How much should a ballerina weigh?

The ballet critic Anna Gordeeva answers:

The ratios of height and weight are determined by ballet schools only — the Moscow school, for example, gives such a ratio for the graduating class — if a girl is 174 centimeters tall, she cannot weigh more than 47 kilograms, and a young man 184 centimeters tall should fit into 57 kilograms. In the theater “physics” is competing with artistry. Maris Liepa once rapped out “it is not the weight that is heavy but the character” — so he has put an end to the talks that one of the partners is too fat.

Ballerinas from the time of Marius Petipa were not tall and much more well-fed than our contemporaries (there were no high supports, that is, male dancers did not suffer, holding voluptuous beauties over their heads). Then, the acceleration and evolution of ballet technique spoke the word: now the classical dancer must be weightless and have long limbs.

In classical ballet the situation with weight in the near future cannot generally change — this is simply a matter of the dancer's survival, his health literally depends on the mass of the partner. In the future, of course, one can imagine that the ballet will master the exoskeletons now being invented by scientists and the girl in the air will be kept not by the muscles of the partner and his spine, but by metal and plastic invisible to the viewer. The mentioned above applies to ballet only; contemporary dance, as much less “airy” and at the same time much more democratic art, allows artists of completely different formats to enter the stage.

Are there "sturdy" male dancers?

The ballet critic Anna Gordeeva answers:

In the case of male dancers (whom anyone rarely raises to high support, although everything happens in modern ballets) “ideal” is generally a vague concept. There are "ideal", chiseled princes, who cause sighs in the ladies, but their dance is nothing special; there are sturdy artists who, at the third second of the flight above the stage, make everyone believe that this is the only way the prince can be. “Physics” always surrenders to artistry — that is why ballet is still alive and flourishing as an Art with a capital letter.

In which dance figures do ballet dancers exhibit human superpowers?

The ballet critic Anna Gordeeva answers:

There are different opinions, but I am personally convinced that the work of ballet dancers does not require any physical “superpowers”. Human being has been given a lot by nature, you just have to use it wisely and the rest is taught at school. At the same time, ballet work requires artistic superpowers – this is the very art of investing soul, fire, and impulse into every movement. If on the stage is an Artist with a capital letter, the public will not even think about whether he was naturally given a jump or learned to take himself up into the air by years of endless rehearsals.

Why are there exactly 32 fouettés?

The ballet critic Anna Galaida answers:

Who said that there should be exactly 32 fouettés? Sometimes there are four, often sixteen, and sometimes 64. The word "fouetté" comes from the French verb fouetter — to whip. And usually ballet lovers mean by this term movement that really resembles a straightening and twisting whip in the air — sharp swift turns around its own axis, when one leg, which is commonly called the “supporting” one, jumps sharply at every turn on pointe shoes, and the second one, “working”, is sharply thrown into the air at a right angle and bends.

This is exactly how the most famous fouettés look like, which the audience is waiting for with bated breath in the “black” pas-de-deux in Swan Lake, in the pas-de-deux from Flames of Paris or showed by Mehmene Banu in the chase scene in The Legend of Love.

In the second half of the 19th century, this trick was invented by Italian dancers who were unparalleled in virtuosity. In Russia, Pierina Legnani first showed it in the Cinderella ballet, and then repeated it in Swan Lake, where she was the first Odile.

Nowadays, fouettés can be complicated with double and triple turns, and even a turn connected to a jump. The trick is also performed by male dancers — for example, the Danish Harald Lander inserted it into his Etudes, and Yuri Grigorovich – into the variation of The Nutcracker-Prince. But today, few dare to fulfill the fouetté according to the classical canons — in the center of the stage, without budging, "on a postage stamp," as wrote the reviewers.


When did pointe shoes appear?

The ballet critic Anna Galaida answers:

Pointe shoes are the object of desire of many girls who dream of becoming real ballerinas. What a disappointment, when it turns out that before you first stand on the pointe shoes, you need to go through dozens of boring lessons that have nothing to do with the idea of soaring in pink satin slippers!

