February 1st, 2018

For some odd reason, YouTube thought I’d like this

I can’t imagine why 🙂 :

As a child, I would have practically killed for those costumes and those fans. But my ballet teacher, who was British, had a very austere attitude towards recitals and fancy costumes: none.

Here’s the grownup variation they’re conjuring up, by the way. This is one of my all-time favorites, Maya Plisetskaya, in 1968 when she would have been 43, practically geriatric in the ballet sense:

Here’s a typical modern-day extreme ballet version. I want to ask her why the need for so much control and so little speed? Do you think that’s in tune with the character?. You decide:

And speaking of costumes, here’s something I’ve posted on this blog before. It’s a costume I wore in the third act of “Swan Lake” at summer camp when I was sixteen years old. That’s me. It was the most beautiful costume by far I’d ever worn, before or since. It belonged to my teacher, who’d been a prominent ballerina in the 30s and traveled round the world with Diaghilev’s company, among others.

ADDENDUM: I had to actually play that tambourine as I danced. That photo of me was taken during a dress rehearsal, and it’s posed. If memory serves me, during the performance the tambourine had ribbon streamers coming from it, something like the ones on the hat only narrower.

I was performing the Neapolitan (Italian) dance from Act III. Like this, only somewhat different choreography. I think my costume was much nicer. Unlike her, I didn’t do a lot of standing around and waiting during the fast portions, either; there was more dancing in my part. And unlike her, I didn’t fake-slap that tambourine. I really let that sucker have it:

35 Responses to “For some odd reason, YouTube thought I’d like this”

  1. kevino Says:

    RE: “For some odd reason, YouTube thought I’d like this.”
    Well, I did too. Thanks.

    RE: “Why the need for so much control and so little speed?” [Svetlana]
    Because she can? Because she likes to show off?
    I liked it. She has amazing skills.

  2. neo-neocon Says:

    Kevino:

    Yes, amazing skills.

    IMHO, dancing—really dancing—is not one of them. I don’t see the flow and the abandon.

    Actually, although I’m pretty sure she does have amazing skills, what she’s doing in that particular clip is not so very hard.

  3. parker Says:

    Is that a green tambourine?

  4. kevino Says:

    RE: “IMHO, dancing, really dancing, is not one of them.”
    I agree, but I admire her balance and poise.

  5. neo-neocon Says:

    Kevino:

    She certainly does have balance and poise.

  6. neo-neocon Says:

    parker;

    I did have to actually play that tambourine as I danced. That photo of me was taken during a dress rehearsal, and it’s posed. If memory serves me, during the performance the tambourine had ribbon streamers coming from it, something like the ones on the hat only narrower.

    I was performing the Neapolitan (Italian) dance from Act III. Like this, only somewhat different choreography. I think my costume was much nicer. Unlike her, I didn’t do a lot of standing around and waiting during the fast parts, either; there was more dancing. And unlike her, I didn’t fake-slap that tambourine. I really let that thing have it:

  7. Alan W Says:

    I’ve only seen one ballet in my life: the Nutcraker at the Lincoln Center. I surprised myself by staying awake for the entire performance even though I had spent the day walking all over Manhattan. I was especially taken with the woman who performed the Arabian Dance (not just because her costume was quite skimpy). I wanted to cry out like Herod when Salome danced: “Ask anything of me, up to half my kingdom.”

  8. n.n Says:

    So cute! And talented. Talented and so cute!

  9. neo-neocon Says:

    Alan W:

    The Arabian dance is often a show-stopper and can be very sexy.

  10. vanderleun Says:

    I would pay real folding money to see the Japanese kids dance this. The rest, with one exception, meh.

  11. parker Says:

    I am certain you play a tambourine with all the skill of Ringo. The photo just for no reason made me thibk of that stupid song.

  12. Waidmann Says:

    Back in the late 1980s, my wife and I were in Paris for a vacation and saw flyers in the Metro Stations for the Kirov Ballet Company performing “La Belle au bois Dormant” (or something like that. On a whim, we decided to attend the Ballet.

    Turns out it was “Sleeping Beauty”, but we didn’t know it until about halfway through the first act. It was a matinee, and during the intermission dozens of little girls (who looked very much like the girls in your YouTube) danced in the aisles with their arms in the air in their pretty dance costumes. It was fun to watch.

    Waidmann

  13. kevino Says:

    RE: Nutcracker Arabian dance
    That’s my favorite dance from the Nutcracker. I’ve seen it live, but I’ve seen several great ballet companies do the Nutcracker thanks to Ovation’s yearly contest. The slow motion, balance, and poise required is awesome.

