The Born-Again Balletomane's Blog

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A Dancewear Dilemma March 28, 2012

Filed under: ballet — theworstat @ 4:48 pm
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I guess it had to happen: someone landed on this blog looking for pictures of a certain ballerina dancing nude.  Or just plain nude.  I couldn’t tell from the inquiry just what it was that they were after, except that it seemed very silly.

After I stopped chuckling I did start to think about dance attire.

This is going to get me into trouble, but heck — after the past three months I’ve grown accustomed to that.  But anyway, I think dancers would look awful nude.  I am reminded of something Arlene Croce said years ago — that ballet was meant to be viewed from a polite distance because (indirect quote): “ballet dancers look awful up close.”

I’m guessing she meant that when you can see the bruises and the sweat, it looks pretty bad.  I’m pushing it a bit further: I think dance would look awful even at a polite distance if the dancers were totally unclothed.

Yes, a lot of our current taboos on nudity are based on religious objections, and those who object to religion also tend to object to restraints on what is worn (or not worn).  At the same time, nudity is pretty standard in conventional art (drawing, painting, photography, sculpture).  Nudity is considered an art form in itself, and an act of rebellion, but it’s also something everyone has naturally.

I have read research and opinions on how nudity –or at least, the amount of skin that is shown — influences social status in any given situation, however, so it may be a different matter when the nude is live and in front of you.  As for myself, I think I would be distracted by total nudity…but at the same time, flimsy ballet costumes (and especially in modern pieces, the costumes tend to be almost nonexistent), do not bother me.

The person looking for nude photos of the ballerina obviously had things other than art in mind.  But I’d be interested to hear opinions from serious dance fans, such as the ones who read this blog, about what they think of nudity in dance.

I know it was considered quite silly when one Las Vegas show had nude figure skating (don’t know if they still do).  On top of the weirdness of seeing a nude body in clunky skates, it’s just plain COLD in most ice rinks (unless they are synthetic rinks, which is probably the case in Las Vegas) and that could have added to the hilarity.  In ballet, it’s a little harder for me to define just why it seems like it could be so distracting.

Your thoughts?

And LOL…no nude photos or videos, please.  I’ll have to delete the visuals and probably your comment at the same time.  Let’s just work this out in words.  Thanks.

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4 Responses to “A Dancewear Dilemma”

  1. I’m not a dancer myself. But I just watched a documentary about the Paris Opera Ballet. They had a lot of up close and backstage shots and I found myself thinking “ugh they’re awfully sweaty.” And that’s funny if I really think about it. Of course they’re sweaty, why wouldn’t they be sweaty with how hard they are working? But somehow I never associated it with ballet, having never seen it up that close.

    As far as nude dancing goes. There is nude and there is nude. I have a great appreciation for the lovely lines of a dancer’s body, but the first time the leg went above the head, well, that would be something I wouldn’t particularly want to see, ya know?

  2. AlineS Says:

    Gosh, can you imagine Alina Somova nude? Horrific. Like a woman stuck in a skinny child’s body.But I don’t think it goes for all dancers… at least, non-russian ballerinas have toned bodies… and some even have breasts (like Polina Semionova)!!! Male dancers… all those muscles… better stop here. And I completely agree with Lo the Phoenix: these gorgeous extensions… wouldn’t want to see. Too explicit.

  3. Keithy Schultz Says:

    A dancewear
    Dilemma: Oh my God I can not really imagine Alina Somova nude! Horrific. Like a woman stuck in a skinny child’s body.But I don’t think it goes for all dancers… at least, non-russian ballerinas have toned bodies… and some even have breasts (like Polina Semionova)!!! Male dancers… all those muscles… better stop here. And I completely agree with Lo the Phoenix!


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