Pointe shoes took a modern form far from the very beginning. It is likely that if Louis XIV, to whom we owe the existence of ballet, could see these shoes, he would hardly understand what they have to do with his favorite dance lesson. Ballet shoes, like ballet costumes, have gone hand in hand with common shoes and clothes for centuries. The Sun King himself went on stage in buckle shoes and on high heels. But the more complicated and intricate the dance technique became, the lighter shoes were made for it.

With the advent of the Empire style fashion, when the aristocrats at the balls began to flutter in silk ball shoes, the dancers also changed their shoes — the heroines of anacreontic ballets, which filled the stage at the beginning of the 19th century, turned into ancient goddesses. They were supposed to wear light sandals, from which it turned out to be very close to the lightest shoes, the delicate silk and satin of which they began to compare with rose petals. It was in these shoes that the ballerinas first began to stand on their tiptoes, which required great strength and endurance of the foot.

A few decades later, in 1832, Maria Taglioni made a stand on the tiptoes the main technique of her own — revolutionary — dance style. She (together with her father Filippo Taglioni, who formulated new aesthetic principles and techniques of classical dance in accordance with the capabilities of his daughter) brought to the ballet stage a storm of a new era, for which she became the embodiment of a romantic dream, beautiful, elusive and unknowable. But, despite the fact that usually Taglioni was the soloist at the head of the corps de ballet army unified in her own style, she stood on her tiptoes alone.

Only in the mature ballets of Petipa, at the end of the 19th century, the corps de ballet began to dance on pointe shoes. Nevertheless, all century ballerinas fought for the improvement of tiptoe technique. Particular successes were achieved by the Italians, whose virtuosity was unequal at the time. They learned to twist double and triple rounds, and then they impressed the world with 32 fouettés. But to do such tricks in ball shoes would be impossible. And the newspaper reviews were filled with moans and screams caused by changes in pointe shoes. They acquired a hard leather insole supporting the arch of the foot, and a hard “box”, which allowed the dancers to linger on their toes. Indeed in the ballets of Mazilier, Saint-Leon, and young Petipa, the ballerinas performed the most difficult tricks without the support of a partner or using an accessory as support — as in a variation with a scarf in the third act of La Bayadere. For such dances, a complex technological apparatus was needed, into which pointe shoes turned. Behind the pink fetish was complex production by individual standards, including calcination in an oven at a temperature of 60–70 degrees.

Who invented the tutu?

The ballet critic Anna Galaida answers:

Tutu is one of the symbols of classical ballet. It is impossible to say who, where and when invented it — for three and a half centuries of the existence of dance performances, the costume has constantly changed, and now more than ever you can see a huge variety of forms of tutus.

At its first appearance, the ballet costume did not differ from the usual courtier costume (ballet was never a democratic art, it was born at the palace and for the palace). Complex fixtures, crinolines, corsages were part of the dance ritual. But at the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when antiquity returned to fashion, the ballet costume began to repeat the silhouette of the empire era — with a high waist and open chest, so it was getting rid of centners of fabric.

A real revolution was made by the premiere of La Sylphide, in which Maria Taglioni appeared in a cloud of the lightest multilayer fabrics that resembled a flower corolla that was lowered down. Probably, this costume can be called the beginning of the coordinate system in which the ballet costume has been developing for almost 200 years. In different variations, the Taglioni type of costume existed for two decades only. After that, with the development of pointe shoes and related power technique, the ballerina's skirt became more magnificent and shorter, the waist became thinner, and the notch on the chest became deeper. At the same time, while in the ballets of the Danish classic Augustus Bournonville, the costume nevertheless more closely resembles the principles of Taglioni, then in the ballets of his contemporary Petipa the costume meets the needs of the dancers, becoming shorter and gradually closer to what is called a tutu — a layered skirt planted on the bodice, each layer of which is longer than the previous one, which gives the pack springiness and splendor.

