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September 05, 2013


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Tiler Peck...who else? She can do anything. Did you see the videos on Youtube of her at Vail? Unreal.

Well...I might not believe her as The Siren....but almost anything else.

I'd love to see her Giselle.

Hi Diana. I'm going to pony-up a KC membership just to insure that I can buy an early ticket for next October.

I'm surprised to hear that Tyler Peck will be doing Broadway. I know she has a history as a child actress and in interviews, has indicated that she might be interested in returning to acting.

But the impression I got was that this would occur only after she was too old to dance ballet.

I'm new to this art form and very ignorant about many things in the world of classical dance. But despite my efforts to see otherwise, I have come to agree with Darren Aronofsky's observation that this world is too insular.

When I eavesdrop on the comments of balletomanes, I get the distinct impression that they see other genres of dance as vastly inferior art forms that attract only those people not good enough to make it in ballet.

In one discussion at a ballet interest web site, they were discussing cutbacks of dancers at prominent ballet companies. One individual remarked that he had a female ballet dancer friend who had been cut from her company but had found employment as a dance captain on a Broadway show.

He implied that she had gone from being a hard-working ballet dancer to what amounted to a better paid hack doing a job that barely required her to break a sweat.

If this is how many hardcore ballet lovers see other forms of dance, wouldn't Peck taking that job be seen as a massive step down?

Can ballet in America afford to put on such airs?


Tiler indicated in comments to the Wash Post that she, Peter Martins, and Susan Stroman had worked out a sharing agreement that will allow Tiler to concurrently work on the musical and her regular job at NYCB for the KC run. What will happen if the production makes it to Broadway or Lincoln Center is unknown or hasn't been made known.

Having the title role in a Broadway-like musical is not the same as being a Broadway dance captain. I don't see it as any type of a step down for Tiler.

Whether it seems fair and equitable or not, professional ballet is the dance form that requires more elite physical skills and ascribes to more defined technical and artistic standards than either modern dance or Broadway dance. Both of the latter liberally borrow vocabulary from ballet but rarely borrow the standards which is why you hear what you hear in those eavesdropped comments. Unquestionably, modern and Broadway choreographers prefer performers who have acquired classical technique over those who have none at all.

It may seem to those less familiar with the art form that ballet is putting on airs as you say, but elite ballet dancers are like elite athletes who get paid to serve the ball in the corner of the court at 130mph or pitch to the outside corner of the plate with skilled reliability. Being at an elite skill level in a classical art form or appreciating those who are at an elite skill level is not the same as being elitist, as some might like to argue. Ballet dancers need to be able to create certain visual shapes and move in defined ways just like opera singers need to be able to hit certain notes and apply vocal technique.

Haglund and PCL,

I agree with PCL that ballet is insular, although the particular anecdote cited may not prove the point.

When I was a kid, before I knew anything about ballet, my mother mentioned George Balanchine in I don't remember what context. She knew nothing about ballet - but she remembered his water ballet for Zorina in a movie she saw. A short google search showed that it was Goldwyn Follies 1938 - the sort of pop entertainment everyone saw in those days. Of course, Jerome Robbins was the great B'way choreographer, before he came to NYCB. And so on. If you check out the movie Ballet Russes, the stories of ballet dancers gigging in the hinterlands and taking jobs on Bway and Hollywood are commonplace. (Remember the silent film with Balanchine at 29??)

In short, the institutionalization of ballet has placed this bright red line between BALLET and the rest.

I don't think this is necessarily bad, it just is.

Another example is how pathetically grateful ballet people are when Hollywood deigns to pay attention to them, even thought the portrayals are invariably nasty. RED SHOES, TURNING POINT and BLACK SWAN are all about the ballerina as martyr, surrounded by similar freaks. (I didn't see CENTER STAGE, and I've mercifully forgotten Baryshnikov's execrable DANCERS.)

This gratefulness strikes me as evidence of insularity - "oh, the real world is noticing me, thank you!"

My two cents.


PCL - rent Ballet Russes or take it out of the library. You'll see what I mean. It was very common pre-and post-WWII for top ballet stars to work in the movies and in the West End, or Bway. That's so in the English-speaking world, I don't know about other countries.

PS I do think that Martins is being very generous with this agreement. I *hate* to say this because I'm a superstitious old bat, but there is always a chance of injury in dance, and Terpsichore forbid anyone get injured while on an extracurricular gig.

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