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Ballet Talk for Dancers

nudity in ballets???


Guest lurry

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Nudity on stage may have been one of the things that turned my daughter off on modern. To this day she shys away from being in pieces that may have even the slightest suggestive movements. She is not embarassed by nudity and appreciates the artistry. This is a girl who has definitely not been sheltered but is modest at heart. :yucky:

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  • Mel Johnson

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I don’t see a connection between nudity and sexual suggestiveness. It is possible to be fully dressed and yet still be sexually suggestive. And it is also possible to be nude and not be sexually suggestive at all. A very common example: Every student sees a photo of Michaelangelo’s David in one or more of their textbooks at some point during their school years. The figure is nude, but is it suggestive?

 

I’m sure that there is some dance with nudity that intends to be suggestive—ballet, modern, whatever, not just that down on the Strip. But I'm also sure there is a very great deal of dance with nudity that has no intention of being sexually suggestive. Any suggestiveness would be either due to poor dancing, or an individual viewer's perception.

 

I must say I'm quite disappointed that the opportunity to see this performance was cancelled. What a shame for all the students. The so-called nudity (in one piece only) is a nothing, quite similar to visiting the National Gallery or the Met.

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I am also disappointed that my daughter has to miss the performance at Jacob's Pillow, however, I believe that Walnut Hill made the right decision to cancel. Unless the parents of the 60 dancers,who are at WH under their care, were contacted for permission, I believe there could have been all sorts of possible problems. These kids are ages 13 through 16. Personally, I believe my daughter would have been embarrassed. She was surprised when I told her about it and just said she wished they could have made reservations to a different ballet.

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I think the fact that Britney Spears is allowed out in public is embarrassing, that some kids are allowed to dress the way they do in public is embarrassing, that Paris Hilton has a TV show is embarrassing. (Talk about suggestive behavior.) We've got a serious problem with double standards in this country.

 

WH could have contacted the parents. For many parents unfamiliar with the piece, an explanation of exactly what the nudity entailed might have been very useful to have before they, or WH, rendered their judgement.

 

It is beside the point, but I resent it when others decide what I or my kids can and cannot see without allowing us to decide for ourselves.

 

 

Edited at 2:30 pm MST.

I removed a comment about Paris Hilton. For all I know, some people find her very artistic in her forms of expression. I'm leaving in my other opinions though, despite the fact that some would say that personal choices in dress and behavior have as much artistic merit as any ballet or modern piece...personal expression and all that...but that just reinforces my point about double standards.

Edited by werlkj
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GretchenStar

I think the audience should be informed (as it appears they are, in the program description/website, etc) so they can decide for themselves whether they want to attend. I guess another option if it was a mixed bill type of performance is to step out of the theater during the piece with nudity...?

 

As for field trips, I agree that the parents should be notified and they can make their own decision for their dancing daughter/son. But also, the dancers themselves should be able to decide if they do want to go or not- for example, if the parents think it's okay, but the dancer is uncomfortable with nudity, he/she may not want to attend...

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Werlkj, thank you, thank you, thank you!

I don't see a connection between nudity and sexual suggestiveness. It is possible to be fully dressed and yet still be sexually suggestive. And it is also possible to be nude and not be sexually suggestive at all. A very common example: Every student sees a photo of Michaelangelo’s David in one or more of their textbooks at some point during their school years. The figure is nude, but is it suggestive?

 

I will go a little bit farther and say that a sexually suggestive stage performance is in some cases OK with me for young teens. It really depends. Sometimes nudity on stage denotes great love and tenderness; I wanted my young teens exposed to that kind of sexuality rather than what TV and many PG-13 movies marketed to them. In fact, I wouldn't allow much of that sort of program or movie into our home. It still shocks me that our puritanical culture embraces the likes of Madonna and Britney Spears but is embarrassed by outright nudity in dance.

 

Although I had strict guidelines within my home, I couldn't be out in the world with my kids to see what they really were and weren't watching with friends. So I think that, to counterbalance the leering variety of sexuality in the media, it was healthy for my kids to see sex and nudity treated respectfully.

 

My daughter grew up nearby Pilobolus and MOMIX studios, ultimately performing with MOMIX (although she wasn't performing in "Passion" which involves behind-a-scrim nudity). She has seen many of their performances throughout the years. When she was a young teen, my husband and I wouldn't let her see their programs (esp. Pilobolus's) indiscriminately but some of what she saw included nudity. I tend to think of nudity in the dance world as being similar enough to nudity in the fine arts worlds of sculpture and painting - a celebration of our bodies.

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Guest lurry

The way I see it is, when children at 8 want to emulate ballerina barbie or the jewelry box dancer, no where did it contain adult content.

 

What I'm getting at though is, I think as parents we must educate our children about ALL types of ballet. This way, when they go to SI's they can hopefully appreciate demi- nudity and not be shocked.

 

The worst my dd has seen was "right of spring" and "Black Cake". Which is good enough for me.

Personally, I would prefer to see the classics. If I want to see this kind of "art", I will book a trip to Vegas. ( Even the dancers there get a choice if they want to do a full nudity or partial) Nor, do I want to think about my dd accepting a contract that would expose her body. :unsure:

 

I think the naked body is a beautiful thing, just not my daughters.

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What offends one person does not necessarily offend another. As an open minded parent I would have no problem letting my child view nudity in an artistic performance at any age. I'm sure that some of my children's friend's parents have been shocked by what I will allow mine to see. Nudity and sugestiveness (is that a word?) are not one in the same. I have caught my son viewing pornography and rather than go through the roof I have explained to him my views. If it was made dirty and forbidden he would probably still be looking at it but it has passed and now he listens to rap which drives me wild and that too will pass. I would never push my views on someone else and that is probably why the SI chose not to let the students go to a performance that might offend some. I think that my children at times have been a bit embarassed that they have experienced things forbidden by their peers' parents and have kept quiet about it to fit in.

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I believe I saw that same holacaust piece at the Joyce by Pilobolus as BW with my daughter and her friend around five years ago. We picked up the last three tickets at the very last minute. The two 13 year olds took the "obstructed view" seats which were right in the very front row; I had a perfect single seat, for dance, about halfway back. The performance/piece had been written up in the NYTimes because of the Maurice Sendak set, I believe. Anyway - the nudity was entirely appropriate to the starkness and overall message/portrayal of the piece. From where I was sitting - it was also "artistic." From the young teens were sitting - well, I think it was rather like being on a bench in the locker room with a couple of adults stripping down and changing two feet away from you. However, we all emerged unscathed from the experience. And did not regret our selection in the least. IN fact we were thrilled to see Pilobolus and have not had an opportunity since then.

 

If it terribly offends your values, you need to make that decision. Otherwise, from a normal distance, and given many a dance studens perspective and experience (all the changing that dancers are around, and how revealing dance attire is anyway, etc). - I don't think your young teens will be thrown for a loop by being in the audience of dance where there is some nudity. I would think twice and three times before asking the student to forego being in the audience.

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If it terribly offends your values, you need to make that decision. Otherwise, from a normal distance, and given many a dance studens perspective and experience (all the changing that dancers are around, and how revealing dance attire is anyway, etc). - I don't think your young teens will be thrown for a loop by being in the audience of dance where there is some nudity. I would think twice and three times before asking the student to forego being in the audience.
Good advice there, sry...and yes, it was the same program.

 

Additionally, I have to agree with werlkj about Britney Spears and Madonna, and the general level of drivel seen on prime time TV, too. :D

 

It's too bad WH had to make the decision for all the students across the board.

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Guest lurry

I have been very intrigued by the responses, so I just spoke with a good friend of mine that danced at the royal ballet some years ago about her opinion. The only thing she said to me is "do you really want to see a ponche in the nude? or how about an arebesque?" Very interesting!! She also indicated that nudity takes ballet and women back 25 years. This is a good point!

 

Do we want to see a ponche in the nude? For the life of me no!!

 

We spoke about the entire topic, from WH to Jacobs pillow performances, etc..

 

On the subject of WH, I support their decision. Not because of the nudity, but because of the controvesy that surrounds it. When you have to deal with 60 parents, valuable time would've been taken away from the students to iron out the matter. I'm sure the director, whom teaches, the principal teacher, whom teaches, the administrator/choreographer/teacher, whom teaches would've had to dealt with this issue. I'd rather time be spent with the students, in class. :D

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Mel Johnson

"Don't put your daughter on the stage, Mrs. Worthington."

 

Anybody want to DANCE the Sleeping Beauty pas de deux nude? Ouch! I used to get scraped up enough in a costume!

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Victoria Leigh

The ballets which have nudity are, to my knowledge, not classical ballets. They are very contemporary pieces, and generally the nudity is quite concealed, or is not total nudity at all.

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Mel Johnson

I just had a mental image of 24 naked wilis doing the chugs across the stage. :D:o:wink::blink::blushing::thumbsup:

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Guest lurry

I have another question to pose, what is the reason for such a rush to introduce a young person to this type dance anyways? Eventhough society pushes it in other aspects of life, do we really need to introduce it into ballet (for young dancers) at such a young age? I suppose they will eventually be expose to it, but what educational purpose does it have?, especially at an SI? :blink:

 

I want to get back to what Victoria had written about classical companies.

 

I did a search in dance mag. and I couldn't locate the exact one, the cover had Bill T Jones on the front. So, if someone could help me out, I would be appreciative because it had an interview with Kevin Mckenzie, AD for ABT.

 

The interview with him suggested he supported "cutting edge ballet" and he intended to appeal to the 20+ crowd, using them as their bread and butter. He still intended on doing story book ballets, but he was going to explore other forms of dance.

 

From the tone of the interview, eventhough he is AD over a classical ballet co., he still intends on bringing some advangard work into his company. Now I would say that now the classical companies are questionable from the tone of his interview.

 

I mean why can't they do works like the "gala performance or the dying swan? There are many great works out there to choose from, why these others? :dry:

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