Having quickly skipped the era of the “Silver Age”, when choreographers carefully removed old-fashioned costumes, the pack returned with a triumph in the 1930s; thanks to new synthetic fabrics it became noticeably lighter, but without losing splendor. Together with all the art, moving towards minimalism, the pack in the 1960s and 70s even survived a period when the metal hoop fastening its layers became visible from the auditorium./p>

The fashion for the reconstruction of ancient ballets that arose in the 2000s returned a magnificent heavy tutu to the stage. True, now it can be in the traditional old bell shape, and in the form of a "plate", with a natural waist line and set on the hips, as was fashionable in the 1950s and 1970s. For example, the original form of the tutu was proposed in William Forsyth’s ballet The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude by artist Stephen Galloway, making it completely flat, and Sandra Woodall seemed to bend this plate in her Classical Symphony, where choreographer Yuri Possokhov also gave new forms to the old and familiar classical dance.

How many pairs of pointe shoes does the ballerina wear out for the performance?

The ballet critic Anna Galaida answers:

A ballerina in the leading part in a big classical ballet requires 3-4 pairs of pointes for one performance. Moreover, it takes several hours to prepare them — each artist kneads multi-layer shoes for herself, welts the toe so that it does not slip, and breaks the “box” to the degree of hardness that is convenient for her personally. Due to the difficulty of preparing pointe shoes, not one prima will leave her pointe shoes in a checked baggage when traveling — they always travel in hand luggage, along with threads, needles — and a hammer that breaks a box.

What is rosin?

The ballet critic Leila Guchmazova answers:

The question is not so funny. In any ballet backstage, in front of the stage, on the floor there is a small box with rosin powder, the artists dip shoes in it. It’s like nothing magic in the box, on the contrary, the crystals in the powder creak and crunch disgustingly, like broken glass, supporting horror stories about shards of glass poured into pointes. But it is this strange rosin that increases the frictional force between shoes and the stage. Artists are not afraid to slip and feel more confident, and therefore think less about technology and more about artistry. So, the box is still magical, no matter how squeaky.

What is more difficult: dancing on pointe shoes or barefoot?

The ballet critic Anna Gordeeva answers:

“On the tiptoes” — this is the name of ballet dance on pointe shoes. The first to get on her tiptoes in 1832 was Maria Taglioni at La Sylphide, and she was all alone in pointe shoes: it was a defiant gesture; it was the privilege of a ballerina. Now, when all the choreographic schools graduates dance on the tiptoes, on the contrary the rejection of pointe shoes is a defiant gesture. It is really difficult not to dance on pointe shoes or to dance without pointe shoes, but to alternate performances “on tiptoes” and barefoot — “rebuild” the habits of the feet in a short period of time. Therefore, the dancers do not like to do this, and the leaders of the European ballet companies try to stage the performances in “series” — so that the artists are the swans for two weeks, and then stand barefoot on their heads for five days. (Of course, this is not the only reason — also a reduction of the sets mounting time, etc., but this is one of the most important).


How to write a dance “score”?

The ballet critic Anna Galaida answers:

Already the ancient Egyptians were seeking to write down the dance, trying to adapt the hieroglyphs for this. Since then, attempts to find an adequate form of recording choreography have not progressed very far, although humanity does not think to say goodbye to this idea. And the more difficult the dance forms become, the less adequate the results look. Particularly active experiments in the field of dance recording were made in the Renaissance, when there were attempts to record movements using the letter designation (for example, bourrée was designated as B), then the first experiments of graphic sketching of the dance appeared. But the increasingly sophisticated dance technique required an increasingly accurate record. The achievement of the middle of the 19th century was the “stenochoreography” proposed by the famous choreographer Arthur Saint-Léon, in which he tried to develop a record of the dancer’s spatial movement on the stage, as well as the most difficult issue of coordination — because each movement simultaneously involves the head, shoulders, body, arms and legs. However, Saint-Leon was not able to record in his system the amplitude of movement, the combination of movement with music, the interaction of different dancers.