    When I saw Svetlana’s performance I thought of the Arabian dance. Several dances done by Lia Cirio (Boston Ballet) also come to mind. She does a fabulous job of holding poses and turning en pointe without being assisted.

  14. Ralph Kinney Bennett Says:

    Tambourine Girl. Be still my heart.

  15. chuck Says:

    I’m surprised that your teacher’s costume fit. Did it take work, or were the two of you about the same size?

  16. neo-neocon Says:

    chuck:

    It’s not surprising that it fit. Dancers are often similar in size and slenderness, and the bodice laced up, so there was a fair amount of play there.

    It was such a beautiful costume! Those applique flowers were of something like silk. Very colorful. And the hat was great, too.

  17. Dave Says:

    The left likes to criticize the right’s anti-abortion stance and their claim of protecting the rights of unborn babies as their cover for oppression against women. In the same token, couldn’t the right use the same logic to claim that the left’s social justice stance is nothing more than using fighting for rights of minority ethnic groups as an excuse to destroy people’s right to free speech while silencing those who dare to criticize the left since criticizing the left equals racism.

  18. Jeannine Says:

    Neo, you are beautiful!

  19. Sharon W Says:

    Lovely, Neo. So nice to see you in your ballet days. You are amazing in your multi-faceted interests, skills and abilities.

  20. neo-neocon Says:

    Jeannine:

    Thanks!

    Remember, I was 16 there, though.

  21. neo-neocon Says:

    Ralph Kinney Bennett:

    ♫ Hey, Miss Tambourine Girl, play a song for me ♫

  22. Lee Says:

    My little girl dance recital ballet costumes were cute. I actually still have them. I had a kind of Balanchine tutu the first year, and a classical tutu the following year. Subsequent costumes were more modern: some sort of single layer chiffon skirt over a knit leotard. When I started dancing a little more seriously, I danced in Opera, not in ballets, and all the costumes were…

    Not interesting. To put it nicely.

    Sigh.

    Danced in La Traviata, Carmen… and others I’ve since forgotten. If I were so inclined, I’d get up and look in the steamer trunk where my recital costumes are and look up the programs… But to be honest, I don’t care that much.

    It’s funny, at this point if I were given free tickets to a ballet — a performance of Giselle, or Swan lake ; or an opera — Barber of Seville, or Carmen, for example; I’d go for the opera.
    In my teens and twenties, when I still danced, I’dve gone for the ballet. I saw Nureyev dance in Giselle at L’Opera in Paris, but remember a production of Met Die Fledermaus production better…

  23. AMartel Says:

    Adorable kids!

  24. n.n Says:

    The apple is lifted, revealing Neo-neocon with poise, grace, and talent. Not to mention an attractive, what, teen, twenty-something?

  25. MollyNH Says:

    Charming!

  26. Steve57 Says:

    I am sure you are even more lovely now than you were at 16. And that’s a beautiful picture. You have the kind of beauty that’s more than skin deep. It even comes across on the intertubes.

  27. Steve57 Says:

    I haven’t forgotten the mouse story. And how your son had to work overtime not to laugh.

    I have to tell you, I’d have had to work overtime not to laugh.

  28. stu Says:

    Neo my wife, like you, was a ballerina in her youth. She has incredible legs still, which I assume are part genetic and part due to dance. Like you she was beautiful at 16,remains so today, just different.

  29. Steve57 Says:

    Is it wrong for me to notice that a 16 y.o. girl can be beautiful? I’m not Judge Roy Moore, I’m not going to hit on her. What kind of world have we descended into?

  30. neo-neocon Says:

    Thanks for the compliments!

  31. Steve57 Says:

    neo, thanks for noticing they’re compliments.

  32. Steve57 Says:

    The time I was falsely accused. The woman refused to accuse me, although the men were pressuring her hard. And my XO, also a woman, knew I could not possibly be the bastard they were painting me our to be. Thanks to the women, I survived. And I’m sorry I can’t be more explicit.

  33. Steve57 Says:

    No, nothing happened.

  34. ben david Says:

    Very charming photo of yourself. It seems you also danced with the verve of a plisetskaya.

    And i totally agree with you that she is *dancing* – from the moment she thrusts her torso forward, perfectly capturing the character. That other chick is posing like a showgirl.

  35. Julia Says:

    LOVE the little girls!

    One major difference between the next 2 videos:
    Maya Plisetskaya has real legs, as opposed to Svetlana who has stick legs.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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