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March 21, 2018

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What's pathetic is that there are 11 year-olds out there that can whip off 32 fouettes on pointe on any given day.

True, Deanna. I've long wondered why she wouldn't just do them off-pointe, but I sense that she wears such stiff, bulky shoes that she wouldn't even be able to do a 1/2 to 3/4 releve consistently enough to keep them going. At least she doesn't just stand there and tap her foot while twirling her finger to mark the fouettes.

Can you imagine what those ABT dancers who have all the requisite technique for Swan Lake must think when they see Copeland getting away with this? She's not even trying any more. It's pathetic.

She's an embarrassment, and McKenzie is an idiot for tolerating such low standards. You can't fake your way through Petipa.

What is your feeling about the Hallberg/Osipova Giselle? I always wait and buy single tickets (going on sale this Sunday), but I've never had so little faith that the casting will remain as it's currently listed.

In brighter news, I've found the Instagram clips of Lane and Cornejo rehearsing Bayadere to be absolutely gorgeous! Can't wait for that performance.

My feeling about the Hallberg/Osipova date is that it's 50/50 right now. I'm doubting Hallberg's story that the calf muscle injury was spontaneous or a surprise. More often than not, dancers have a prior sense of tightness or a little stitch of discomfort in the calf which should be a sign to back off. When dancers try to heroically ignore it, they potentially can blow out the calf which would mean 8-12 weeks or longer for recovery. My sense is that Hallberg will not be completely recovered, repaired, and ready to dance on May 18th, but he might go ahead and try regardless of the possible consequences. Last year, it was at times very uncomfortable to watch him in Giselle because it was apparent that he was still an injured dancer.

Even though Hallberg is in the latter part of his physically troubled career, he's not showing great maturity or common sense in his choices (2 Giselles and 2 Manons originally scheduled with Osipova in London). He's caught up in his Romantic notion about dancing with her even though they're not a particularly ideal or compelling duo IMO. The attraction is media-made, not stage-made. But there are more and more people who buy into media-made reputations that are not backed up with stage reality.

I just can’t anymore with ABT. They have called me a few times to resubscribe. I ignore the calls but I may answer and tell the rep that I refuse to buy anymore tickets until they fix the disparities in casting. No, they won’t miss my money but maybe if everyone expressed this same sentiment.... Copeland and Boykstom are subpar dancers and an embarrassment to what was once a glorious company.

I rather like Hallberg and Osipova together, but one issue is that with Marcelo gone, I'm not sure who from the ABT male ranks steps into Act II (a la Matthew Ball with the Royal) if David either drops out or tries Act I and has to withdraw mid-performance due to injury.

That said, I'm a curse on that partnership, having been in the audience when she was injured at the Met a few years ago, and just a month ago at the ROH where he was injured, and I will not be at the ABT performance this year, so chances are it will be fine ;)

As an aside, subscription sales to ABT's Met Season look awful. I was just clicking around individual seats (available now to subscribers), and there is just a LOAD of tickets left to almost every performance. This is hardly a surprise given the rep and casting this season, but at some point the board has to call McKenzie on this, no? How long can they sustain a Met Season selling so few subscriptions?

I think it's worth also noting that the big hike in ticket prices that happened a few seasons ago is keeping some of us away from performances that have the uneven casting that we might have otherwise rolled the dice on.

I bought a ticket for the Osipova/Hallberg performance because I've never seen her dance in person. But I agree, watching David is not enjoyable exactly. I am worried the whole time for his injury, tensed up every time he lands.

I'm thrilled about seeing Irina Dvorovenko in Grand Hotel on Saturday. My friends (theater performers, not ballet fans) and I are long-time Encores subscribers, and to add to our excitement, we even have an additional colleague in the show! (singing chorus, not dancing). Hoping this will be a good production with a wonderful performance from Irina, we're looking forward to some celebratory cocktails afterwards!

Well par for the course, ABT is wasting Kimin Kim performances by pairing him with Hee Seo. WHY? He could have been paired with Abrera, Lane, Teuscher, Murphy even Brandt or Trenary! But somehow, someone, somewhere is under the impression that everyone is dying to see Seo. I've seen her run out of Stamina once too often to waste money on her performances again even to see Kim dance.

And what a mess their website has suddenly become. Just when you think it couldn't be any worse, ABT shows that it can plunge deeper into mediocrity. One thing is for sure, ABT has never given a thought to HOW people ACTUALLY USE THEIR WEBSITE. Epic fail, as usual.

I see that Roberto Bolle has picked up a Giselle with Hee Seo AND THANK GOD Stella has a new Albrecht: Stearns. At least he is watchable. Of course, ABT could have made a typo and we'll see it change again -- of course AFTER tickets are purchased. Hopefully, common sense and good taste will result in changes to her Romeo as well. But we doubt that ABT will cease promoting the Empress With No Clothes On and No Fouettes In Her Fancy Purse to give Sarah Lane the Odette/Odile which she and we deserve.

The new website design is atrocious. Unless I missed a page, you can't look at the whole season and see who is dancing when without individually scrolling over each performance. Although, maybe they did this on purpose to cover up some of the awful casting decisions...

Catherine, you're probably right that they purposely made it impossible to view the whole season in order to cover up their misdeeds.

