Author Topic: Ballet Critic tells ballerina she looks fat  (Read 10291 times)

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Elfqueen13

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Re: Ballet Critic tells ballerina she looks fat
« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2010, 10:57:04 AM »
I would expect a review about a ballet performance to have criticism about whether she lifter her leg high enough or what have you.  SOmebody could be 80 pounds and not able to dance so I don't see weight as having a correlation with her skill at dancing.  EIther she did the steps/moves well or she didn't.  Tell me about that.

In dance, body shape changes how a movement looks.  You can take 5 women of different body types and equal skill, line them up and have them dance the same steps in unison and you will get 5 different dances.
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M-theory

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Re: Ballet Critic tells ballerina she looks fat
« Reply #16 on: December 15, 2010, 10:58:02 AM »
No ruder than my stating that his style of writing suggests he's had one stick in the rectum too many.

Red1979

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Re: Ballet Critic tells ballerina she looks fat
« Reply #17 on: December 15, 2010, 10:58:34 AM »
I don't think he needs to apologize for doing his job.

The ballerina even said he didn't need to apologize.

Maintaining her body is part of her job, and his job is to write about whether or not she is doing her job well. She has a beautiful body, but it is certainly larger than what you might expect to see of a professional ballerina.

But he didn't critique her job.  He just said she looked larger.  He didn't say that it effected her dancing in any way.  I understand that it's part of some people's job to look a certain way but dancers are athletes--its about how they look as their bodies move.  If she wasn't dancing well because of her size, I'd say he was more than correct in commenting on it, but if her size isn't effecting the dancing, why include it?  Why is it necessary?

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ShadesOfGrey

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Re: Ballet Critic tells ballerina she looks fat
« Reply #18 on: December 15, 2010, 10:59:17 AM »
I see her body form as part of the performance - she's embodying a character.  When these roles are cast, they are cast with a certain body type in mind based on the character they are to perform.  You wouldnt cast a 300lb man who was supposed to "flittler away gracefully as an effeminate dove" kwim? So in that sense, maybe he was critiquing the casting. 
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PeasNCues

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Re: Ballet Critic tells ballerina she looks fat
« Reply #19 on: December 15, 2010, 11:00:22 AM »
If it were an accurate statement and she was actually overweight, I could see it (but still think he was a jerk since obviously the weight didn't affect her dancing).

But that "one sugarplum too many" is muscle - this is a woman who is extremely fit, which is why she is such a superb dancer. As she said, she was unable to maintain a high level of quality dancing as a stick, so she put on muscle and got healthy and dances wonderfully. So, it's not that she's flabby. I just don't understand, I guess.

But the ballerina aesthetic is petite - not muscular of her size.  It's great for her that she can shake this off, that she's a strong athletic woman, but that doesnt invalidate his critique.
I just think saying she eats too much is not accurate. I understand she's more muscular that one would expect of a prima ballerina, but to basically accuse her of overeating and being overweight when neither one of those is near true is just being catty.
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Piratelvr1121

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Re: Ballet Critic tells ballerina she looks fat
« Reply #20 on: December 15, 2010, 11:02:17 AM »

And yes, I am a Gilmore Girls fan, and I am flashing back on Rory's review of a play in which she wrote about a ballerina with rolls of "back fat." I can't say that was right either, but that was a comedy tv show and not meant to be taken seriously.

That was the first thing that popped to mind when I saw the thread title.   And from what I remember, the ballerina in the episode didn't do that great of a job in the first place, since you see Rory and Lorelai cringing as she danced.
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Twik

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Re: Ballet Critic tells ballerina she looks fat
« Reply #21 on: December 15, 2010, 11:04:32 AM »
As they say, any publicity is good publicity.

Not if it could, perhaps, send her back into anorexia. It's not good publicity if it kills you.

Quote
 And yes, she is a lovely woman.  As a prima ballerina she is held to a different standard than a non-athlete would be (or than a gymnast would be, or a runner, or a swimmer).  

Actually, I've never heard a sportswriter say, "X won the race in record time, but egads, his rear is big".

There is no objective reason why a ballerina has to be stick-thin, far beyond what normal women (even athletes) would be. Any more than there's a reason why critics should have to be below a certain body-fat proportion. If it's the "ballerina aethetic", common sense says it's high time that it's changed, rather than send more young women into serious eating disorders.
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jimithing

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Re: Ballet Critic tells ballerina she looks fat
« Reply #22 on: December 15, 2010, 11:05:36 AM »
The fact is, this is a highly educated, well trained author for the NY Times. Any 5th grader can make a lame joke about the fat ballerina who eats too many sugarplums. If he wants to have his critique taken seriously, I think he could come up with something much less juvenile, and something that was actually constructive.

I don't think the backlash is because he talked about her body at all. But the *way* he went about it.

hyzenthlay

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Re: Ballet Critic tells ballerina she looks fat
« Reply #23 on: December 15, 2010, 11:07:00 AM »
So in that sense, maybe he was critiquing the casting. 

He was, but in a juvenile manner that obscured what might have been a valid point with a childish insult.

Having read his follow up I think he's been writing as a critic so long he's gotten really lazy about making logical arguments. He's so focused on making those zingers to punch up his column that he's forgetting to actually link them to a sensible review.

