The Born-Again Balletomane's Blog

Just another site about the love of ballet

Giselle Berthea April 21, 2017

Filed under: ballerina,ballet — theworstat @ 4:35 am
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Not up on the latest news about this kid, but I found a video of one of her performances in the 2014 International Ballet Competition in Moscow (age approximately 15).  It’s a variation from Act 1 of Giselle.  I was struck by how her movement quality seemed to hint at what’s to come in Act II, when Giselle is a ghost.  I’ve seen lots of Giselles and never really saw that before in anyone else’s interpretation.

Enjoy:  Giselle by Giselle


A visual treasure April 7, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — theworstat @ 5:51 am

Act 2 of Swan Lake by the Royal Ballet, 1960:

Swan Lake


“A” for effort March 30, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — theworstat @ 6:24 pm

“F”(ail) for pointe work:

Ivan Vasiliev as Kitri

(no, you read that right…watch the video!)


Reality show dance March 29, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — theworstat @ 3:01 am

Since I’ve been harping so much about Joffrey Elite, here’s a video about its mother series, Dance Moms.  Turns out a lot of what I could smell in JE is actually true about Dance Moms, and worse:

The truth about Dance Moms


Cult ballerinas March 26, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — theworstat @ 1:15 pm

Sit back for a moment and think about those dancers who have been stalled forever at the soloist level, or maybe even at coryphee or in the corps.  I’m talking about the standouts who never seem to get promoted.

The late Rebecca Wright comes to mind: she came to ABT as a soloist after having been a principal at the Joffrey (the present-day Joffrey does not have principal dancers; not sure of the history but it probably has been different in the past).  For a current cult ballerina I’m thinking of Sarah Lane, who is famous with the public for having been the body double who did the actual dancing in Black Swan, but who is more famous among ABT fans as being the girl who keeps getting passed over for the big promotion, even though she is renowned for her Giselle and other interpretations.

In the recent past, of course, there was our beloved Evgenia Obraztsova, who lingered for years in soloist levels at the Maryinsky.  Or maybe Yulia Stepanova, same problem.  Both are now well-regarded primas at the Bolshoi, so who knows what the Maryinsky’s problem was.

Anyway, let me know about your favorite cult ballerinas.


This is what I’m talking about… March 15, 2017

Filed under: ballet class,reality tv — theworstat @ 5:49 am
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“Joffrey Elite”

I mentioned this monstrosity in a previous post.  Here you see the “reality show” formula at its worst: fake shaming, fake competition, fake drama, all ending in a fake cliff-hanger.

Add to that student dancers who are not ready for any kind of limelight.  All the kids appear deficient in basic classical technique, so how is it helping them to spend their days in 6th position, executing a free-for-all edition of “modern dance,” (actually as I said earlier, it bears more resemblance to high-school drill team garbage), if they are aiming to be classical dancers?  And the boys can’t partner, or at least what they’re being asked to do is way beyond what they can manage.

There’s always yet another stupid team competition (are we dancers or are we cheerleaders?); we have that lousy choreography where people march around in lockstep for a bit and then throw themselves by their stomachs (and why does it look exactly the same as the previous lousy choreography they did, when the subject is ostensibly so different?).  And of course because there’s magically a new competition every two weeks or so, they have to be in an eternal rush to have new dances and costumes for each competition, just like Dance Moms!   (Note: most real ballets take at least a month to choreograph and prepare, and are rehearsed to the point of exhaustion.)

Meantime back in the real world, I have to point out that this is nothing like

School of American Ballet documentary

This documentary simply shows life at an elite ballet school with no detectable added drama.  It assumes ballet life is interesting enough on its own.  It doesn’t reek of a bunch of writers sitting around a table throwing out ideas like, “let’s have Arielle just dying for love of Jason, but then she finds out he really wants Josh, and meantime they’re all worried about their next big competition and whether Mr. Ballet Master is going to let them dance anymore if they don’t get a good score from the judges…”

To sum it up, nothing depicted in “Joffrey Elite” prepares the kids for life in a ballet company, so what’s the point?

The point of ballet school is clear when you watch the SAB documentary.  This is the way ballet backstories should be portrayed on TV: just tell the truth.   It’s quite dramatic enough.

P.S. the Joffrey Ballet must cringe at the “Joffrey Elite” series and the inevitable confusion it will cause.  How do I know?  Look at the website of the Joffrey Academy (the actual school of the Joffrey Ballet, as opposed to the Joffrey Ballet School).  See anything there that tells you they may be trying to distance themselves from all this?  Yes.


Excellent pointe shoe video March 11, 2017

Filed under: ballerina,ballet,pointe shoes,Uncategorized — theworstat @ 3:10 am
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Because I ripped into a little kid for making a truly horrible pointe shoe video, I feel the need to show you a video from a professional dancer who knows what she is talking about:

Kathryn Morgan