I was hilariously banned from a website discussing ballet recently.
I suppose because I enjoy debate and was debating ballet, dancers etc. I don't attack people, I attack ideas and I support my own arguments. After all what is the point of discussion if you are not allowed to debate?
Most of these arguments centered around dancer Misty Copeland.
In the recent above video from 60 minutes it shows Copeland falling off pointe in the Florine variation for Sleeping Beauty. Many commentators stated it was just a fluke. But it couldn't have been one, Copeland admitted to the interviewer (off screen) that it was a problem. Common enough that she was worried about it. As you can see at mark 10:30, Copeland is having more trouble than just the hops on pointe. However the actual move shows that she seems to lack the strength as her foot sickles underneath her and she barely makes the finishing move into attitude.
The ability to dance consistently without problems in classical ballet choreography is a sign of a dancer who can be a principal lead. Is Copeland that dancer? Obviously she would be an historical choice. But it isn't as if she is the ONLY choice. ABT has a beautiful young, strong dancer Courtney Lavine rising in the ranks.
I linked to the dancers who are soloists at other companies not only doing this choreography but considerably HARDER versions of it.
Contemporary of Copeland, Yuhui Choe at the Royal Ballet performing the same variation.
Watch mark :22, Choe begins her hops in front attitude through passe and into full arabesque. All while hopping on pointe. She does this many times with no problems.
At a lower level, this recording of the Washington Ballet studio company shows Ayano Kimura performing the same variation, Again she has full range of motion while hopping on pointe. Go to the link and start at mark :33
There are even more examples all over youtube of dancers of all levels performing the variation along with the required hops on pointe with NO PROBLEMS.
So how is it that Copeland can't do them, so much so that it interferes with her confidence? Is she honestly at the same level as her contemporary Yahui Choe? How can ABT market her as the next second coming of the ballerina?
This gets us into the next bugaboo. Misty Copeland's publicist, manager and marketer also works for ABT as an outsourced publicist for all their galas since 2012.
Look under contacts to see the name Gilda Squire Media Relations. On Gilda Squire's about us page, she states that she is publicist for ABT galas
I question the ethics of this. Is Squire's main aim for these Galas to promote ABT and ALL its dancers? Or is she just getting Misty Copeland publicity at the expense of the company and her colleagues?
Then there is the can of worms regarding the stories Copeland crafted for herself. The unsubstantiated racism charges she makes against unknown dancers, unknown schools, unknown companies and unknown critics. I do believe black dancers have a tougher time in ballet. But does that mean Copeland should automatically win principal status because of being a hardship case? She seems to have no problem with this outcome. But would her fellow dancers have no problem with that? That there would be the impression that they had their positions because of charity due to their skin color not because of their artistry? We are moving into dangerous ground here.
She also states that she is so muscular because she was forced to take hormone therapy to induce menarche. This she has been public about and yet it can't be discussed on fan sites. Because why? Copeland makes a case that the ballet public should accept her muscular body that it doesn't interfere with her balletic line. But it does. But as usual with Copeland there are extenuating circumstances, she needed to take hormones due to health reasons and it made her grow. Most cases of delayed puberty in female dancers and athletes is due to low body fat. What if Copeland had just taken a break from ballet and changed her diet? Would she have been better able to control her muscle growth?
"But about eight months after I started with the company, I fractured a bone in my back during a rehearsal. My doctor told me I needed to start menstruating because the hormones would help strengthen my bones, and he put me on the Pill." Misty Copeland
Wait a minute...she broke a bone in her back? And the only form of therapy was birth control? Was there any attempt to discover if she had a hormonal balance problem? They didn't try to get her to work with a nutritionist to change her diet to include foods that would add a bit of fat to her form? There are plenty of nutritionists that work with dancers. Copeland was already suffering bone density problems but she was proscribed a therapy that would influence sudden growth to her form? So why this jump to what seems like a quick fix? While we are discussing this, why wasn't anything done about the horrific hyper-extension Copeland developed in her legs? This is something that will stop her from dancing, I'm sure it was one of the reasons behind her recent broken tibia bones.
There are loads of these anecdotes that can be analyzed in regard to Copeland's dance story that she must be a professional dancer. I think since she is public about them, there can be public discussion regarding them. After all she wants the public to pay to watch her dance, she wants the ballet world to accept her warts and all.
Not that any of this will change what I believe is her impending promotion to principal status. I don't think her dancing is principal status level. I don't think she has the body that is well suited to ballet. I'm willing to back up these arguments. And I don't mind debating people who think Copeland is a great dancer. If that means being banned at different sites no matter what the subject, I don't mind. It is just saddening that instead of opening up debate, the internet has instead turned into echo chambers where people just hear their own affirmations.
So if anyone reading this wants a debate on this subject or anything else I write. Comment. I guarantee you, you will never be deleted or banned for opposing ideas or conducting a heated debate.
ETA: I was just finished checking my email and the moderator for the forum sent me an insane note stating "You're Done TO ME!!!!" How professional of this site to allow its moderators to send harassment emails.