Please read here on how to use images on RoyalDish. - Please read the RoyalDish message on board purpose and rules.
Images containing full nudity or sexual activities are strongly forbidden on RoyalDish.


Pages: [1] 2   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Ballett  (Read 1230 times)
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Hermione

Big Member
*******

Reputation: 348

Offline Offline

Posts: 2016





Ignore
« on: March 23, 2017, 06:48:05 PM »

Hi all

I have recently been very much into ballett. I used to dance ballett myself when I was younger, quite intensely actually, but I was never that good to pursue a career. My dream is to start doing it again, I know there are ballett courses for adults who are not perfect and do this for fun. I have always enjoyed dancing to classical musique and I found the ballett workout very good for posture and just the whole body. Just wish my job would be less hectic and allow me to leave the office on time.

Anyway, I am following some American ballerinas (New York City Ballet and American Ballett Theatre) on Instagram and this world is quite fascinating. I have a lot of respect for professional dancers, it's amazing what they can do with their bodies. I wish I had that kind of discipline.

Now seeing the Nutcracker in NY around Christmas is on my bucket list!

There are a few things I was wondering and maybe someone has any insights (I know we once had a ballerina here posting):

What does it mean if someone's performance with a company are "sponsored by xy"?

Promotion / ranks: My impression is that principal dancers spend about 4 years in the corps de ballet, then get promoted to soloist and then rather quickly to principal. However, there are also dancers that have been soloists for many many years and don't get promoted to principal. Why is that?

Who dances when: When a big ballet is on, the Sleeping Beauty for example, why do dancers only do two shows of the whole run? Is it because it is so demanding or because there are so many dancers and everyone should get their shot?

Engagements outside the Company: Many dancers (principals) participate in other dance projects. Is this something they do in their spare time or do the ballett companies readily give their principals away for other projects because there are never enough roles for everyone?


That's all  Halo

Logged
Shreeky

Small Member
****

Reputation: 138

Offline Offline

Posts: 630





Ignore
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2017, 07:21:39 PM »

I also have some interest in ballet- since I was a child I liked classical music. And after I saw a movie Black Swan with Natalie Portman I was totally into ballet & ballet style workouts (damn, I even bought a portable ballet barre to exercise Secret ). I even saw a few full lenght ballets on youtube.  I wish I could go to Italy and see one at La Scala!
All my insight about ballet comes from internet, here is what I find about the ranks:
From wikipedia
...depending on the source, the rankings for women?from highest to lowest?used to be:

Prima ballerina assoluta (Italy)
Prima ballerina, premier sujet or premi?re danseuse
Sujet
Coryph?e
Corps de ballet

Today ballet companies continue to rank their dancers in hierarchical fashion, although most have adopted a sex neutral classification system, and very few recognise a single leading dancer above all other company members. In most large companies, there are usually several leading dancers of each sex, titled principal dancer or ?toile to reflect their seniority, and more often, their status within the company. The most common rankings (in English) are:

Principal Dancer
Soloist (or First Soloist)
Demi-Soloist (or Second Soloist)
Corps de Ballet
Apprentice
The title of prima ballerina assoluta is rarely used, and it is usually reserved as a mark of respect for an internationally renowned dancer who has had a highly notable career.

Don't know if you are following  Kathryn Morgan ( ballet dancer and former soloist with the NYCB), buy here's her yt channel https://www.youtube.com/user/Tutugirlkem
And also, have you thought about taking barre classes or doing barre workouts at home?
BTW I highly recommend you these two documents about ballet:
A Beautiful Tragedy - Complete - Ballet Documentary - With English Subtitles https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRV_opHbxcE
Ballerina - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oE8IFJVK-Q
Logged
Hermione

Big Member
*******

Reputation: 348

Offline Offline

Posts: 2016





Ignore
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2017, 07:41:33 PM »

Shreeky  Star

Thank you for the links !!

I wish I had a work out room at home (or simply enough space) where I could put up a barre and mirror and do excercises in private (to begin with and to get somewhat back in shape). 
Logged
Shreeky

Small Member
****

Reputation: 138

Offline Offline

Posts: 630





Ignore
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2017, 08:49:23 PM »

Thanks and  Star  back to you Hermione !Great thread idea!
Logged
bumbershoot

Warned
Gigantic Member
*********

Reputation: 689

Offline Offline

United States United States

Posts: 3205





Ignore
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2017, 11:43:29 PM »

``Sponsored by" generally means that this person's salary is paid for by a philanthropic benefactor. A number of the principal dancers with San Francisco Ballet are sponsored. And of course it's a big honor to be a dancer that a philanthropist has chosen to sponsor.

