Friday, December 17, 2010

Step Up

Yes, I'm an idiot and decided to watch this campy film a while ago. I will not give the film the satisfaction of eliciting more than one word out of me, so here goes:


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tamara Rojo

My heart soars and breaks all at once while reading this article about Royal Ballet prima Tamara Rojo.

'The Company' and Ballet Dancers in Pop Culture

I watched the film 'The Company' yesterday evening. The film has a quiet, "day in the life of" tone that is free of the usual, pop-culture-friendly, ballet stereotypes (we all know the awful, numbing stereotypes in which all the men are gay and all the women are anorexic). It also features some magnificent dancing by the incredible Joffrey Ballet of Chicago.

I'd seen the film a couple of times before, but there was one part that made me laugh out loud yesterday, and it wasn't Malcolm McDowell announcing, "practise safe sex, babies!" I have nothing negative to say about Neve Campbell, who stars in the film, because she is an actul ballet dancer who is incredibly gifted (she graduated from Canada's prestigious National Ballet School). She by far outshines other horrid portrayals of dancers such as Julia Stiles' performance in the film, 'Save the Last Dance' (that film makes me so angry). So the low point of the film was clearly due to a poor directorial choice.

The hilarity occurs when Neve Campbell's character returns home from a performance. She peels off a small plaster to reveal (gasp!) a blister on her big toe joint! She then proceeds to massage her obviously terribly sore, aching feet. THE PERFORMANCE WAS IN SOFT SHOES. IT WASN'T EVEN ON POINTE. Her feet look perfectly fine except for that one blister which we, the audience, are clearly supposed to cry in sympathetic shock over. God, I laughed so hard. My mother's feet look worse than that after walking in high heels for an hour.

How insulting that a film otherwise so realistic and unpretentious should expect me to fawn over the dancer who, after performing a dance in soft shoes, has one bloody blister (pun intended) on her foot. Please, my feet are missing toenails! If my little sister, who's a rower, had been with me, she would have laughed at least equally as hard. Her palms are as rubbed raw as my toes. I would have had to fight to retain her respect for ballet dancers. To all artists who wish to portray the difficult lives of ballerinas: we do not show you our feet because you do not want to see them. Please save us from disgust at your wimpy attempts at portraying the hardship of our toes.

In other news, 'The Black Swan' starring Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis is being released in cinemas soon. I suppose I shall have to see it, because it's a ballet movie, but also because I love Natalie Portman. I have heard, however, that the film is rich with those dreaded ballet stereotypes and that, while her attempt is commendable, Natalie Portman's dancing makes it very hard to really believe that her character is a prima with NYCB. Oh, disappointment...

Oh Land

Nanna Øland Fabricius, a native of Denmark, was forced to leave the Royal Swedish Ballet School after a back injury ended a promising start to her career. The daughter of an opera singer and a composer, she channeled her intense understanding of music and the pain of giving up ballet into singing, and produced her own debut album, entitled 'Fauna', under the name 'Oh Land'. 

The album has a beautiful, light, ecletic, electro-pop sound, and Nanna has a stunning, delicate voice. She now lives in Williamsburg, New York, and her second self-titled album is scheduled to be released in early 2011. As any dancer who has struggled with a serious injury knows, stopping because your body is telling you to is so difficult and emotionally painful when your heart tells you you can't give up yet. Oh Land, then, has lots to write about. 

I remember struggling through my first slew of knee dislocations when I was younger.
One day, sitting in the emergency waiting room at the hospital, I wrote in a notebook:

Once striving for perfection,
I am faulty.
Once yearning to be beautiful,
I am ugly.

I am broken.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Alvin Ailey's New Season Opens

Read the New York Times review here.

I have two comments:
1) The dancers in the photograph atop the article look so perfect and statuesque. The dancer in the foreground looks like a figure my grandad has sculpted (he's an amazing, talented sculptor and I'm so lucky and humbled to be related to him). The lighting covers him in subtle colouring, so he almost looks as though his chest has been spray-painted.
2) The article mentions the Ailey Midtown Manhattan headquarters. Ever been there? The facility is STUNNING.