Video of Misty’s fouetté fail: https://instagram.com/p/BgaS0wtF8iP/

It’s worse than I could have even imagined.

FAIL is an understatement. What a load of crap! And listen to the audience's muted reaction.

That video...I can't believe ABT is presenting this mess on the world stage with a serious face. Copeland can get away with this awfulness and yet Lane is denied one SL performance for, at the most, 3 missed fouettes (on only 3 full rehearsals plus doing double duty in her regular roles)?

And the source of most of Copeland's troubles is on full display; those grossly, crooked hyper-extended legs of which she is so prideful. Someone should have directed her to physical therapy when she was in her late teens, early 20s to correct this or at least advise her to leave the art form. Now it is way too late to mitigate the damage plus there are other more capable dancers with healthy legs waiting in the wings.

Can't take all the credit -- the link was pointed out to me by another -- but am happy to have shared it here.

It's great that she finally got polite applause instead of a rapturous ovation! The crowd goes wild for Cornejo's outstanding dancing. It's a slap in the face that he gets paired with this fakerina, as I think you call her.

And here's a YouTube link for anyone interested in sharing/embedding:

https://youtu.be/EzBcOByHpeY

That link. That is shockingly bad. An embarrassment. The worst attempt at 32 fouettes I have ever seen. I take back any supportive words I have ever said about Misty's self-promotion being good for ballet, even if she's not principal material. This is a charade.

And FoF, that wasn't "polite applause" - that was near-silence from the audience, which I admit is politer than I'd have been.

LOL, elfantgirl! I have my fingers crossed that Stella has been pulled from Don Q so she can replace Misty in one of her Swan Lakes. I know that's wishful thinking...

ITA. Copeland has had her chances in this ballet for several years, and she has blown every one of them. She should be completely pulled from the week of Swan Lakes. It would be incredible to see Stella & Blaine get one of those dates while Sarah gets the other. And Stella should be dancing Nikyia this year also.

I might add that the sluggish speed of the piques in the video certainly didn't warrant dragging the working leg behind. These weren't done at the blinding speed of an Aurora in Sleeping Beauty. She must have thought that she was being "Petipa-ish" when in fact she simply made the pique manege look like it was a slog.

Her fouttees are so bad in form they should just scrap it entirely and give her something else to do. It's an embarrassment.

Kathryn Morgan did a Swan Lake in Alabama when she was dealing with her thyroid illness. She had little to no no energy and ended up finishing with a ménage because of the under functioning thyroid, and yet she still managed to do more fouettés than a healthy Misty. So a sick and out of shape NYCB soloist outdanced the celebrina.

I tell myself I shouldn't count them while I watch a ballerina do her fouettes, I should really just sit back and enjoy it. Nevertheless, when I watch Gillian Murphy I lose count because her speed is so extraordinary. With this one, you could grow old and die before she gets to a mere 13.

@Yukionna not to mention Morgan's fouettes actually looked nice and steady in that performance (also, she was never really a natural turner, on top of her thyroid struggles, yet she managed 17 pretty fouettes.)
Misty's otoh....yikes. Imagine if she had done that in Russia. She'd be toast on Youtube.

The Copeland charade is getting more and more difficult to keep up. Her agent is going to have to up the effort to buy social media followers, plant fake news stories, and nag & beg McKenzie to keep holding Copeland above all the other better dancers. All of it is so damned disgusting.

And this new website -- what a total waste. People are not going to use it for anything and end up forgetting about ABT. Who wants to scroll through every damned individual performance to see who's dancing? What freakin' moron designed this?

And I must say -- LOL -- in looking at the dancers' photos, someone sure made a pronounced effort to whiten Misty's complexion. She's the whitest person on the page. Oh, good grief.

I also noticed that Ferri's picture is back up as a guest artist; so I assume that the H.H. UIEX (unofficial information exchange) was correct some weeks ago when it reported a tip that Ferri would be performing in the new McGregor piece. But I'll be damned if I'm going to scroll through the dates to see where she might be.

And I'll add to the above complaint about the website that they removed all the repertoire from the dancers' bios. We're supposed to care more about where they were born and who their sponsors are than about what they dance. The repertoire – not the rich sponsor – defines the artist. I should probably be more specific: the repertoire that the dancer is actually capable of executing defines the artist.

Why does she get cast with the desirable principal men? If we go down the road of “she brings new/different audience to ballet” (which I think can be supported, whether or not the same people pay full price for the tickets) who largely “may not care or know how many whippy turn things” are supposed to be in Odile’s variation, then would that same audience care/notice if she had a weak partner? I’m happy to have one of eight performances of a production be for a different audience, but can Kevin not throw the rest of us a bone or two and give us some well paired, balanced partnerships for the rest?

True, Rachel. What do her screaming, free-loading fans care if she's dancing with Mister Magoo?

I just keep going back to Gillian: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2lWFAfnBCU

As a long time supporter of ABT, I was shocked at how awful her fouettés sequence was! And poor Herman! A true professional and artist must have been stunned! I have tickets for R and J on June 16 , but frankly to see Arron Scott as Mercutio.

Hi MoMo. But by all accounts, that is her typical performance. And McKenzie is allowing her to do it not once, not twice, not three times, but FOUR times at the Met in S.L. and Don Q. She has no shame about whining and complaining to take roles away from other better dancers even though she's unqualified to dance them. That's one heck of a lesson that this "role model" is teaching her young followers.

