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Ballet Talk for Dancers
Kathleen Sinclair

RDA Pacific Festival 2009 in Provo Utah

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One last comment about festival:


It's interesting to see how companies "compensate" for not having any male dancers, such as having girls partner other girls. I say "compensate" because a piece with only females can be just as, or even more, interesting than a piece with guys.


In the improv/choreography class, the instructor made a point that when guys are added to a piece (or even a choreography exercise), the dynamic changes. And I totally agree. Our company has been fortunate to have a plethora of male dancers (in the past 14 years, I can only think of 1 all-girls piece that we performed at festival - most of the time, we have about 4 or 5 guys in the piece). Other companies don't have that luxury (certain ones seem always to have all-girl pieces).


I actually kind of miss working on a piece where there are no guys. I'd like to see a choreographer create movement and choreography that doesn't involve partnering. It might be interesting (not for festival but for a company's own show) to have a piece with just senior/advanced girls, and a separate piece with just the guys (provided there was a sufficient number of guys and the technique/ability to sustain a piece).


Because otherwise, most of pieces seem to have the same structure: lead girl, guy to partner lead girl, maybe 1 or 2 soloist girls, and corps girls. The guy's main function is to partner the girl - even when we have had 4 guys in a piece, they are mostly there just for partnering.


I'll take Utah Regional Ballet II's piece which closed the gala performance last night (I know I said I would not critique pieces) - they had a (male) guest artist from Ballet West for their piece. His inclusion was critical for the structure of the piece (which only made sense when I saw the ending of the piece), but otherwise, it seemed like most of his choreography was partnering. So it made me question if it was necessary for him to be in the piece.


Just a thought to throw out there...

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I have enjoyed reading your posts about the Pacific festival. I would love to see more dancers/directors/observers give their impressions as well.


As to the use of men in ballets, I think part of the "dilemma" is that in many cases, the male dancer's technique is not at the same level as the senior women in the company. Hence the need for the choreographer to use the men in a partnering capacity to "hide" this lack of advanced technique. In that in my company we rarely have men, I personally love to see them on stage....and wish we had the option to use the male presence in our ballets.


On a personal note: I was very impressed with your solo in that 5 boy partnering ballet at this past festival. Congrats!

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