The Born-Again Balletomane's Blog

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Dress codes July 28, 2017

Filed under: ballerina,ballet,ballet class,Uncategorized — theworstat @ 4:47 pm

I’ll get the inevitable out of the way first: as if everyone didn’t know by now, Joy Womack is apparently leaving the Kremlin Ballet, or has left already, or has…I don’t know.  To make a long story short, she’s now hanging out in southeast Asia and it sounds like she’s AWOL from the Kremlin Ballet.

If she has left or is leaving the Kremlin, I’m relieved for her because she’ll likely be out of Russia for good.  What’s going on at the top of the political spectrum right now is bound to affect U.S. expats in Russia; it’s naive to an extreme to believe otherwise.

In truth I sort of saw this coming during Womack’s extended stay in New York last winter, during which she realized she doesn’t need to be in Russia to be happy as a dancer.  But we’ll see if she actually formally cuts ties before I comment further.  This could all be talk and nothing more, but I honestly hope it’s more.

ANYWAY, now to the point of this article: the way some dancers are dressing these days.  I was roaming around Twitter this morning when I saw a tweet from Dance Magazine touting an article about choosing a college ballet program.  In the tweet was a photo of an ultra-serious teen dancer wearing sheer tights over what looked like very low bikini underpants.  I saw where someone had replied, “…starting with pants.”  I’m sure that got them blocked by Dance Magazine, but that’s not the point.

There has been some mention of this on other dance blogs, but I never really wanted to approach the subject here for fear of looking prudish.  Anyway, those blogs were talking about a far more serious matter — the sexualization of little kids (as in “Dance Moms”) — and I thought if an adult dancer wants to walk around nearly naked, that’s their business.

But then I saw this photo.  I have to be honest with you, it looked pretty gross.

No I’m not saying that older, advanced students should dress like the little kids do, in proper black leotards and pink tights or whatever the standard is.  But there has to be some realization that, you know, we’re out in pubic and some cover of private parts is necessary.

Covering a bit more also keeps your muscles warmer.  That’s just a fact.

Basically it just looks better.  Honest, I’ve been seeing a ton of photos of dancers without tights lately and although the photos do make the point that dancers are athletes — and that point may be apt in contemporary dance, which often offers nothing but athleticism — it just looks strange with a Romantic tutu or even a classical one.  After all, ballet is about defying the earth — and as an extension, one’s body.

Overexposure has become a problem throughout our society, but in dance it’s just gone a little further (and in the case of costumes for little kids, TOO far).  I’m ready for the pendulum to swing back the other way, but it doesn’t look like it will any time soon.




4 Responses to “Dress codes”

  1. On the one hand, I’m glad Joy is finally leaving the Kremlin. On the other, if she’s going to complain about dancing two full length ballet in the space of a couple of days, she’s not suited for big company life.

  2. She sounds lost in her personal life. It’s beyond dance at this point, and that is really unfortunate. I wonder if she really and truly wanted to be a professional dancer. Most enjoy the applause and the final moments on stage, but sacrifice and struggle that goes into those scarce moments is not for everyone.

    This is why, if she she really wanted this life for real, she should have slugged it out day-in-day out with the corps. She really needed to have put in that time to figure out who she was as person. Those were formative years she needed to wobble, fall down, and get back up again through. As this latest video indicates, Joy will not let go of these videos. I really don’t know what is next for her because I doubt any company will see the worth in giving her a shot after her choice words about her current/former (whatever the case may be) company.

  3. atlanticw Says:

    I just watched the three latest videos and I agree that she seems lost. That sentiment is not unusual for a person her age and I have gone through a phase or two like that in my life (didn’t get to go diving in Thailand, though).

    It seems she is claiming that she had to go to Australia to guest start but her company did not want her to go. It seems like she had obligations to dance and just left anyway. She then say she *had* to compete but then was forced to dance two full lengths in the span of about 3 days. Since it’s established she is not always a reliable narrator it is impossible to know the truth. What I can glean is that her company probably is annoyed that she demands prima status yet won’t fulfill her obligations so she can engage in her endless self-promotion. While I have never danced professionally, I have worked professionally, and I know that this type of behavior would not be tolerated in any workplace. I used to be a litigator and sometimes we had to go to trial multiple times in a week. It sucked. It was hard and draining but we signed up for that work. I would have never entertained the idea of telling my supervising attorney that I needed to delay a trial for some other moonlighting project. Even family emergencies had to be really serious to postpone stuff.

    It seems that her company is not exactly trying to fire her but telling her to calm it down and do her job. It seems like her beloved coach tried to talk to her about focusing and dedication. She say she is not a circus animal but being asked to perform your duties as a principal dancer is not being treated poorly-it’s what she wanted. She never had the time to mess around in the corps as a young adult before taking on big kid responsibilities as a principal. I’d be willing to bet you’d be hard pressed to find a true principal that complains about dancing (Sergei Poulinin comes to mind, and he was also a principal very young and quit and really good gig at the Royal Ballet) because he or she had to go through some much work to get to the top. She can’t handle the responsibilities so she is attempting to project blame on anyone but herself. I’m sure if she told her bosses she can’t handle it and needs more time to grow they would work with her. He coach seems fond of her and I don’t believe they are out ‘to get her’. They wouldn’t have let this go on so long if they truly disliked her.

    It now seems she is attempting to get in at the Hong Kong Ballet. Perhaps they would be more receptive/not care about her social media enterprise. Either way, I agree that Russia is not the place to be right now for an American.

    As for dress codes, I was required to wear proper dance clothes to all my classes as a child. Not always black, but a proper leotard and tights. For tap we could be a little less formal. As an adult I still wore leotards but sometimes cheated and wore cropped leggings instead of tights. However, adults are usually except from those requirements as I wasn’t training seriously.

    • It did seem though that Joy was dancing less this year. I know the company recently brought in a female principal from one of the regions and who has been dancing a lot. I’m fairly certain that is something on Joy’s mind

      And the dancing back to back shows thing is quite common in large companies where they have performances every week The Bolshoi was in town the last two weeks and the first cast danced both the Saturday evening and Sunday matinee performances and in previous years have switched back and forth between the classics within days of each other.

      As far as guesting goes , companies may vary in terms of flexibility but the policy usually is, the company’s performances come first. Cast lists come well in advance of the performance and I wouldn’t be surprised if the booking for the gala came after she was cast in a performance

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