In my opinion, the term ``ballerina'' is thrown around way too loosely. I would never apply it to anyone other than a principal dancer, which is the top rank here with SF Ballet.  The term ``prima ballerina assoluta'' has been given to very few dancers in history, I think no more than a dozen. It is a great honor.  As far as I know, no American dancer has ever been honored with that title, although Natalia Makarova, who is a prima assoluta, did dance with American Ballet Theatre during part of her career.

As far as promotions are concerned, in some companies, there is a very rigid process, and sometimes a dancer cannot be promoted until there is a vacancy in the rank ahead of her. Presently Mathilde Froustey dances with SF Ballet as a principal dancer. She left Paris Opera Ballet, which has such a rigid system, because she was passed over for etoile status. Here she has received the recognition she so richly deserves.

In other companies, promotion can come as the result of a steller performance. Jennifer Stahl, who was just promoted to principal status at SF Ballet, was Cinder-elevated to soloist from the corps de ballet on the strength of her beyond-fabulous performance as the victim in Yuri Possokhov's re-staging of ``Rite of Spring'' several years ago. If she had been with Paris Opera Ballet, she would never have been given that role in the first place as long as she was in the corps, much less promoted.

My advice for someone passionate about ballet is to attend as many performances and watch as much ballet online as possible. There is a huge wealth of ballet videos available on YouTube, ranging from full-length performances to tiny snips of historic performances back in the infancy of movie film.  You can even see the great Anna Pavlova dance her signature ``Dying Swan.''

For my money, these are the companies whose performances you will want to attend if at all possible:

San Francisco Ballet (the company does tour, and, hey, I live in the Bay Area so this is my favorite company)
New York City Ballet (Balanchine's company).
American Ballet Theatre (which does the great romantic ballets better than almost any other companies).
Joffrey Ballet (this company has done some amazing restaging of ballets that had been lost to history)
Royal Ballet (this is the U.K.'s national comany, with a fabulous repertoire, and many outstanding dancers).
Paris Opera Ballet (Nureyev headed this company for a while, and his choreography is still used on some ballets)
Marinsky Ballet (this company, based in St. Petersburg, gave us Pavlova, Danilova, Makarova and Baryshnikov)
Bolshoi Ballet (``Bolshoi'' means big, and the ballets here are big on spectacle, on a famous raked stage).
Royal Danish Ballet (this company keeps the Bournonville tradition alive. Beautiful carriage in its dancers)

Also, look for ``World Ballet Day'' videos on YouTube. This is an annual 24-hour event that follows companies around the world. You can observe company class and sections of various ballets on which the companies are working.

Look for videos the Het Ballet, a Dutch company, that does wonderful avante garde works and also has a lovely staging of ``Giselle.''

And if you're really hard-core, look for class and examination videos from the Vaganova Choreographic Institute. This is the school in Russia that feeds the Marinsky Ballet. There are scads of videos from each year's class, including both ballet and what is known as ``character dance,'' a compolation of various national dances.  The barre section of Vaganova character class is particularly interesting, totally unlike any ballet class you may have seen.

Whatever you do, don't go buy yourself a pair of pointe shoes and fool around with them at home. It takes several years of proper training and muscle development to on en pointe without harming your feet and the rest of your body.

Hope you will stay in love with ballet. It is the great joy of my life. My season tickets to SF Ballet are so so so expensive, and buying them every year requires that I say no to so many other fun things I would like to do. But the minute I am sitting in my seat at the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House and the curtain goes up, it is totally worth it.  
Logged
Hermione

Big Member
*******

Reputation: 348

Offline Offline

Posts: 2016





Ignore
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2017, 01:34:14 PM »

Thanks so much bumbershoot  Star

Do sponsored dancers get the same salary as non-sponsored dancers of the same rank or can they even make more if their sponsor is generous?

Re pointe shoes: I did some on pointe dancing when younger but it was never my thing (and my feet weren't good enough if you know what I mean  Grin ). I enjoy watching dancing on pointe, it's kind of fascinating to me. I think I will always stay in love with ballett 
Logged
fairy

Most Exalted Member
*

Reputation: 2758

Offline Offline

Posts: 16058





Ignore
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2017, 01:48:43 PM »

There are several very interesting YouTube dokus about the various dance ensembles, which are fun to watch. (esp. when you are ironing..)
I used to dance Ballet when I was young, pretty ambitiously even, but as beautiful it is, it is also almost debilitating. So basically if you realize you won't be good enough to really do it professionally, you should stop and keep your health.
But I adore watching it, esp the very old fashioned ballets, I tend not to be too keen on the new "modern" dance versions of my old favorites...though a short while ago the ensemble here staged something like "Tchaikovsky meets Street dance" and it was spectacular.
Logged

Mary's life motto:
"if I had the choice between world peace and a Prada handbag, I'd choose the latter one" Marian Keyes.
bumbershoot

Warned
Gigantic Member
*********

Reputation: 689

Offline Offline

United States United States

Posts: 3205





Ignore
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2017, 06:03:42 PM »

I don't know the answer to the question about whether ``sponsored'' dancers receive more compensation. But pretty generally, ballet dancers don't make a lot of money until they are principal dancers. Then they often do guest appearances with other companies that certainly earn them more money.