TurtleDove

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Re: Ballet Critic tells ballerina she looks fat
« Reply #24 on: December 15, 2010, 11:07:20 AM »
But he didn't critique her job.  

I think this is where some of us disagree.  Some of us believe that her body size/shape has everything to do with her performance because it affects how her dancing movements flow.  Some of us believe her body size/shape has no bearing on her execution of the movements.  For those who believe body size/shape affects perception of movement, mentioning body size/shape would in fact be a critique on how the reviewer enjoyed the dancer's performance (aka her job).

Jan74

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Re: Ballet Critic tells ballerina she looks fat
« Reply #25 on: December 15, 2010, 11:09:41 AM »
I saw a report on this on tv the other night, and it showed a clip of the ballerina performing in the play in question. All I can say is that she danced the part perfectly, and I thought she looked lovely.  If a critic wants to say that a dancer didn't do their job well, then I think that's fair. But for a critic to criticize a dancer NOT for how she performed, but rather for how he perceived her weight, I thought that was bang out of order. I understand that the critic has since posted another article saying that he had every right to comment on the ballerina's body, and that dancer's are fair game to be judged by their looks as their body is their tool for their job. I do not agree. I feel that as long as the dancer is able to perform as flawlessly as this woman did, and that she was able to please her director and move her body through the routine, then that is all that matters. I don't think anyone gets to sit back and comment on the dancer's hair color/skin color/breast size/body size/ etc just because she's in a physical job. This is not a beauty pageant-- it's a dance performance. And she danced perfectly. That's as much as a critic should comment on.

And yes, I am a Gilmore Girls fan, and I am flashing back on Rory's review of a play in which she wrote about a ballerina with rolls of "back fat." I can't say that was right either, but that was a comedy tv show and not meant to be taken seriously.

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No sport or art should require more danger to one's health than necessary (for ex. broken nose during boxing, bad knees from ballet = necessary; a gymnast being 4'9" because if she grows to 5'0", she is an ungraceful oath, or a ballerina having to be at an osteoporosis inducing weight to "look the part" = not necessary).

TurtleDove

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Re: Ballet Critic tells ballerina she looks fat
« Reply #26 on: December 15, 2010, 11:10:27 AM »
The fact is, this is a highly educated, well trained author for the NY Times. Any 5th grader can make a lame joke about the fat ballerina who eats too many sugarplums. If he wants to have his critique taken seriously, I think he could come up with something much less juvenile, and something that was actually constructive.

I don't think the backlash is because he talked about her body at all. But the *way* he went about it.

To be fair, a critic's job is not to be constructive.  It is to provide an opinion about a performance.  I doubt a critique has ever been written that did not offend someone, or hurt someone's feelings.

Red1979

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Re: Ballet Critic tells ballerina she looks fat
« Reply #27 on: December 15, 2010, 11:12:19 AM »
But he didn't critique her job.  

I think this is where some of us disagree.  Some of us believe that her body size/shape has everything to do with her performance because it affects how her dancing movements flow.  Some of us believe her body size/shape has no bearing on her execution of the movements.  For those who believe body size/shape affects perception of movement, mentioning body size/shape would in fact be a critique on how the reviewer enjoyed the dancer's performance (aka her job).

But the writer didn't say that.  I don't think this is really about the dancer.  This is about the critic and his poor writing skills.  He's supposed to be telling us about the show so we can feel like we were there witnessing it.  We know nothing about this dancer besides the fact that she's bigger than the others.  He didn't say that she didn't fit her role or how her size effected her dancing, he just threw in that she was larger.  So what?  It doesn't help any of us figure out how that actually factored into her dancing.

Honestly the weight issue is a red herring here.  This is about a critic who needs a basic lesson in journalism.  If you're going to write a jab at someone at least make it a well thought out point that's clearly connected to the story at hand.  Any idiot can make a fat joke.  It seems like the writer phoned this piece in and didn't put much effort into how he wrote about the production.  
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ShadesOfGrey

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Re: Ballet Critic tells ballerina she looks fat
« Reply #28 on: December 15, 2010, 11:13:47 AM »
In dance, body shape changes how a movement looks. You can take 5 women of different body types and equal skill, line them up and have them dance the same steps in unison and you will get 5 different dances.

Thank you! That's exactly what I was tr;ying to say - you said it much better!
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jimithing

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Re: Ballet Critic tells ballerina she looks fat
« Reply #29 on: December 15, 2010, 11:15:23 AM »
The fact is, this is a highly educated, well trained author for the NY Times. Any 5th grader can make a lame joke about the fat ballerina who eats too many sugarplums. If he wants to have his critique taken seriously, I think he could come up with something much less juvenile, and something that was actually constructive.

I don't think the backlash is because he talked about her body at all. But the *way* he went about it.

To be fair, a critic's job is not to be constructive.  It is to provide an opinion about a performance.  I doubt a critique has ever been written that did not offend someone, or hurt someone's feelings.

Which is totally fine. That doesn't mean what he says isn't rude or mean spirited. I take issue with the posters who are saying that this was a totally fine and appropriate line for a critique. We are discussing this on an etiquette board.

There are a lot of people whose job it is to offend. I love Kathy Griffin. I think she's hilarious. She also crosses the line. A lot. I can still like her and understand it's her job, while also acknowledging what she says is rude and often not approved by etiquette. It doesn't have to be mutually exclusive.