The Born-Again Balletomane's Blog

Just another site about the love of ballet

And so, Joy… August 2, 2016

Filed under: ballerina,ballet,Varna — theworstat @ 5:33 am

First of all, congratulations on your silver medal at Varna.  This is no small achievement and should alleviate much of your nagging self-doubt.  Certainly it should silence some of your nay-sayers, although many people don’t swallow their own bile easily.

You are very young, a prima ballerina in Moscow, and you’ve won this prestigious medal. And you did it all on your own.  That is something no one can take away from you.

I’ve heard lots of criticisms about all the product peddling, etc.  But we are in a new era. Witness ABT’s Misty Copeland, for one, and there’s someone among the numerous NYCB principals who is also selling something, I forget what.  Some Russian principals were selling dance clothing for a while, I believe, and the great Darcy Bussell was as much a pop star as a ballerina in her day.  It’s happening all over.

The age of the sheltered, yet impoverished ballerina, dependent on a wealthy sugar daddy, is going fast if not already long gone.  Remember Anna Pavolova…she was the one who started the ball rolling.  She began her career at the Maryinsky under at least as much of a cloud as you at the Bolshoi.  Granted she made it to principal quickly, but she was never much ahead of intense criticism (looking at films of her, it’s apparent that her technique was wonky).

When she split away from the Maryinsky, however, was when the product selling began. She didn’t sell stuff, but she sold herself.  The end product is that to this day, her name and “ballerina” are synonymous. Many non-ballet fans have heard of no other ballerina.

And so, you are on your way.  Your life is a dream for so many dancers.  Strive to appreciate this even on your worst days.

Play nicely.  I know there have been nasty incidents of backstage violence, but it is up to you to rise above it.  No scenes!

Play nicely, part 2: refrain from criticizing the work ethic of your colleagues, or placing blame when something goes wrong.  Be the gracious one.

Stop making promises you can’t keep.  We understand when you can’t publish a video every day (and no, I am not one of those who is all upset because you chronicle your career by vlogging).  Just don’t keep saying you will.

Remember that you will never be able to resolve the wildly conflicting stories the Russians tell about your days at the Bolshoi’s academy, let alone your days in the Bolshoi.  It’s no matter; they probably can’t either. That’s the way Russians are…even pretend Russians (a certain would-be choreographer comes to mind).

There seem to be at least a thousand stories about how you got into the Bolshoi.  But the business of your leaving the Bolshoi as you did is not a controversy. The only thing I question is whether you should have gone public with the charges if you weren’t going to pursue them in legal avenues.  It seemed a good time to trot out the “irreconcilable differences” excuse and just let it be, and let the stories swirl like the snowflakes in Russia.  Sometimes discretion is better part of valor, as the old saying goes.  And you have much in the way of valor.

Accept that you are young.  Always you have seemed to try to appear to be more than you were; that continued until recently.  Remember that tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow will come.  Improvements will grow over time.  There is no need to exaggerate, especially not now.

Develop a close relationship with your truth and stand by it.  Because the truth, in your case, is pretty damned good.












So much for Wordpress… July 26, 2016

Filed under: ballerina,ballet,Varna — theworstat @ 7:09 pm

I suppose I could hang around and try to figure out “the new” WordPress, but since I’ve been away they’ve changed things quite a bit and it’s become almost impossible to use.  I am coming back, finally — but I will take a few days to decide whether or not it will be on WordPress.  This new format…well, everything’s a secret.  You have to hunt a million years just to find a way to make a post.

Meantime, I note that Joy Womack has made the third round at Varna.

Ah, Varna…I’m never sure why they hold that competition.  Awards are often not given at all, which is either good or bad depending on what you think a competition is for.  I’m of two minds on this: (1) no awards — okay, you’re telling everyone that the quality of dance sucks; (2) why are you wasting your time and your competitors’ time if you won’t give out any awards.  If your noses are so high up in the air, why not give a booby prize to the worst dancer?

Plus, the competition has only given out ONE Grand Prix in its entire existence.  This was to a male dancer, which makes me think that no female will ever win the GP.  Standards are much higher for women in ballet, after all.

I don’t expect that Womack will come close to winning any kind of Grand Prix, but I’ll be watching to see if she medals.  Although she’s a prima ballerina, she is very, very young and has a lot to learn.  I feel she may have been better off leaving Varna for a future date.

Her dancing nowadays is lovely (albeit with continuing turnout struggles), and her technique apparently strong; both are huge improvements from the last time I posted about about her.

For instance, her entry in the warhorse Le Corsair pas de deux is breathtaking.  Most ballerinas — even the international superstar variety — look like bouncy little ponies when trying to quickly bouree over the immense space between the stage-entry point and the partner; Womack, on the other hand, positively floated in the one video she posted.

However she pauses between phrases rather than dancing through them, kind of like a gymnast starting a tumbling run.  She doesn’t sing or flow. That’s not to say she can’t, but right now she doesn’t.  I’d call it a youthful error; the legato style usually comes later.

That’s what I’m picking up from her videos.  To me, that’s a major problem…but maybe it isn’t so evident in real life.  Varna may be a good way to tell.  But again, is she doing herself any favors by entering now?

Anyway, I’ll be trying to find my way around WordPress in the coming days and if I can’t, will move this blog elsewhere.