My information is mainly about SF Ballet. I know that in 2008 -- the most recent year for which figures are publicly known -- principal dancers were paid $1,846.00 per week, with 42 weeks of paid work per year. This would be for no more than eight performances per week. Surely the compensation has increased since then, and maybe the sponsorships are a way to thrown a little extra money at the bigger stars the company wants to retain.

Also, when you're really a major dancer, there are opportunities for product endorsements, generally of the most high-end kind, like luxury jewelry, wristwatches, fragrances and the like. I think SF Ballet's Maria Kotchekova has quite a few of those, and so, I assume, must Yuan Yuan Tan, particularly back in her native Shanghai.

Bottom line, though, is that if you are looking for a career that will make you wealthy, ballet is not for you. Ballet dancers' careers are typically short, generally ending around the age of 35-40. And there are often a lot of injuries along the way.  Ballet is incredibly hard on a dancer's body, and it's not just the blistered toes.

Not to digress too much, but the male dancers leave me in awe. In the course of a ballet, they often have to perform huge jumps, pirouettes with multiple multiple turns, and then lift a 100-lb female dancer up over their heads many times. I think they work harder than almost any athlete in the world. They have to be very strong, and yet perform with grace and elegance.

This all may be more than you want to know, but hey, ballet is and always has been one of my major passions in life and I can be an utter bore about it when given any kind of opportunity.
Logged
Hermione

Big Member
*******

Reputation: 348

Offline Offline

Posts: 2016





Ignore
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2017, 08:04:46 AM »

Thank you for sharing bumbershoot  Star

Do yo know anything abut the contract situation, like is their employment with a company of indefinite duration or do they negotiate every year (for principals).

My initial question about promotion and ranks came from curiosity because I saw that with NYCB some dancers made it from the corps to principals within five years, which is pretty fast I guess while other dancers spend up to eight years in the corps or ten years as soloist. It must be hard being a soloist for so long and seeing members of the corps being promoted to principal during that time. After all, I think ballet very competitive. But I guess when someone is really talented the company wants to keep them and promotes them quickly.
Logged
bumbershoot

Warned
Gigantic Member
*********

Reputation: 689

Offline Offline

United States United States

Posts: 3205





Ignore
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2017, 05:22:55 AM »

There are some dancers who will never make it out of the corps. And for some of them, that is OK, really. Being a soloist or a principal means many many extra hours of hard work, particularly if the dancers are lucky enough to have a new piece set on them.  (i.e. choregraphed on them). Also, some dancers want to take time to have kids or to begin to pursue other educational opportunities.

Here in the Bay Area, many members of SF Ballet are able to go on and complete a college degree at ST. Mary's in Orinda, which works with the ballet to set up programs in which the dancers can participate. Some of them do exceptionally well post-ballet, such as Molly Smollen who went to St. Mary's, then got a law degree from the University of California's Boalt Hall School of Law (a very prestigious law school), and now works as a deputy district attorney. So they don't all necessarily go into dance-related occupations after their dance careers are over.

The speed with which as dancer leapfrogs from the corps to principal dancer status is variable, at least with SF Ballet. It depends on a dancer's talent and also on the needs of the company. SF Ballet this year has had a large number of promotions, possibly related to the retirement last year of three of the principal male dancers and this year to the departure of two female principals and one male.  But the youngsters who got the promotions are simply dripping with talent. It's so exciting to watch them.

Dancers with most of the major U.S. ballet companies are members of a union, the AGMA, which also represents opera singers. Typically a contract is for multiple years, and will come up for renegotiation in the year before the end of the contract. Dancers always want more money and better health insurance and benefits, and the companies try to hold the line financially. It gets tricky and will get even trickier now that the guy in the White House has effectively gutted the National Endowment for the Arts, which supplements a lot of companies' budgets.

My season tickets are quite expensive. I think I end up paying almost $2000 for a pair of pretty good season tickets. It's a HUGE hit for me financially every year and means that I have to give up many other things I'd like to do. (But for me it's totally worth it to be able to see one of the greatest ballet companies all season long).  And yet I know that the ticket prices don't go anywhere near paying the cost of getting the curtain up. Ballet companies -- and opera companies -- are very expensive luxuries for a community. Fortunately here in the San Francisco Bay Area, we have a very strong tradition of philanthropy, and the ballet and the opera's development people have begun to cultivate people with some of the new tech. And many of them seem to be willing to support the ballet and other cultural institutions.  When I can, I toss a few dollars in the ballet's direction myself, but my contribution is very tiny compared to many other people's.

