The Born-Again Balletomane's Blog

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To Atlantic October 24, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — theworstat @ 4:18 am

My settings automatically close the comments on each post after a time, and I don’t feel like searching for the little niche where this can be changed, so here’s my reply to your comment on “Everything There was Dark and Dirty,” (regarding Joy Womack’s videoing of her company class):

One thing I realized while watching entire company classes during World Ballet Day is that class (real class, not WBD class) IS FOR PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT as much as staying in shape.  Somehow this never occurred to me, as I was never a professional.

I have no doubt that a class on a typical weekday is nothing like the dynamic, enhanced atmosphere I saw on the WBD broadcasts (particularly true of the Royal Ballet, who seemed very aware that they were actually doing a performance that day and not a class).  Everyday class has to be a grind.  You’re literally going to school all over again every morning.

No one wants their current weaknesses or the teacher’s corrections broadcasted all over the place. It’s almost like an invasion of privacy. She should have stopped videoing classes the first time she was asked.

Better yet, she never should have done it in the first place.  What if one of her class videos affects someone else’s career?

She also mysteriously hinted in her latest video that there are “changes coming in (her) life,” but who knows what that means. The last time she hinted at a big announcement, she kept putting it off for about 2 weeks until she finally said that her father was coming to visit her. Nice. But not a big announcement.  Some of the comments below the video even wondered if that was the announcement.  It was that anticlimactic.

Therefore I’m sure whatever changes are upcoming are also going to be nothing major. Maybe she’s switching pointe shoe brands again (she inserted a tangential complaint about her Gaynors doing something to her toenails; knowing her, this may mean that she’s now unhappy with them and will turn up wearing something else soon), or maybe she’s eating corn flakes for breakfast. Who knows.

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More later… October 18, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — theworstat @ 9:29 pm

Discovered this blog today:
Adult Ballet Students

 

A Little Joffrey Moment

Filed under: Uncategorized — theworstat @ 2:25 am
Tags: , ,

I will not be able to get downtown to see this; oh, how I wish I could.  Victoria Jaiani, de facto prima ballerina* of the Joffrey, and her partner Paulo Rodrigues rehearsing the Joffrey’s new Romeo and Juliet.

Romeo and Juliet

 

*the present-day Joffrey (don’t know about the past) has no set principal dancers; supposedly, everyone auditions for everything.  It’s just that Victoria seems to get the vast majority of leading roles in major premiers.

 

 

A Glimpse into the Daily Grind October 14, 2016

An amazing segment with the Suzanne Farrell Ballet:
Balanchine’s Gounod Symphony

I admit I know little about this company, and will be looking into it in the days to come.  Looks like an amazing bunch of dancers.

 

Everything there was dark and dirty October 8, 2016

I finally watched Bolshoi Babylon tonight.  My take-away: don’t be a twit.

First I have to say that as an American living in the U.S., it’s impossible for me to grasp the deep importance of ballet to Russians.  In the U.S., ballet is a niche art that is becoming a niche sport as the numerous competitions spread, grow, and flourish (whether they lead to exciting ballet careers is a question for another article, but I do visualize there eventually being a ballet Olympics or something, and ballet dancers appearing on Wheaties boxes with their gold medals; art need not apply).

What the film did provide for me was a closer look at Filin, who appears to be a right little twit — not that that in any way excuses the physical attack on him.  It also clarified that Dimitrichenko’s apparent recent remarks indicating that Vorontsova was never his girlfriend/wife were a bald-faced lie.  And that Tsiskaridze is another twit.

Everyone, in fact, seems to be a twit.  There seems to be no peace in Bolshoi-land, only factions of twits hissing at other factions of twits.  Maybe this has calmed down a bit since Filin was deposed, however.

As for Joy Womack, anyone following her (who hasn’t seen the film) is probably under the impression that she appears in it at some point.  She has mentioned that she was interviewed for the film, in fact.

She doesn’t appear at all, and seems to be mentioned only obliquely (at one point near the end Filin says that no one has offered proof that he was demanding bribe money).  Somebody else — don’t remember who — said that there were a lot of dancers without talent demanding bigger roles, but that could have been a reference to a lot of people.  My only question is, why are there so many untalented dancers in the mighty Bolshoi?

Of course, certain elements of artistic talent rely entirely on the viewer’s perception.  The other day I was reading Ballet Alert’s discussion of Womack.  As is predictable, it went back and forth between those who think she hung the moon and those (one claiming to be Russian) who said that they, and the Russian audience, did not think much of her at all.  There was one video posted of her black swan performance with some tiny company somewhere, with a miserable orchestra and a partner who appeared not to have graduated from any recognized ballet school…or any ballet school at all.  In the same discussion of the same video, comments ranged from marveling at her musicality (which I admittedly didn’t see), to those who didn’t see the same thing I didn’t see.  Some mentioned stiff port de bras (which I did see), and others mentioned tremendous command.  To say she’s controversial is to make one vast understatement.

But it’s interesting to note that since she’s been promoted to principal, the discussion has gone almost completely silent.  She may now be a big minnow in a small pond, but that pond is in the same neighborhood as the Bolshoi and lives in the same soil.  Pretty hard to keep sniping.  Then again, as someone pointed out, she never mentions her reviews.

Anyway, on World Ballet Day she issued a video that sounded like a 21 year old making a sophomoric mission statement.  Note that no one asked, but she views herself as a leader, and she moans about her fellow dancers’ lack of extra-curricular conditioning regimes, and…and…and…

In a way it leads me back to Filin being a twit.  Somehow being raised in that insulated little world of ballet doesn’t always make for great leadership qualities.  Womack has a lot of maturing to do in a lot of ways, and she’d do well to watch that film again and really, really observe Filin.

P.S. to view Bolshoi Babylon online, you’ll probably have to pay a few dollars.  I got to see it for free because I have Amazon Prime, so that’s another option.  As for Womack’s WBD proclamation on Youtube, here it is: Womack Manifesto

I thank the commentors for their insights and urge you to read their remarks.