EXACTLY! The people who show up to see Misty the Publicity Phenomenon, do not care about the technical requirements of ballet. They are only present to witness "history" or support the SJW cause. They don't care if Ballet as an art form is destroyed just to rectify some imaginary injustice.

And they don't care WHO she dances with in these ballets. They also don't care if they are a million times better dancers than Misty. Therefore Haglund, you are right, why should good dancers be wasted on her performances?

For that matter, why should a known, newly formed star couple (Lane and Simkin) suffer with an afternoon mid-week performance of Giselle? A performance that was world top class all around! I'm sure if the Board and the AD were sane, they would have given Simkin a better deal (more access to Repertoire, Lane as his regular partner), and he wouldn't be running off to Berlin.

In Misty’s defense, she told the NYT that thinking about the fouettés hurts her back. So there’s that...

It's no defense at all because she's never been able to do them. Never.

And what was her excuse for sloppy pique turns as a substitute? Did those hurt her back, too? If she has a back injury, she shouldn't be on stage. Period. Enough of this fraud. Basta!

The video was more awful than I imagined and that is saying a lot. If I was a company member I would be both embarrassed and disheartened. So many wonderful dancers in the corps are rotting away while celebrina continues to get roles. The video takes embarrassing to new levels.

Agree, Haglund. If thinking about the requirements of a role makes one's back hurt, one shouldn't be dancing said role. Seems an easy enough rule to write in stone, especially when we are talking about one ballerina in a company of talented ballerinas who are ready to step into the role!

As Haglund pointed out, her problems don't end at the fouettes. Many aspects of her dancing are just plain weak. That the NYT accepts Misty's thought-injuries as an excuse without blinking makes me want to pull all my hair out.

It pains me to see the dumbing of our art.

yukionna,

LOL -- "thought-injuries"

Ugh today Misty posted a comment on the YouTube video and also her rabid fans are going nuts that people criticized the video. The idiocy of some of the comments make me sad for this art form.

She apparently thinks people who actually pay for their tickets and know something about ballet are going to support her if she swings a minor mea culpa their way.

Misty's entire initial propaganda effort was based on her claims that she's always been as good as everyone else but has been denied roles because she's black-ish. Well, lo & behold, after years of trying, it is quite clear that she is not as good and never has been as good and has never even put in an effort equal to what the other ballerinas have. Meanwhile other better ballerinas sit on their hands waiting behind Misty for a chance to dance.

She clarifies her message more and more to communicate that people shouldn't expect as much from her because she's "a black woman and all". How many times does she bring that up as an excuse.

Her pathetic message is clear:

I can't do fouettes (being a black woman and all); I can't be honest about myself (being a black woman and all); I can't be honest about my whining and demands and pushiness of my agent to grab my roles (being a black woman and all); I can't be honest about my agent pushing me in front of every other better ballerina at ABT (being a black woman and all); I can't be honest about anything (being a black woman and all). It's disgusting how she blames her shortcomings on being a black woman and all. The black community doesn't seem to recognize how she's using them. And then she turns around and feeds ABT a new head shot in which she has clearly tried to whiten her complexion. It's disgusting. She is fake from head to toe.


Her comment is on her Instagram as well. She claims therein that she has no say over which roles in which she is cast. That's suspect. Even if that were true (which it absolutely is not at ABT), she could tell Kevin "I clearly cannot perform this role", but her ego does not permit her to do that, and so she falls back on "I'm a black white swan, and everyone should be content with that, whether or not I execute the role of the white (or black) swan in a manner befitting a principal dancer at a major ballet company."

True, Rachel Perez. And the Misty ticket giveaway continues just as strongly as always.

Here's a picture of the orchestra level seat availability of her Don Q shortly after single ticket sales opened on Sunday. Apparently, Misty's fans buy tickets to ensure perfect symmetry within the house. Wherever six tickets are purchased on one side, another six tickets are purchased in the exact same place on the other side. Sorry folks, but authentic ticket sales don't happen this way:

Fake sales - Met

What next? Is Misty going to claim that she doesn't know what her agent and sponsor are doing behind her back to push her celebrity forward and push her in front of other ballerinas who are better dancers? Maybe Gilda and Valentino should climb up on stage and do the steps for her. My guess is that either of them could do a better manege of piques.

Yes, to the above

But what I really don't get is why they just don't create some GOOD choreography for her to do during that section that she can actually do. Something with jumps or something that goes with the music. Because it's embarrassing to have her do that climactic section so poorly.

Rachel, I don't think they should dumb down the choreography for her simply because she cannot rise up to the universal standard. She's not some 50-year-old Plisetskaya who had an actual stellar career and earned the right at a very advanced age to back off of some of the tricks.

If ABT had an ounce of integrity, they would pull Copeland from Swan Lake and Don Q. Copeland's fakery is not going to Make ABT Great Again.

By the by, in addition to the point raised by Haglund above, a lot of these filled seats in the center orchestra are due to subscribers who just choose days of the week, rather than build their own subscription. I suspect many of these patrons will exchange their seats for other casts of this and other productions.

And agree Rachel! She’s a great dancer, she’s just not suited to the roles she is dancing at ABT.