Due to the interest in the legacy of Marius Petipa in Russia in recent years, the dance recording system developed by St. Petersburg dancer Vasily Stepanov at the end of the 19th century has been revived from oblivion. He borrowed his main idea from music, offering to record movements on a stave, which made it possible to combine them with musical accompaniment. Petipa, who studied various dance recording systems, did not show much interest in Stepanov’s work. Nevertheless, his system was accepted for study at the St. Petersburg Theater School, a textbook was published, and thanks to many student exercises, recordings of many fragments of Petipa's choreography reached us. In the early twentieth century, his ballets, preserved by that time in the repertoire, began to be recorded systematically. It was these records that Nikolai Sergeev took abroad after the revolution. After that, they got to the Theater Library of Harvard University, and from there — again to the stage of the Mariinsky, Bolshoi, and Novosibirsk theaters, La Scala and the American Ballet Theater, the Bavarian Ballet and the Zurich Ballet in the form of revivals of the performances on their basis.

In the twentieth century in Europe, the recording methods of Rudolf von Laban and Rudolf Benesh became widespread. "Labanotation" allows you to record not only the dance — any movement using graphic symbols that take into account its direction and amplitude. The musician Rudolf Benesh and the dancer Joan Benesh followed Stepanov back to the system of musical staves — on one they recorded music, on the second — the dance that it accompanies. These two methods remain the most common in the world, many European ballet companies have a choreologist in their staff — a person who records repertoire performances and monitors the accuracy of the performance of the choreographic text.

The appearance of the video made it easier, but fundamentally did not solve the problem of fixing the dance performance: the camera is not able to capture all the accents, nuances and stylistic features of the choreographic text. That is why the transfer and revival of any ballet performance, as in the 19th century, is impossible to carry out without the choreographer and his assistants.

The ballet critic Anna Gordeeva answers:

People tried to record the dance almost from the moment the ballet was invented — that is, it began in France under the Sun King. But for many years this idea of “fixing” worried very few dancers — because theater leaders did not perceive choreography as something that could be protected by copyright. The people completely agreed with the bosses in this — and the phrase “the same ballet” implied “the same name”, but not “the same choreographer” and not even “the same music”.

Until the middle of the 19th century, choreographers did not bother with the concept of someone else’s authorship — when they saw someone else’s composition, they inserted fragments of it into their performance, a successful pa-de-deux could travel throughout Europe and live in half a dozen different ballet stories. But in the 19th century, romantic writers began to assure the public that ballet was as high an art as Literature and Painting, and they managed to convince many people. But high art must be stored — and in some places, practitioners began to record movements on top of musical lines in the score.

In 1852, Arthur Saint-Léon published the treatise “Stenochoreography” — and in his recording system, conventional signs (little men, relying on a musical line as a stick) were combined with verbal comments on each pas. In Russia, the first independent non-word dance recording system was created by Vladimir Stepanov — an artist at the Mariinsky Theater developed principles for recording the movements of the human body using a stave. His invention was approved by the Directorate of the Imperial Theaters and in 1893 Stepanov was instructed to teach this system at the Imperial Theater School.

Among his students were Alexander Gorsky (who later transferred the performances of Marius Petipa to Moscow) and Nikolai Sergeyev, who recorded all the ballets of Marius Petipa being on stage at that time and after the revolution took these recordings out of Russia (now they are at Harvard and exactly they are studied by the reconstructors of Petipa’s works — this archive was studied by Sergei Vikharev, who made the versions of The Sleeping Beauty and La Bayadere closest to the originals at the Mariinsky Theater). In the twentieth century before the advent of video, the most popular dance recording systems were the systems of Rudolf Laban (largely focused on free dance) and Rudolf Benesh (still used by the English Royal Ballet).

Can any music be used for ballet?

