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 Post subject: POB enforced retirements
PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 2000 12:04 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
The glories of another POB season are due to start in October. Following the enforced retirement of Platel at 40, three more of the female Etoiles will have to retire next year. This includes Guerin, who many feel is one of the best dancers in the world and stil at her peak. Platel still appears as a guest to universal plaudits.<P>Given modern training and injury management I do wonder whether enforced retirement at 40 is an obsolete system that does not work to the benefit of the Company or the dance world. I believe that for men the age is 45, which raises questions os sexism as well.<P>What do others think?<P><BR><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited May 01, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: POB enforced retirements
PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 2000 4:23 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Are there any specific reasons given for the men's age ceiling being higher?<P>


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 Post subject: Re: POB enforced retirements
PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2000 1:29 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Having seen both Prima Ballerina Assolutas Alicia Alonso, and Margot Fonteyn in their 50's - and wait - I can't leave out Prima Ballerina Assoluta Maya Plisetskaya - my feelings are very definite that enforced retirement at any age is a notion that has no place in the world of art. <P>Yes, there are some examples on the other side of the coin, Rudolph Nureyev comes to mind (as much as I adored him), but then the audience decides, doesn't it? In the case where the dancers are really civil servants the issue is more complicated, but surely not unsolvable. <P>The last time I saw Margot Fonteyn, she danced the pas de deux from Sleeping Beauty. She was hardly able to execute the petite batterie, but the audience didn't care. In the supported sections, she was as divine as ever. I particularly remember one arabesque that literally lit up the theater - there was an audible gasp of love from the audience - and they rose as one to acclaim her. In the years since I have met some others who were present that night - and they, too, remember that moment. Mandatory retirement of Margot Fonteyn would have robbed us of many years of her glory. Basheva


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 Post subject: Re: POB enforced retirements
PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2000 4:46 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2000 12:01 am
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Location: Australia
i agree, basheva, even though the last time i saw fonteyn - as the sylph in a tour with scottish ballet - was NOT a memorable experience, sadly - at least i had seen her when younger (she AND i!).<P>leslie edwards, who began as a dancer with the RB practically when the company began, i think, was still listed as a member of the royal ballet when into his 60's, maybe 70's...he performed suitable character roles fabulously and was a lesson in stagecraft to everyone.<P>even speaking purely about dancing roles - the best CAN be towards the end of a performing career, especially in dancer's late 30's, through their 40's.

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 Post subject: Re: POB enforced retirements
PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2000 4:48 pm 
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Location: Australia
then of course, there's the artists of NDT3, who we seem to have forgotten to mention! prrof that real artistry <B>develops</B>.

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 Post subject: Re: POB enforced retirements
PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2000 9:26 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
I think that there are two points here grace. Like you I am pleased with the rise of groups such as NDT3 where we can enjoy the artistry and experience of fine dance performers.<P>Baryshnikov is another example. However he started White Oak because he wanted to dance but could no longer perform the ballet roles.<P>The question with the POB is that the dancers are retired whether or not they can still perform the roles to the highest standard. There is a concern that the retirements of the past years and the coming one have removed some of the best dancers when they are still at (or close to) their peak technically.<P>I get the impression that the POB are reluctant to change procedures from the past. But this is one that needs urgent review in my opinion.


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 Post subject: Re: POB enforced retirements
PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2000 9:30 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2000 12:01 am
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Location: Australia
makes sense to me! Image

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 Post subject: Re: POB enforced retirements
PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2000 6:33 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 28
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Though I am by no means an authority on folk dance, it seems that folk dance honors the older dancer. I am thinking of flamenco, especially. I realize that the technical demands are much different, but somehow, it just upsets me that we are so eager (or our culture is) to throw away seasoned talent. I believe the Prima Ballerina Galina Ulanova also danced past her 40's. As I know you would all probably agree, dance is not just about jumps and extensions, but much, much more and it takes years to acquire that. Think of the depth that an over 40 dancer brings to the role of "Juliet". And, the younger dancers get the benefit of seeing that depth. ok - I think I am preaching to the choir LOL - Basheva


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 Post subject: Re: POB enforced retirements
PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2000 8:18 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
You make a strong point with Flamenco, ORZAK. I saw Antonio Gades playing the male lead in his Flamenco 'Carmen' when he was in his late 50s. The next year his company returned, but he had hung up his dancing shoes by then. <P>The new male lead was quicker and smoother on the turns and the footwork, but the performance lacked the resonance and character that the experienced Gades brought to the role. <P>In another style, I was at the RB a couple of years ago watching 'Winter Dreams'. I was very impressed by the musicality and the expressiveness of the husband. I asked my companion who told me that it was Anthony Dowell in a rare performance. He should have kept dancing for much longer even if it meant some re-invention of his dancing personna.<P>Just to reiterate, with POB at least some of these dancers who are pensioned off at 40 are still at their peak technically. It will be interesting to see what happens with Sylvie Guillem in 5 years time. As a guest I don't think that the 40 year rule applies (some ballerinas already contuinue to give some performances as guests after their retirement). There may be some grumbling from the others if she continues to get the same number of roles as now. Perhaps this will result in a review of this bizarre age limit. It would be interesting to get Michael Montgomery's views on this when he returns to us.


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 Post subject: Re: POB enforced retirements
PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2000 10:43 am 
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Posts: 2708
Location: Seattle, WA USA
Can't POB keep the older dancers and have them do character and/or acting roles? Someone has to do those roles, right? Of course they might have a contract which would state that they might only dance certain roles? Also, with better nutritional and health standards today, surely people are living longer and living healthier longer....surely some arbitrary antiquated age "numbers" must be changed (ie retirement)....I can't believe that the day dancers wake up on their fortieth birthday they've suddenly lost all their technique and artistry. Huh!!!!!???


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