Of course I agree with you 100% on that front. But since that's not going to happen - at least they should try to make it watchable.

Furthermore, somewhere in the world there have to be many black ballerinas who can execute these roles - and IMO they should invite them to come guest instead of her, and have her use her platform to promote THAT.

(Not to mention - can you imagine the press backlash if they pulled her? Her press machine would spin faster than she can.

True, Rachel.

I can just hear it, "Hello, ABC, CBS, NBC, Gia? They pulled me out of Swan Lake and Don Q because -- of all stupid reasons -- I couldn't do the steps (being a black woman and all)."

Haglund,

I've replied to one of your posts back in 2017 and your response was very thought-provoking ( I was the former african-american ballet dancer who asked about NYT ).

I saw this video as well and just...wow. I remember when I started learning how to do fouettes, they are not easy but if she is that sloppy it seem like she does not have enough momentum, so either she's not plié-ing enough or most likely something is off with her core.For those who have not ever attempted a fouette, these turns requires a strong core and back muscles (to keep one center) along with strong legs (to give you the momentum to push you around) and ankles (to get back up on the box correctly). You also won't travel so much if your core/back is rock solid and proportional (i.e you don't tend to favor one side). I wish this video was a fluke but I know it's not.

And for Rachel's request, if you want to find really good African American female dancers, you have Precious Adams,Michaela de Prince(who is also recovering from injury but her technique is still flawless), Ashley Murphy, Ebony Williams. I started researching other dancers after reading through Haglund's posts.

There is racism/discrimination in ballet that should be undisputed. However, I haven't been able to support Misty anymore since last year because if you want to be the poster child for the cause, be one of the best. I don't always agree with what you say Haglund but thanks again for providing so much insight.

TAE, thanks for your comment.

I don't know of a respected ballet teacher who only requires students to learn how to do fouettes to the right. They are always practiced to the left as are pirouettes, piques, stepovers, arabesques, jumps. When students take the practice seriously, it pays off when they get to the stage and find themselves in an unexpected predicament. I recall such a situation in which Stella Abrera seemed to have done something to her left foot on a jumping exit as Gamzatti (in Washington DC, I believe). She had to shortly thereafter come back out on stage to do fouettes. She chose to do them to the left on the right supporting foot! They were not as clean as what we normally would see from her on the right side, but she had the technique, discipline, and confidence to come out and do them to the left. If Misty's leg/foot/whatever hurts to do them to the right, why hasn't she mastered them to the left? That is the sort of effort that would make her an honest role model, not her whining and excuses.

Exactly, when I was learning to turn on pointe I had to learn how to turn both ways. On flat shoes, I'm a natural right turner but lo and behold on pointe, I actually favored turning left so after some time on both flat and pointe, I had redeveloped my muscles for both. And for fouettes, I would tend to turn left because my right ankle is slightly stronger but I learned how to do them on the right.

TAE, I had a similar experience with pirouettes. I was a right turner, but my left turns were much more academically well-placed with a more turned out working leg and always enjoyed more of a sustained balance than turns to the right. I would love to see someone, perhaps Gillian Murphy, arrive on stage and bang out 32 to the left and kind of start setting a new universal standard that ballerinas really have to do them to both sides.

TAE - yes! Ebony Williams has long been a favorite dancer of mine. An while not 100% perfect near the end, see Michaela doing a very respectable job in the DonQ fouettes starting around 9:29 in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znoG4XnCv_E from a gala back in 2013. I believe she would have been only 18 at the time.

I am certain there are many more who haven't had the mainstream opportunities, yet. I suspect that there are a few dancers at Alvin Ailey, DTH, and other companies that could do these roles if they had opportunities.

LOL I loved Boylston's response on Misty's IG post "If you only want to see fouettes you should stay home and watch them on Youtube." No honey, if people want to see tricks and zero artistry and grace, they should just attend your shows instead.
Misty is obviously milking the SJW and racism theme.
I feel bad for ABT dancers who feel the need to like and comment. I also can't help but chuckle at Kathryn Morgan's comment. "You are doing so much for so many people", yes, such as preventing them from getting opportunities they deserve. Also, "People can be so cruel and they have no idea." It's a visual art, Katie. If you don't want people to "judge" you then maybe choose a profession where success is reflected objectively (I suggest something like physics or statistics). She's right, though, in that some people truly "have no idea." Those people would be Misty's fans who think she can do no wrong.
One last thing, I love when Misty stans comment saying "If you can't do 32 fouettes, then you can't criticize or comment." Oh, you just told your own idol she can criticize or comment on anything.

If you can't cook anything decent at home, you have no right to complain if the chef serves you burnt roast potatoes to go with a chewy, stringy steak. Or just sew it better yourself if your newly bought high fashion dress disintegrates. Never quite understood this line of argument!

Funnily enough Katie Morgan interviewed her mother in her podcast and they specifically said something along the lines of dancers who can’t do the 32 fouettés shouldn’t expect to get cast in Swan Lake. I guess Misty gets some kind of permission slip from that rule.

It's good that Misty and her handlers understand that this is a serious problem - indicative of technical deficiencies that she has been covering up for years -- and have embarked on an emergency media blitz to try to turn it around in her favor.