The ballet critic Anna Gordeeva answers

Before Tchaikovsky, ballets were choreographed to a simple “service” music that music lovers used to call “horse music”, as it resembled the one used in circus when horses were marching. Later choreographers began to work on more complex compositions, and nowadays there are performances to rock music or even just industrial noise, when in soundtrack something is cracking, cluttering and somewhere far away there is a sound of falling sledgehammer. Artists are eager to take up any challenge (when music is too complicated, they are silently counting steps, sometimes we can hear it out loud), but they truly love music with melody, music that tells a story.

What is the ideal stage for ballet?

The technical director of Dance Open festival Maxim Balandin answers:

Special characteristics of stages and theater halls built for ballet performances are related to the particularities of the art of choreography itself: it is crucial that audience could appreciate a pointe technique. For this reason, the stalls should be located at such angle from the stage so a foot could be clearly visible. Such location is not common for drama theaters where a foot may not be visible because the stalls are too low or it may be hidden behind the heads of people sitting in front. As a rule, opera and ballet theaters have a raked stage that slopes 3-5% down towards the auditorium for the better view of foot movements.

The closest attention is paid to the flooring of the ballet stage. The stage may seem empty when you look at it, but it is not so. At least there is a professional sprung floor covered with a ballet linoleum attached by a special tape. Sprung floor is made of specially designed and glued birch panels on shock-absorbing pads connected by specific locks. You cannot imagine a classical ballet, where there is a high probability of joint, ligament or knee injuries, without sprung floor. In contemporary ballet, the use of sprung floor is also common, but it is a choice of a ballet company that often depends on specific artistic tasks.

Where is the logic in the fashion for theatrical scenery?

The dance critic Anna Gordeeva answers:

Scenery fashion is changing and coming back as any kind of fashion. In one century scene designers are carefully building houses and interiors, in another – they decide to use little scenery, but set up a fantastical stage lighting. In reconstructions of the classics, we can expect “elaborate constructions”. There is a city and a square where the characters meet, there is a small room and even rubber plant on a windowsill is not forgotten. In performances by modern authors to a symphonic music, designers are trying to move from concrete objects to abstractions. Choreographers and scenographers are trying to become poets of the same kind as authors of the music – thus, they are using metaphors, instead of the details of the everyday life. For the visual poetry, complex lighting scores and video effects are perfect. Sometimes a plot and a music allow to combine this two kinds of scenery – and rather concrete video scenery suddenly becomes magically transformed, as in the world Alice found stepping through the looking-glass.

Is high-tech epoch influencing the art of ballet?

The dance critic Leila Guchmazova answers:

Every stick has two ends. On the one hand, there are performances with action on stage multiplied using digital effects and movements of dancers converted to 3D or 4D. On the other hand, a “simple dance” without technological gimmicks is becoming exclusive, even elitist, to be honest. There is another aspect. Due to the digital age, the attention to a living human body is only growing, while dance is getting a huge support from widespread interest in body practices. Once again, high technology has made a communication much easier, and modern ballet is mixing not only with Spanish flamenco or Indian kathak, but also with previously exotic physical practices and all the knowledge about breathing and mix of energies.

How many performances does “The Golden Fund” of ballet contain?

The dance critic Leila Guchmazova:

You can never have enough ballet. The Golden Fund is not that big, though, compared to opera. A dozen or two dozen titles – that is it. Add a sad aphorism by Balanchine “If you want a ballet to be successful, you should call it “Swan Lake”, and you have a clear picture.

The reason for this is that the academic ballet, that previously had been considered a part of opera, became a separate art form only in the second half of the 18th century. It is also rather expensive, that is always inconvenient, and likes to use elevated themes – that makes it elitist. Love is one of the main themes of ballet. Among the best ballets are lyrical “La Sylphide” and “Giselle”, side by side with bold “La Fille mal gardée” (as you can remember, it was long before feminism). Although the academic dance was born in France and French language remains the most spoken in a rehearsal studio, a significant part of the golden fund of ballet is also Russian. It might seem strange, because during the 19th century all ballets in Russia were imported. The trick is that Russia has soon became a country with “miles of cornfields and ballet in the evening”, some sort of a sanctuary, or even a deep-freeze chamber. This resulted in “Swan Lake”, “Sleeping Beauty”, “La Bayadère” and “Le Corsaire”.

