I have spoken to confirm the dictionary definitons, both yours and mine, that danseur noble is still commonly used to refer to a particular series of roles and those Principles who through their style and stature are usually associated with these roles. The Oxford Dictionary says it is more widely used than the term danseur.<P>In terms of hierarchies, I have to say I do like the system used by Ballett Frankfurt, where they are all called dancers and are judged on merit, as happens in modern dance companies. However, an outstanding and experienced dancer like Dana Casperson will still tend to get the major roles. <P>Some experienced Paris Opera Ballet watchers have said that the etoile system in Paris Opera Ballet has lead to them having better dancers at lower levels that have been blocked to some extent by their more senior, but less talented colleagues.<BR> <p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited March 30, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: titles
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2001 4:21 pm 
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My perspective of that, Stuart, is that when it comes to the title "assoluta" or "danseur noble" ...it is, and I think you might agree, much much more than a standing within a company. <P>It is an acclamation way beyond the company hierarcy. It is usually universally acknowledged - beyond dispute. Though the title was officially (as I remember it) conferred upon Margot Fonteyn by the Crown, no one that I ever heard of, disputed it.<P>So I see it as much more than an etoile system. I would not like to see the grace of this particular tradition removed from the world of the classical dance.<P>And it is particularly poignant that such a title is earned - bestowed - just as the body is beginning to no longer convey the soul of the dancer, and yet it still shines through. The end is near...and the title is given.


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 Post subject: Re: titles
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2001 7:08 pm 
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This is a painting that I did of the gorgeous Prima Ballerina Assoluta Mathilde Kschessinskaya:<P><BR> Image <P><BR>(oil on canvas)


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 Post subject: Re: titles
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2001 9:20 pm 
I think 'danseur noble' is often referred to these days to define a genre of classical roles such as Siegfried in Swan Lake. <p>[This message has been edited by Kevin Ng (edited March 31, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: titles
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2001 11:46 pm 
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Love the painting, Basheva, but forgive me, where are her arms? :-)<P>Going back to ballerino and ballerini: in the Italian language ballerino means dancer, so it can also refer to any other type of dancer as well as a classical dancer.<P>Sadly, given Italy's glorious balletic past, ballet doesn't enjoy a wide following here, and the only real companies of note are at la Scala in Milan, the Teatro dell'Opera at Rome, and at Naples Opera House. Liliana Cosi still runs her company, but you don't hear about it much. Well, I don't.<P>Vittoria Ottolenghi, the critic, does a TV run showing various ballets and companies, which gets shown in the high summer at a silly time on a saturday morning. Carla Fracci still won't hang up the old pointe shoes, and I rather think it is about time she did, however charming and ethereal she is. We hear a lot about her, but practically nothing about the new talents coming up. Alessandra Ferri dances abroad for the most part, and your average Italian wouldn't even know who you were talking about if you mentioned her name.<P>Plenty of ballet schools, of varying quality (so what's new!), especially in the north and centre. But most girls seem to hanker after being TV dancers these days. Some of whome are very good, and are quite obviously highly trained in classical ballet. Others are great big galumphing oxen, who have got the dance job for being well-endowed in the chest dept. and having a good pair of legs and all the rest. The Italian male still needs the visual fix when watching TV: even the football shows are liberally sprinkled with drop-dead gorgeous females in low-cut tops. Yawn, yawn...<P>Sorry folks, went right off the subject there, didn't I?


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 Post subject: Re: titles
PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2001 2:14 am 
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That's OK Red Shoes. We all do it from time to time. Or more regularly than that in my case.<P>And it was all very interesting stuff. We do have some fine Italian dancers here in London. Viviana Durante is only an occasional visitor now, more's the pity. However, we do still have the delightful Mara Galeazzi in the RB and Roberto Bolle is a Guest Artist there as well. <P>Just for research purposes could you let me have the frequencies of those Italian TV stations you mentioned, please.


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 Post subject: Re: titles
PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2001 7:20 am 
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Red Shoes - the painting was done after a photograph of her - and that is how the photograph appeared.......<P>I remember Paolo Bortolozzi (sp?) - he was quite a fine dancer. It does amaze me that Italy, the birthplace of the ballet, has rejected her child. For so many years Italian dancers dominated the dance - Legnani, Cerrito, Taglioni - you know them all, I am sure. As well as Cecchetti, Petipa, etc.<P>


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 Post subject: Re: titles
PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2001 9:54 am 
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Thank you one and all for a most stimulating conversation re' male dancers. I look forward to accessing this site more often in hopes to broaden my knowledge of dance.<P>Thanks again!<P>Donna


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