Anyone who might be impressed with how Dance Magazine or Pointe Magazine jumped onto Misty's defense today should know that both periodicals are owned by the same publisher DanceMedia which is owned by Frederic Seegal who used to be the President of ABT's Board. You're not going to get any objective or critical writing about Misty Copeland from anyone associated with the five magazines owned by Dance Media (Dance Mag, Pointe Mag, Dance Spirit, Dance Teacher, Dance Retailer). They all function as part of her spin machine.

Basically, she's been exposed for what she is on stage -- which is not good enough to be dancing the lead in Swan Lake for America's national ballet company. If she repeats this performance twice this Met Season in Swan Lake and twice in Don Q, it could possibly negatively impact her relationship and dealings with Disney on the eve of the release of its new Nutcracker film. So, there could be a lot at stake.

If I were her, I'd be practicing my fouettes to the right and left instead of whining and whimpering about how unfair the criticism of her is. I, for one, would welcome the opportunity to cheer Misty if she'd buck-up and do the job. All the early promise seems to have been destroyed by the relentless chase for celebrity which is obviously more important to her than ballet.

The comments of support on Pointe Magazine’s Facebook read like the world’s biggest pitty party. Excuses for days. Like everyone has mentioned before, this in not a one time thing. She’s never been able to do all the steps required of any role. Good luck this Met season, she’s going to need it.

Pitty party, indeed.

Look at this example of "Sponsored Stories" i.e. Misty's team buying media to try to spin her out of trouble: https://hellogiggles.com/news/misty-copeland-clapback-failed-swan-lake/ Scroll down to the bottom where it says in bold print Sponsored Stories which = FAKE NEWS.

I doubt anything is gonna change. Only the people who care about ballet care about this. Most her fans care about Misty, not ballet as an art form. The dance publications certainly do not care. Never mind that she’s a spokesperson for an athletic apparel brand when she can’t perform the basic technical requirements of what is arguably the most famous role in all of ballet.

True, yukionna. It is sad, though, that it seems that she'll go as low as she has to go to make excuses in front of mostly people who never buy tickets anyway. Meanwhile, the real artists who can do the steps in both Swan Lake and Don Q are sitting on their hands waiting to dance.

What next? Is her team going to hire Sarah Huckabee Sanders to stand there with a straight face and tell us how brilliant Misty dances: the wonderful hopping, stumbling, travelling, off the music, truncated fouettes; the gleaming pique turns with dragging leg; those exciting moments of is-that-arabesque-or-attitude?

It's important to keep saying that this performance was not an aberration.

Edited to add: the same "Sponsored Story" has just shown up on Glamour's website with the notation SPONSORED STORIES. I wonder how much Misty's team is spending on this effort?

It took me less time to scroll through and read all these comments than it took to buy my sarah lane Giselle tix. That website is a joke....on the bright side, I saved some money because I didn't have the patience to keep clicking "more info" buttons to see who was performing in other ballets.
On the subject of fouettes, how often does an opera singer at the met get to change an aria because the notes aren't attainable?

I find it astonishing that, after all these years of publicity, hype, soft-core calendars, newspaper puff pieces and adoring teenage fans, Copeland remains so deeply insecure about herself, her lack of skills, and her place in the ballet world that she felt it necessary to post a response to a Youtube video. Youtube, for crying out loud! It's all so utterly juvenile. Her manager & sponsor may influence what the news media reports about her, but the video footage is not doctored and doesn't lie. She should toughen up and just ignore it or simply deal with it and learn to do the steps.

annisette, good point. But ABT's alteration of choreography to account for Misty's deficiencies can be traced all the way back to when she was in the corps and just beginning to get demi-soloist roles.

I would gladly muddle through that incoherent website to purchase tickets to a Sarah Lane Swan Lake and a couple of Don Qs with Skylar Brandt and Cassie Trenary as Kitris. These are the performances that we should be seeing this year, not a failing Misty.

LLF, ITA. I really don't believe for a minute that Misty can't learn to do 32 fouettes properly. She may not want to go through the humiliation of working on them in front of peers who can already do them well. She may not want to alter her habits which are keeping her from succeeding. Who knows. She needs to try harder, and she needs to get this problem behind her and stop relying on excuses.

I agree with Annisette. I can't imagine a soprano with a major company getting opportunities if she consistently misses C6+ notes. A cracked note once in a while I can forgive, our vocal cords get fatigued after all (I sure know that). But if it's something that becomes "normal", I imagine they'd be replaced in a heartbeat.
***Waiting for Isabella Boylston to jump in and say "If you just want to hear 6th octave notes, stay at home and listen to them on a CD sitting on your couch."

Allisa, all true. And you know that opera fans are far tougher on singers than ballet fans are on dancers. Venture over to OPERA-L sometime to see how high their expectations are and how incensed they become when a singer fails to meet them.

I used to sit in the Family Circle sides at the Met where Juilliard voice students would gather to critique the performances at intermissions. To hear them rip a soprano's performance to shreds in all seriousness because she over-articulated and held notes too long was eye-opening for me as far as opera standards were concerned.

Why does Misty even bother with the fouettés? She was never able to do them. And more importantly, why does she keep getting roles that require the fouettés? She will always get grief for not being able to execute the steps. Her technical deficiencies would be a lot less noticeable if McKenzie was smarter with casting. Misty does have talent; I loved her in Firebird, and her Juliet wasn’t half bad. Not everyone has to dance everything. Plisetskaya never danced Giselle. Misty didn’t have to dance Odette/Odile.