I think you asked about casting. Again, my present-day experience is pretty much limited to SF Ballet.  For example, the company is performing ``Swan Lake'' in the next couple of weeks. I think there will be 13 performances and there are four separate couples who have been rehearsing those roles.  Right now I can go to the company website and see who is dancing the lead roles on the night for which I have tickets. Some people who are fans of particular dancers will wait to buy their tickets until casting is announced, typically within a week or two of the performance.

With SF Ballet, a dancer may well be in the corps for one ballet, and then have a chance to perform a soloist or principal role in another, all in one season. SF Ballet really does give talented people in the lower ranks lots and lots of opportunity. But this is decidedly not the practice at Paris Opera Ballet, the Bolshoi or the Kirov, where ranks are rigidly maintained.

Speaking of ranks, here's a video you might find interesting. It's of the grand d?fil? of the Paris Opera Ballet on opening night. All the dancers, from the youngest of les petits rats of the school of Parish Opera Ballet to the most esteemed etoiles (stars) enter in ranks to the march from Berlioz' opera ``Les Troyens.''  You will recognize the female etoiles by the tiaras they wear, and the male etoiles by their all-white clothing.

They do this every year. It really emphasized the role of tradition in Ballet, particularly at Paris Opera Ballet, which is the oldest ballet company in the world, with origins dating back to 1669. The grand d?fil? is such a big deal that it's broadcast live on French TV every year at the opening of the season.  I always find it pretty thrilling.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plUhhsKaC4Y








Logged
bumbershoot

Warned
Gigantic Member
*********

Reputation: 689

Offline Offline

United States United States

Posts: 3205





Ignore
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2017, 05:29:38 AM »

One more question to answer. Why do principal dancers typically dance only two or three performances in a particular role in a season? Because they would pretty much die otherwise. I am going to give you a link to parts of Act II of ``Giselle.''' Every male dancer who has ever performed this role says he is nearly dead by the end. He has to do such huge jumps and also constantly lift a 100+lb. Giselle overhead, making her look as ethereal as a piece of swansdown. And another really really demanding role is the balcony scene in McMillan's ``Romeo and Juliet.''

Here's Giselle:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UenPQKWwYoY

And here's that balcony scene:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a04IcHI1fFQ
Logged
Hermione

Big Member
*******

Reputation: 348

Offline Offline

Posts: 2016





Ignore
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2017, 11:43:14 AM »

Thank you so much bumbershoot  Star Star

I could stay on the couch watching ballet on you tube all Sunday  Icecream Icecream

The defile is quite something (those tiaras!)
Logged
Jane

Gigantic Member
*********

Reputation: 917

Offline Offline

Australia Australia

Posts: 3221


Daiz




Ignore
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2017, 11:19:49 PM »

Lovely thread! My daughter has been doing ballet for the last few years and is very passionate about it. I have started taking her to various performances- we were lucky enough to see Sadlers Wells Sleeping Beauty in London last year. Living in Melbourne we are able to go to performances of the Australian Ballet- another one for your list of great companies around the world. Usually my daughter's birthday/Christmas present is a  set of tickets to the year ahead.
https://australianballet.com.au/
Logged
bumbershoot

Warned
Gigantic Member
*********

Reputation: 689

Offline Offline

United States United States

Posts: 3205





Ignore
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2017, 10:40:34 PM »

Yes, I am beginning to hear very good things about the Australian Ballet.  I think former SF principal dancer Damien Smith, who retired in 2014, and Luke Ingham, who is present a principal dancer with SF Ballet both came to us by way of Australia. And I know that the Australian company is one of those selected to be part of the annual 24-hour World Ballet Day marathon broadcast that streams on YouTube. I'm just not that familiar with the company's repertoire.  Wasn't Robert Helpman, who danced with the Royal Ballet for years, instrumental in the early days of the Australian Ballet?

Of course there is the incredibly popular teen-themed Aussie TV series ``Dance Academy,'' which is supposedly modeled on the school of the Australian Ballet. You can get all three seasons of it streaming on Netflix. It was pretty teen-romance oriented, but hey, I will watch just about anything that purports to be ballet, so actually have seen all the episodes. I think it did fairly accurately show some of the sacrifices and hard work that go into the building of a ballet dancer's body and technique. And the kids who act in the series are pretty cute. 

Logged
lellobeetle

Large Member
******

Reputation: 330

Offline Offline

United States United States

Posts: 1419



WWW

Ignore
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2017, 12:03:55 AM »

That Giselle is amazing. So lithe.  Star
Logged

Pages: [1] 2   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to: