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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Experiences with Pro Dancers


REGINALDK

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I've never met or worked with professional ballet dancers, but I was wondering what some of your experiences were like. Have you ever dated, worked with, or befriended a profession dancer.

 

Ballet has a reputation for being inaccessible. Many ballet dancers are known for being prima donnas. Is this true? Tell me about your experiences.

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Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers, Reginald!

 

Being that there are many of us here who are/were professional ballet dancers, I'd have to say that it's no different from any other profession in that there are Prima Donnas (and Donalds :devil: ) in every walk of life.

 

There are also very hard-working and dedicated professionals, who are the norm rather than the exception. Professional dancers are tired at the end of their day/performance, and yet will still take the time to give a fan an autograph. Yes, admire professional ballet dancers for their dedication, but be careful not to idolize too much; that is dangerous in any walk of life.

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I've never met or worked with professional ballet dancers, but I was wondering what some of your experiences were like. Have you ever dated, worked with, or befriended a profession dancer.

 

. . . .Tell me about your experiences.

 

ReginaldK, I do hope you aren't just asking for folks to GOSSIP :devil: ! We don't do that here on BT4D.

 

Professional ballet dancers are real live people with real feelings and real expectations of privacy. We do not 'chat', 'gossip', or 'discuss' the personalities, characteristics, or relationships of third parties here---especially behind their backs. I know you have asked for 'first-hand' information about posters' meetings and relationships---and in some circumstances, it might be appropriate to answer, e.g., along the lines of how nice and kind the dancer was when she/he signed an autograph, or how helpful they were when they guest taught and provided corrections---but much more than that is asking for TMPI (too much personal information).

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Ever go out with an archæologist? You have to accept that they will seldom look at you, but always keep scanning the ground for shards and other artifacts. I think every job has the Truly Serious Practitioner. Be they lawyers, doctors, accountants, graphic artists, auto mechanics, insurance agents or whatever, some people always only want to talk shop!

 

PS. Hint for going out with an archæologist: Learn to recognize a few types of ceramics, and while she's scanning, drop in an occasional, "Oooh, look! Pearlware, Gaudy Dutch, transfer-printed earthenware, salt-glaze, pipestem!"

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I respect dancers for the hard work they put into their art. I've just heard that many dancers are very stuck up. Many critics accused Danny (from "So You Think You Can Dance") on being arrogant. As a fan of ballet, I'm worried that ballet may not be accessible enough to the average American. I'm very concern about the image of ballet. And rather dancers admit it, public relations is important.

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You see them all over the place in every job. The worst snob I ever knew was a real estate agent, but you don't see real estate agents wanting for good publicity. Relating to dancers on a one-on-one basis is not a usual way of building publicity for the whole art. But, should you meet a dancer and want to go out, be prepared to talk somewhat knowledgeably about the business.

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I was in the same class as Danny Tidwell at the Kirov Academy, and he was always perfectly pleasant. You cannot get a true idea of someone's personality from TV because it is so heavily edited. Sometimes the producers want a person to appear a certain way in order to induce a particular audience reaction.

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Every person who had made a snap decision about Danny Tidwell rescinded their opinion, and apologized for making negative assumptions about him. In my opinion, the reason ballet dancers can be seen as stuck up is because they are trained to look regal, stand and walk with a more confident bearing than the average person, and act with great courtesy, and a calm demeanor. Danny, for example, didn't slouch onto the stage, say to the judges, "Dude...sup?," and then jump up and down screaming and crying when he got accepted onto the show. Instead, he acted like a ballet dancer. :innocent: So You Think You Can Dance is not a reliable source for information on ballet dancers!

 

My daughter takes classes from former professionals, and takes classes with former professionals. She is treated differently as a student than she is a classmate, but she is always treated with courtesy, and kindness, and, from her teachers, with firmness as necessary. Her former-professional classmates are especially kind and encouraging to her.

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My husband and I are both attorneys, and my sister said years ago, "why are you all so argumentative??" Well, duh! People often, though not always, go into professions which suit their personality types. We knew no dancers, professional or student, until our DD began to dance, and now we know hundreds. As a group, professional ballet dancers are lively and expressive, talk with their hands and faces and not just with their mouths, are very careful of others' physical space, are incredibly brave about major pain/stresses and incredibly not about minor aches, often bright and engaged in society and current events, often have a phenomenal sense of humor and are intensely and amazingly . . . jocks. Obviously, someone who can devote that many hours to an art form not everyone appreciates enough is going to be interesting, focused, dedicated and strong.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have taken class from and with several reasonably famous dancers and former dancers, and my experience has been that they are all over the spectrum. One particular teacher was one of the most brilliant men I have ever studied with, and was also the most arrogant person I have ever met. Another former professional I take from frequently is the most supportive and accessible teacher I have ever had. She is also fairly brilliant.

 

The only uniting characteristic I have noticed, is that none of them are quite normal. My theory is that you must have a certain obsessive quality to your personality in order to dedicate the amount of time and energy necessary to become a professional dancer. (Please nobody take offense to this, I most definitely lump myself into the category of abnormal as well. I can only hope this is for the same reason that many dancers are.)

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The professionals/former professionals I have met/taken class with/etc have always been wonderful. Absolutely approachable, when I wasn't too star-struck to talk to them. :P They were always so humble and gracious whenever a student gave them a compliment, and seemed to get genuine joy from answering questions. They all seemed so flattered, which struck me as sort of bizarre, since the majority were very famous.

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