Inessa, good questions.

The YouTube video had ~700 views before she posted it. I guess she browses here or other ballet forums?

Hi all, I’d like to first say that, as someone who was raised by and around black women and ballerinas, they never constantly state that they’re black women or black ballerinas. Every time I hear MC say “I’m a black woman”, I ask myself: Who is she trying to convince more - her audience or herself? I think she’s severely confused about her true cultural identity. I agree w/ Rachel P about her just declining the offer to dance the role if she can’t do the steps. Then, she frequently refers to these women whose shoulders she is standing on, but never says their names! She’ll occasionally reference Raven Wilkinson, Virginia Johnson, or Lauren Anderson (who, btw, shamelessly lets the media and the Smithsonian spread the lie that she was America’s first ever black principal ballerina in a predominantly white major company). But I have yet to hear MC utter the names Anne Benna-Sims or Nora Kimball (both former soloists w/ ABT); or Desmond Richardson, who became ABT’s first black principal dancer in 1997; or Debra Austin (America’s true first black principal ballerina for a major company & NYCB’s first ever black ballerina); or Tai Jimenez (former principal w/ Boston Ballet and DTH); And if there’s one (black) ballerina who can effortlessly execute these steps and just about any female role in the Balanchine rep right now, I’d say it’s Myrna Kamara. She’s from NYCB, was a principal w/ Miami City Ballet and Bejart Ballet, and has quite an impressive resume: http://www.myrnakamara.com/performances.html -and now she guests as a principal globally. None of these dancers ever made their race an issue. They’re true artists who just danced. I imagine MC doesn’t acknowledge all these dancers- especially the 3 other black women that were principals long before she came along (Debra, Myrna, & Tai)- because she and her team know that the unstable foundation they’ve built their house of lies on would come tumbling down. People around the world actually believe she’s “the first ever” and it couldn’t be further from the truth! Thanks to things like bad journalism and that terribly inaccurate intro and “Curtain Call” at the end of her documentary. Her fans would be shocked if they understood just how minor and sensationalized her place in ballet history really is (not to mention how she obtained it). ABT made history when they chose to promote her. That’s it. She didn’t make history anywhere else. Thank you Haglund for giving a fellow passionate, frustrated balletomane a place to vent and get some peace of mind. Reading her post today and the comments supporting her was vomit-inducing.

I was shocked at the video footage of the fouettes and pique turns. That's the quality one might expect in adult ballet class, but I've seen even relative beginners do much better pique turns. But this from a principal dancer in Swan Lake in a leading company?

When is ABT going to have some integrity concerning casting and management? It's not fair to the capable dancers or the ballet-loving audience. I'll cherish my memories of the truly great O/O.

JustDance & Georgiann,

Thank you for your comments.

I assume that Misty Copeland doesn't like to talk about Myrna Kamara, Debra Austin, or Tai Jimenez because they all stand in the way of her ignorant claim that NYCB's School of American Ballet rejected her because of her skin color.

She doesn't want to talk about Nora Kimball or Anne Benna-Sims because they get in the way of her initial lie of being ABT's first female black soloist.

It doesn't matter to her who she steps all over to get the publicity that she wants. That's quite a lesson for a self-ordained "role model" to teach children.

Misty is a beautiful woman. I love her body. I think it looks very lovely in the White Swan costume and I appreciate the fact that she has bigger breasts than the average ballerina. But it's clear from many, many performances that she does not have the technical or ATHLETIC chops to perform some of these roles. She says that her artistry should be enough. Should we send US skaters to the Olympics who can move their arms beautifully but cannot land jumps? This denigrates the sport. And ballet is a sport, no matter what she wants to claim. Yes it is an art, but it an art with standards and requirements.

If I was Courtney Lavine I would be livid for many reasons.

So Misty debuted in Swan Lake way back in 2014 in Australia. It is now 2018, and she still cannot do the fouette sequence. While driving the other day I thought of this as an alternative to the 32 fouettes. For the 1st half of the music how about 3 single piques (and 1 and 2 and 3) and then double on 4 for 3 full sets and on the fourth set only do 2 single piques then soutenu followed by a temps through 4th en arriere to prepare tendu devant. Then for the 2nd half of the music do 7 1/2 Italian fouettes. The last one stops with the develope in second so that she could triumphantly plie sous sus to finish the dang thing. Just a thought I had while driving.

macellisondance,

But for the double piques and the 7-1/2 Italian fouettes, I'll bet she could master it. Seriously, I see no point whatsoever in this day and age to allow anyone to bow out of doing the 32 fouettes, even if it means that she has to fail and fail and fail and fail. It's 2018. There are plenty of dancers around who can do them. The 32 fouettes are not the trick they used to be back in "the dark ages" when Cynthia Gregory had them for breakfast. The reason Misty can't do them is that there are no consequences for not doing them. Nobody is taking the role away; in fact, she's constantly being rewarded with new roles. AND she gets publicity when she fails -- publicity is publicity. She doesn't care what people are saying just so long as they are constantly talking about her. If there are no consequences for doing badly, what's the point of her trying to do well? Her priority is celebrity not ballet. The failure is working well for her. Unfortunately, it just makes the rest of us want to vomit.