So when the time to pay back the cultural debt came, in the beginning of the 20th century Russian Seasons conquered the world. Style a la russe, mysterious Russian soul and other sweet sentimental ideas appeared thanks to the company founded by Sergei Diaghilev who showed the world the finest treasures of Russian imperial ballet. In half a century, the world was amazed again by the soviet ballet by Bolshoi and Kirovsky (now Mariinsky) theaters. Although, the success of it, how it always is with sequels, was not so shocking.


Who is a leader on stage?

The dance critic Anna Gordeeva answers:

Ballet appeared in France during the age of absolute monarchy, and thrived in Russia during the autocracy – surely, there is still a strict hierarchy. After graduation a dancer joins corps de ballet, then she becomes a coryphée (in Paris Opera there is also a middle level – “quadrille” which, roughly speaking, means the first line of corps de ballet), next level is “sujet” (in Russian tradition it is called “the second soloist”), then – “premier danseur”. The highest level in Paris is étoile (“a star”, this is an official title), in Russia – ballerina.

For those spectators who just started watching ballet it is usually a surprise that there are only seven or eight ballerinas in a theater (two or three in small cities), not 100, not all the girls coming on stage in tutus. There is an official hierarchy. Theater management is promoting an artist to each of its levels. Without a doubt, in all theaters in the world there is also an unofficial hierarchy: this dancer is still a second soloist, but should be a ballerina according to her level of dancing, but something did not work out with the management. And this one has been a ballerina for a long time, but everybody knows she does not deserve it. A theater, a place where ordinary cynicism and artistic idealism are tightly bound, will always respect the first one and from time to time let the second one know that “there are no connections that can make a foot smaller, and a soul bigger”.

The Dance critic Leila Guchmazova answers:

There is nothing funny about the word “coryphée” – it means the rank of ballet dancer hierarchy. It closely resembles the military hierarchy: generals, colonels, majors, lieutenants, foremen and privates. A lot like in ballet: corps de ballet, then coryphée, soloists, first soloists and principal dancers. The word “coryphée” means “favorite”. A ballet dancer just have to stand out to become favorite. Although there are cases when an outstanding dancer right after graduation gets promoted from corps de ballet straight to a soloist or even higher. Considering a modern tendency to blur the levels of the hierarchy, this trend is only becoming more popular.

Spending years in ballet school, kids are losing their childhood. Is that right?

The dance critic Anna Gordeeva answers:

It is and it is not, depends on what we mean by childhood. If it is a carefree time when you can easily skip classes and go to the movies, eat too much ice cream and freeze at a skating rink – then yes. Ballet kids have a strict schedule, they have classes from morning to evening, they watch their weight with obsession and sometimes desperation, and keep their working tools (hands, legs, muscles, bones) safe.

There is no reason to grieve for a “real childhood”. For ballet kids childhood becomes a starting point. While others are still thinking what career to choose (or even putting this question on hold for a while): whether to become an architect, chemist, surgeon or lawyer, ballet kids are already building their carrier. And they will remember these years of training as a childhood – although a different one. Whether it is happy or not does not depend on a career.

Why does a dancer need the original work?

The dance critic Anna Galayda:

This question may be a subject of a number of research papers. In short, imagine that you know Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina” just by watching a TV-series and Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” just by listening to Max Richter’s electronic version. Same thing with the original work in classical ballet. We turn to the original to express our respect for the authors and to find out how ballet developed and what the ballet evolution is. It is also an opportunity to learn professional secrets – classical repertoire have been preserved for ages and modern choreographers and performers should know how their predecessors achieved that.

At what age do ballet dancers retire?

