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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Documentaries: Ballerina


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Just curious, since I am a non-dancer, why would they do that? Sounds like it could be harmful!?

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It is harmful, not just for the toes, but for the tendons on the bottom of the foot as well. I believe many people do it because they want their feet to appear more pointed. Unfortunately, it is actually counterproductive, as one ends up concentrating pressure in the toes rather than stretching the arch. I consider it a lazy 'cheat' for dancers who want to just push their feet into the floor rather than put effort into pointing them correctly. Frequently, dancers who do this also do not use their feet correctly against the floor--instead of rolling through the entire foot on the way down from a jump or relevé on pointe, they just let their ankles collapse the moment the b a l l of the foot touches the ground. It looks ugly, and it causes landings from jumps to be louder. A dancer must use his/her foot so that it slides smoothly along the floor--a commonly used phrase is that the feet appear to lick or massage the floor. (Dancers from the Royal Danish Ballet, Paris Opéra Ballet, and Royal Ballet often do this very well.) If the dancer pays attention and does it consistently, s/he can do this regardless of speed and accent. The one exception would be if a dancer needs to spring onto pointe, but she must still catch herself on the way down and not simply fall back onto her heels.

 

Sorry for the soapbox, this is something that really irritates me! It is very easily corrected if a dancer just puts forth a little attention and effort.

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crazyforballet

Finally watched this streamed through Netflix - this is a must see for all dancers, especially budding ballerinas. Lots of oohs, aahs, and ouches. I've never seen the Kirov perform, so I must ask - is this what "real ballet" is like? I never seen dancing like this in the US - not even at NYCB. The primas and soloists were amazing, but soooo thin. Where these just the camera angles? The dancers did not appear really muscular at all which is what I've seen more of in the US.

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Hans and fauxpas, I caught that scene too, as did my DD. In fact, she started screaming "toe curler" at the TV screen before she proceeded to pause the documentary, so she could go on a tirade about toe curling and proper articulation.

 

Somova certainly has her critics and I can see why.

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Crazyforballet - yes, the Mariinsky is "real ballet"--and so is NYCB. They are just different styles.

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balletdancer1040

We borrowed this movie from Netflix. DD and I found it fascinating. The dancing was so very precise! I don't think I have ever seen anything like it in the US! But one thing we noticed the most was the Thinness of the dancers. :thumbsup:

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This is probably just a cultural thing or my own issues but did anyone else find the process of 'selection' for the Vaganova School kind of disturbing? All of those prepubescent girls standing around in panties and being judged by a roomful of people? Some of them looked extremely uncomfortable. I know this is probably how it has been done for generations but I guess I am a little prudish maybe. Then the directors comments about how even after they are selected many don't stay bc you just cannot know what they will look like when they grow up. There is a definite pressure to be ultra thin there even in this day and age. I know this is still a prominent ideal everywhere but I got the distinct impression it was or could be then end all and be all there.

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crazyforballet

Oh yea, MBF! When I watched that scene I thought, are those nude leotards with trunks? Ah no, they weren't. But wasn't it fascinating to see that selection process? Obviously an accepted part of the ballet culture in Russia and the dream of many many little Russian girls. After all, they said they basically were the Rock Stars of their world. Thanks Hans, I guess that all ballet is "real ballet." But what I meant was that Russian classical ballet has always been the accepted standard of excellence in the ballet world, but I've never really "seen it." Wasn't it also fascinating to see the opinions of the gentleman from the Paris Opera Ballet? It definitely gave me a new appreciation for the acceptance of different styles and types of ballet and different types of body types that we find in the US. It was also interesting to see them performing Balanchine pieces.

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If you watch the movie "The Children of Theatre Street", you'll see the same process (actually it looks like some of the same children) :lol: I believe this is the traditional selection process, and most likely will not change for a long time. Young children in their underwear is still accepted in many cultures. I still see some young children in their underwear on the public beaches! These are usually European families and they find it acceptable behavior.

 

As for the lines of the bodies, the kids in the movie referenced above talk about the glories of getting to eat ice cream as being one of their big dreams in life. I would say the world of ballet is the same everywhere!

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Hans- not a soapbox, just great information! Learning more about the proper techniques in ballet makes a more appreciative audience. That's why I love to watch ballet with my DD! Unfortunately, when it is live performance, of course the discussion cannot take place immediately so I can't remember or catch the things she does. That's why I love to watch the videos! They are very educational.

 

Now, I'm going to download this one! This has generated interesting discussion!

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When I was looking up "Children of Theater Street" on Amazon "The Dancer" also came up as a suggestion. I think I am going to put both on my Netflix queue if they are available.

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These are both good. Of these two, my favorite is "The Children of Theatre Street". Both are available on Netflix. I would have to say "Ballerina" is a better ballet documentary than "The Dancer", but is about even with "The Children of Theatre Street". This is just my opinion as to how these two movies compare as documentaries.

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My experience with diet/nutrition in Russia is that it is very different. The temptation of ice cream most likely isn't as ever-present in Russia as in other parts of the world. I, myself had never had ice cream before coming to the US (9 yrs ago). And due to malnutrition during my mom's pregnancy some of my first teeth lost their enamel, the permanent ones are fine. Many Russian families grow food and consume many vegetables and it's because they'll do what is necessary.

 

The girls in the Vaganova Academy auditions are not different in build than most Russian children, in my recollection. There just isn't the propensity for overweight with their vegetable rich diet.

 

I am just over the moon about this movie! I loved Ulyana Lopatkina's story: how she came back after the 2003 injury, having been out 2 years. But my all-time fav is Diana Vishneva. The whole 80 minutes is lovely in my opinion, except for the toe curling.

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mydarlindancer

Could someone please post a photo link of what is meant by toe curling? I haven't see this movie but this makes me curious.

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