The Copeland PR machine is now kicking into high gear. I see The Daily Mail UK is commenting, requesting permission to use the video clip (it was plastered all over by Cosmopolitan Et.Al without requests).

This video only had about 600 to 700 views tops before Copeland turned it into a self humiliation scandal so she could continue to claim racism. Except no one who originally commented mentioned anything about her skin color but only the fact that she can't do the steps. Required steps that even under 11s can do and do dance at international competitions. The woman has no shame. She knows no one will do the research regarding her past failures or read up on ballet history (her bulldozing the achievement of Stephanie Dabney's Firebird still angers me). Heck people only have to click on Youtube recommendations to see everyone and their mother doing Black Swan fouettes. Everyone except Copeland.

She will fluff up again and again this season at the MET and everyone will pat her on the back and say "Poor Misty, Poor sufferer of Ballet racism."

I think she screwed herself responding to this at all. I know what her motive was - she wanted to try to spin the story as a woe-is-me, people are bullying type thing. But now it shines a very intense light on her performances at the Met this spring - both in Swan Lake and Don Q. People are going to be looking directly at those fouettes way more now than they ever would have. Even her blind supporters will be watching. And if (and when) she fails at them again, it will be a real blow to her image. She should have ignored this clip because now the fouettes are all anyone will be watching for. Good job, Misty!

I had been more neutral about Misty than some. I don't like her dancing, but she is hardly the only ABT ballerina I avoid seeing. And I understand that she is not responsible for the actions of her fans or her artistic director. But her pathetic response to this video and the media's enabling of her whinging is just too much. I guess I'm officially a hater. Pointe / Dance Magazine - it's not an "off day" when she has NEVER BEEN ABLE TO DO THEM! Also it's pretty funny that she tries to defend herself with "The point is to finish the 3rd act with a whirlwind movement that sucks him in just one last time before it’s revealed that Odile is not Odette." since her manege of pique turns ALSO SUCKED.

I just am perplexed. Why the half-menage? She couldn't even go around the entire stage? It looks so half-assed. And why are her passes not connecting in those pique turns? Or is she doing some kind of pique turn with the leg back in low attitude? It makes her look exhausted. Why can't her coaches come up with something better than a this sloppy ending?

Agree about the sloppy piques, Gerry. The big question is why can't ANYONE AT ABT teach Misty how to do fouettes? And why doesn't she post a daily clip on her instagram showing how effing hard she's trying to learn how to do them? The answer is probably that she's not trying and nobody at ABT gives a hoot. So if she is not willing to try, should she get a pass and backup choreography that is easier for her? I think not.

Courtney Lavine is born to dance O/O. I remember seeing her at SAB at age 15 - gorgeous!

There's also this notion that keeps getting brought up: that the fouettes aren't that important. The thing is that this only really holds true if the ballerina conquers the fouettes. When executed successfully, then yes, the performance doesn't hang and the fouettes, and becomes about the artistry instead. The fouettes represent Odette sealing the deal. The audience buys into the story beccause we were swept up along with Siegfried. We understand why he gets fooled into betraying Odette.

But when the ballerina fails, all of the dramatic buildup in the third act gets deflated. The creature onstage is now just some wannabe who failed to complete her seduction. When the fouettes are ugly or not completed, the audience is somehow supposed to believe that Siegfried found this attractive? There is a limit to how much I can suspend my disbelief.

The only way for fouettes to not become a big issue is for the ballerina to conquer them with grace and aplomb.

True, yukionna. Nothing about Copeland's sequence conveyed the type of virtuosity that Odile needs in order to pull off the fraud with Siegfried. The fouettes were a fail, the piques were sloppy and lethargic, the last couple of chaines were elementary and ended with a single tentative stepover, even the arabesque chugs were meh. The performance was not an aberration. She's never had the technique that the job requires.

What good are the over-muscly legs which distort Copeland's line if they won't pump out required releves on the right or left? How much money has Copeland made by promoting herself as the epitome of a healthy ballet dancer because of her muscly physique? What good are the muscles except for show and a bunch of soft porn photos?

And now, Copeland is referring to herself as being "humble"?! Yeah, sure – humble like a Kardashian. If there is anybody who should know how to pull off a fraud the size of Odile's, it's Copeland.

McKenzie should put her back into the Swan Lake Pas de Trois for both of her scheduled performances and let a ballerina who can do the job have the opportunity to dance the lead. If it was okay for McKenzie to put Sarah Lane back into the Pas de Trois, it should be okay for him to do it to Copeland.

I read the DM article and tried to look up one of the Twitter accounts of one of her critics, the one that Misty put on her Instagram account. It was gone. I think she got scared off by Misty's mob. Clearly that was the reason she put the tweet on her Instagram account.

I do think that person ("Miss Hokie") misspoke when she charged that "the rest of the world thinks American ballet is a joke." Only American Ballet Theatre, ma'am. The rest of the ballet world knows the worth of NYCB.

Diana, that's an interesting point about Misty's mob. A few years ago, she planted a link to an H.H. post she didn't like on her FB and Twitter accounts and her followers commented in reference to Haglund, "Let's stone him." and "We'll burn him."