The dance critic Anna Galayda:

There are no universal rules that determine a retirement age for ballet dancers. In the US, for example, few people continue dancing after 30, in Italy until recently ballet artists have retired at the same time as accountants and pizza makers – at 65.

In Russia during Petipa times dancers were provided with a state pension after 20 years of work, this tradition continues today. Maya Plisetskaya was performing up until her last days (she died at 90); Ulyana Lopatkina left the ballet stage at 43.

For some artists who from the early childhood did not know anything except dance bars and pointe shoes, retirement becomes a tragedy. Others continue their carrier in their students and staged performances. For others it is the beginning of a new adventure. “Divine Maria” Taglioni, the idol of ballet lovers of 19th century, after finishing her carrier, started the renovation of the great Ca' d'Oro palace in Venice, that her Russian fan Alexander Trubetskoy had given her as a present. Anna Sobeschanskaya, the first Odette and Odile in “Swan Lake” in Moscow, became a manager in her husband’s shop. Vaganova’s student, the artist of the Kirovsky theater Vera Krasnovskaya wrote several books about Russian and world ballet, finally receiving a Ph.D. in art criticism. New York City Ballet dancer Nancy Reynolds became a head of The George Balanchine Foundation.


When it is allowed to applaud during ballet?

The Dance critic Leila Guchmazova answers:

Technically – when your heart is rejoicing. However, if you do not want to feel out of place, do not come to a theater in unwashed ripped jeans and do not applaud chaotically. It is considered a bad taste to applaud between parts of a pas de deux: an entrée, variations of each soloist, and a coda, as applause interferes with a developing action. Despite this rule, dancers are receiving this applause happily, as it gives them few more minutes to get back their breath. However, it is terrible to clap along the rotations, as it may distract both a dancer and a conductor with the orchestra. That will cause a mess. Conductors and directors delicate with the author’s ideas do not allow pauses between scenes, not to disturb the whole experience. All in all, in ballet there is everything you need to express emotions: during curtain calls after each act you can applaud as much as you want.

Why do I need to rewatch “Giselle” and “La Bayadère”?

The dance critic Leila Guchmazova answers:

It is good for your mental health to remember who you are and where you came from. Same for ballet. The more it is influenced by digital technology and contemplation about the essence of body energy, the more it cherishes its happy childhood. And even more - its cheerful youth, when it had a wonderful time, hence the wish to rewatch “Giselle” and “La Bayadère”.

Moreover, taking care of a professionalism, ballet tend to reflect on such questions as: if one and a half centuries ago dancers had different bodies, what and how were they dancing? Here the applied theatrical memory “from hand to hand, from foot to foot” joins the archive work and disputes of meticulous archivists. In this case, theater is tempted to include a new “real” performance in its playbill. In practice, there is only one result: not the authenticity is important, but the talent.

Ballet and Dolce Vita

The Dance critic Leila Guchmazova answers:

Historically, ballet is a child of prosperous times, stagnant views and vertical power structure, ideally, monarchy. In order to grow and develop, it needs time, money, love, hard work and minimum of shock.

Indeed, moments of love for ballet are cyclic. As history shows, during bad times people go to the movies (we remember as Hollywood thrived at times of the Great Depression), and during good times they turn to tutus and sparkles. Love for ballet does not come all of a sudden; it is growing while life is becoming more glamorous. It is not a coincidence that in Greek mythology among the seven serious muses (muses of history, drama, music, etc.) Terpsichore, the muse of dance, was the youngest. She was always about a half a century late. However, she was everyone’s favorite, and certainly a subject of constant education.

Only digital age could lead to some confusion in this relationship. Terpsichore did not want to be the favorite. She suddenly became so smart that now she is giving advice to the older ones: mind is important, but do not forget about the body. Otherwise, you will turn into a gadget. The army of Terpsichore fans have a good knowledge of physical culture, know the words “Pilates” and “breathing gymnastics”, take good care of themselves. But they still love to watch classical Terpsichore – charming, as always.

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