The body in ballet

7 12 2010

Here is a pretty good summary of a recent controversy regarding ballet dancers and weight. Apparently, a critic from the New York Times stated the following about a recent performance of that ballet cash cow (pun entirely intended), The Nutcracker:

Jenifer Ringer, as the Sugar Plum Fairy, looked as if she’d eaten one sugar plum too many; and Jared Angle, as the Cavalier, seems to have been sampling half the Sweet realm.

One wonders what such critics would think if they saw the original Czarist ballerinas dance when they judge such svelte dancers to be too plump. Margot Fonteyn might as well be called obese.

Personally, I think the modern idea of womanhood is emaciated to the point of being androgynous. Modern ballet and dance are certainly choreographed that way in many performances. The masculine and the feminine are indistiguishable, and are often deconstructed in inartful and superficial ways.

If I am not an idealist in daily life, I am at least so in art. But the spectacle of an emaciated ballerina for me is a broken ideal.