Some of her social media fans at that time such as Switchblade Sue and Where my pistol, possibly purchased followers or not, chimed in with language that one could interpret as gang-like.

There's no question what Copeland and her agent are trying to do--intimidate anyone who criticizes Copeland's dancing or her bogus claims. There is a lot of pent up frustration with her and with ABT for continually promoting her in roles in which she is unqualified while other capable dancers have to sit out and watch her fail. Again, it's not just the fouettes and it's not just Swan Lake.

Bye the bye, you better believe the lovely Lauren Anderson could do the fouettes (here in DonQ): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQXaxSw5Pw0 (about 6:22 into the video).

Yes, she certainly could. AND there is a lot more virtuosity required in Don Q than Swan Lake. As even Ratmansky has said, if a dancer doesn't have virtuosity, she should stay away from Don Q. It would be nice to see a fresh Skylar Brandt, who actually does have all the required virtuosity, take on Don Q this spring. Ditto for Cassie Trenary. There simply is no legitimate excuse for casting Copeland as Kitri.

Copeland ?

Why even bother commenting on this pathetic mediocrity? Even if I got a free ticket to one of her "performances" - I would give it away . ABT- where are the stars ? Schlocky versions vaguely after Petipa : "Swan Lake", "Le Corsaire", "La Bayadere" Nobodies such as Whiteside , Lendorf - and dancers at the end of their careers - Murphy ,Cornejo, Bolle , and past their prime - Abrera . It has sunk to a provincial level , thanks to McKenzie.....Looking forward only to the Ratmansky reconstruction and the delightful "Whipped Cream "

I didn't mean to imply that Misti was calling for actual violence - but she certainly knows the Twitter mob game. She has linked to this offending tweet on her FB page & twice on Instagram. She was obviously horribly shaken by this one tweet from some nobody. The tweet is now gone as is the account of the tweeter. This virtually always happens when a tweeter has been twitter-mobbed.

Her entire career at this point is based on guilt-tripping and emotional blackmail. Her promotion *was* a milestone and if she had taken it humbly, with dedication to improve as a dancer (within her limits) it would have been a great thing. But she went completely in the opposite direction.

Very sad.

Well, when she let her social media followers write on her own account that they were going burn and stone someone on her behalf, what does that convey? She doesn't need to advocate violence in order to move the matter in that direction. She and her agent know exactly what they are doing. And Disney should take a hard look at it.

Sounds like the delusional crazies that follow Beyoncé. Keep on keeping in, Haglund. We love your opinions!

I'm seeing more people (including some Misty supporters) in recent comments on YouTube write that she has never done the fouettes. I've even seen one user write something along the lines of "I've tried searching for evidence that she's done them, but couldn't find any." So hope is not lost.

Since Misty made the video go viral, more and more people will see these comments. More people will see the facts. It's also the first thing to appear when you search "Misty Copeland Swan Lake". It seems her PR team's move is starting to backfire.

yukionna,

Clearly, people are fed up with her.

I would imagine that ABT is now trying to figure out how they can dumb-down Murphy's, Teuscher's, and Shevchenko's S.L. fouettes to help Copeland "rise" to the occasion the way they dumbed down other dancers' Giselle Act I variations for her last year. Maybe ballet is close to its baseball moment in history when dancers are paid to throw the game, so to speak. [Enter the rich sponsor.]

Royal Ballet Principal Dancer Francesca Haywood is another woman of African descent who, like Michaela de Prince et.al can execute multiple fouettes. MC, Kevin MacKenzie and the ABT Board have no excuse whatsover!

I'm still mad about this clip! Rose wrote, "She should have ignored this clip because now the fouettes are all anyone will be watching for." I agree. If she'd let it sink out of sight she'd be better off because now her fouettes will always be in the spotlight. My guess is that she saw her chance to reshape the narrative to Artistry trumps Technique. As principal at ABT she should have complete mastery of both! She knows by now she'll never be able to do them in the stress of the ballet performance. So this is her chance to head off all future criticisms of her technique and fouettes.

I have no doubt that a dear friend of hers will soon post a (hopefully unedited) clip of her doing 32 in the studio to "prove" she can do them. It's different by Act III, but her fans won't understand that studio doesn't equal performance. I hope that all the practice involved in creating this studio clip improves her spinning abilities.

elfantgirl, I agree with you that she was trying to reshape the narrative to Artistry trumps Technique. But as one of the commenters on the Daily Mail followup article said: Artistry is what sets apart technically masterful artists from EACH OTHER. It's not something that supplants technical expertise.

[ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-5567331/Misty-Copeland-doubles-response-slammed-Swan-Lake-performance.html#reader-comments ]

Misty and her agent have now purchased a support story on Page Six of the NY Post, clearly labeled as a "sponsored story" which is another term for paid ad or paid-for story. No surprise that the content crossed the editorial/advertising line to try to imply that the newspaper itself was supporting her. Misty and her agent must be spending a bundle in trying to spin this, but everything is backfiring.

Maybe all of this hoopla is exactly the pressure that she needs in order to get up off of her lazy "money-maker" and practice her fouettes and everything else she needs to improve in order to be considered a legitimate principal. The only thing preventing Misty from doing the fouettes is Misty's attitude toward the work that needs to be done in order to achieve them.

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