I’ve probably missed something, but I admit that I have never seen a video of Maya Plisetskaya completing the famous 32 fouettes in the Black Swan act.
Further, while on her way up in the Mariinsky, Oxana Skorik frequently slipped up on the fouettes. Heck, she could’t even do the famous variation in the first act of Giselle “correctly,” meaning she couldn’t complete the hops on pointe (she can now). But she got promoted anyway.
But apparently Misty Copeland slipped up on her fouettes during Swan Lake sometime recently, which resulted in this. (BTW, the offending Twitter account has been taken down.)
While I admit that I consider Copeland to be a bit limited as a strictly classical ballerina (she seems fine in more modern works), I’m wondering if anyone else gives a damn about how many fouettes a ballerina performs in Swan Lake or any other ballet?
I recall a similar bogus argument that erupted in figure skating in the 1980’s when skaters were finally excused from undergoing those tedious figures competitions so they could concentrate on jumps. All of a sudden skaters without triple jumps “couldn’t skate,” even though they could. This idiotic argument continues to this day; in the men’s field, it now concentrates on the hip-destroying quad jumps.
All the while the real problem was that the skaters were concentrating on multi-rotational jumps at the expense of actually skating. That has only been corrected in recent years, and it’s still a work in progress. For an example of what I’m talking about, watch a video of the 1961 U.S. Worlds team at their last Nationals (this is the team that perished in a plane crash), and observe all the little “in betweens” that have been lost. Skaters are only just now re-learning some of them.
I think something similar must apply to ballet, only here we’re talking about big tricks like fouettes.