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January 30, 2014

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Bella Figura is a brilliant and beautiful ballet. The nudity is hardly pointless... It presents a vulnerability, a peeling away of layers, an innocence... I'm surprised that you would so casually dismiss what I find to be Kylian's best work.

Hi, Minnie. Thanks for the input. I am a fan of early Kylian, but not of this piece. It is only female nudity employed by Mr. Kylian. That the men are shirtless does not, in this day and age, constitute nudity on the stage. You don't see the men swinging their jewelry around for everyone to observe their vulnerability and innocence. In fact, they are even more covered up than usual in the long red skirts. It is the female nudity that made the piece famous, not Kylian's choreography.

Having seen several Kylian pieces live... this remains the only one that has brought tears to my eyes and really moved me. BTW, I find male nudity distracting or even comical onstage. To much is prone to "swinging" around. The man in the beginning is in flesh colored briefs, the same as the woman in the beginning. He is not covered any more or less than the woman. Kylian does like to employ "gimmicks" in his choreography but the ones found in Bella Figura all work for me... I'm not a fan of all Kylian works but I find Bella Figura sublime. Would it have had the same impact if the women were covered? Probably. However if we take into consideration a more European view on nudity, boobs are hardly controversial or shocking. If he had wanted to use the nudity to that end I believe he would have gone Full Monty. I will say that when Boston Ballet premiered this ballet a few years back they advertised the nudity not as a disclaimer but as a selling point and I found that in EXTREMELY poor taste. It pissed me off in fact because it contributes to the sentiments that you feel surrounding this work of art. Haglund, I sincerely hope that you will attend the performance and view the piece with a fresh perspective. Give it another chance. Look past the breasts and see the heart of this work which I sometimes find lacking in Kylian's choreography. At the end of the day art is subjective and we are all entitled to our own opinions... :)

Minnie, I agree that there is a different viewpoint of nudity on the European dance stage. I don't agree that it's more forward-thinking or better or enlightened or more helpful in the art of ballet. Every time the ballet world (or the opera world) relies on explicit sexual elements (or explicit violence) to attract an audience or sell tickets or attract media, it chips away at the integrity and beauty of the art form. The easiest path to selling art and entertainment to the American society is to use sex and violence. It's sad, but it's true.

I never said nudity was more forward-thinking or better or enlightened or more helpful in the art of ballet... However I have no problem with nudity persey. My point was I don't think the nudity in Bella Figura was INITIALLY used to sell tickets or attract media attention in that boobs are less of an issue in Europe. It is true that often times in the States that is how it's used. If you want that kind of entertainment go to Vegas or your local strip joint! LOL

Well, as you've probably heard, we don't have enough strip joints in New York.

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