Just got finished watching the first part of a 4-part documentary about the English National Ballet. It is entitled “Agony and Ecstasy.”
That’s an article on the subject. Here’s a link to the documentary itself on YouTube: Agony and Ecstasy.
I have to say that I was absolutely stunned at the way Derek Deane treated ballerina Daria Klimentová. My admiration for her steely core — and surely she must have one — is boundless after seeing this documentary. Most people would have collapsed at such treatment (OMG she’s not Polina Semionova! She doesn’t look like Cindy Crawford or have 6-foot-long legs!).
By the way, I wish Deane had explained who the hell the other two “top ballerinas in the world” are. I see way too many to narrow it down to just three. We are living in a golden age of ballerinas; we are awash in ballerinas. Why narrow it down to three? To further belittle the ballerina he was ‘stuck’ working with?
Anyway, if the lesser person had not collapsed, they would have told Deane to f-off and stalked out of the studio. But Klimentová gritted her teeth and kept going…and apparently gave the performance of her life on an opening night that she didn’t even want to be part of.
Never having been in a “serious” ballet school — most of my teachers were kind and neglectful — nor in a company, I can’t add much myself. But I can say that the article is illuminating, and the comments below it more so.
Of course in the comments there’s the requisite Russian sniping that Polina Semionova didn’t meet the standards in Russia and never could have gotten a job there (um, kiddo, even I know differently), and Vadim Muntagirov is the same and of COURSE the school in Perm doesn’t meet the Russians’ lofty standards either and the famous schools in Moscow and St. Petersburg do not use such brutal methods and only the Bolshoi and the Maryinsky have real dancers and blah, blah, blah.
Let’s skip that nonsense, and I’ll open up the comments so we can talk about bullying — both in schools and in companies — in the ballet world, not just in Russia.
P.S. One caveat: do not mention by name a certain American dancer currently in a Russian company. That will automatically put your comment in the trash bin and your IP on the blacklist. I’m sorry it has to be that way but some people claiming to be relatives of this dancer forced the issue. I have a feeling that many legitimate comments have inadvertently caused their writers to be blacklisted and I apologize for that. It’s a case of one or two very whiny little girls getting the whole class in trouble, which is something I never wanted; unfortunately, WordPress’s filter is a sort of “all or none at all” application. Again, please accept my apology if this has happened to you.