(86) Misty Copeland’s Clap Back & Ballet’s Chance for a Turning Point

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It’s just Rebecca and Michael this week as they sit down to discuss some of the stories that have been making news recently.  We talk about Misty Copeland’s epic and graceful response to a Twitter troll last week (7:55) and discuss Avichai Scher’s article for the Huffington Post, “The Me Too Moment Is Ballet’s Chance for a Turning Point” (16:15).  We will be going to San Francisco April 20-25th to partner with San Francisco Ballet to bring you coverage from their massive “Unbound” Festival, which will feature 12 new works by 12 choreographers in 17 days (34:48).  Subscribe now to Conversations on Dance in iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts to automatically be notified when new episodes are available.

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One thought on “(86) Misty Copeland’s Clap Back & Ballet’s Chance for a Turning Point

  1. I am a great fan of your podcast and love how knowledgeable and thoughtful you both are about dance, but I will admit I was disappointed with your coverage of the recent Misty Copeland controversy. At one point Rebecca says, she must have done (the fouettés) before, and you reinforce the narrative that Misty was having a bad day. However, as documented in the Washington Post (https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/theater_dance/a-show-of-virtuosos-swan-lake-shimmers-with-strong-women/2017/01/29/e17c35e8-e664-11e6-acf5-4589ba203144_story.html) and the NYT (https://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/06/14/arts/dance/swan-lake-and-its-32-fouettes.html) Misty has historically NOT been able to do them. Regardless, I agree that if the rest of the performance is successful, the fouettés don’t necessarily matter.

    My main point of contention is the painting of those who are critical of her dancing as trolls, unknowledgeable of dance, or only valuing technique over artistry, in the conversation at large. In my experience, many of those who are not fans (and I include myself in this) are regular ballet goers, ABT subscribers in particular. As you know, the Met season and dancer’s careers are short and precious. Most of the frustration stems from the fact that a Swan Lake of this technical level gets TWO performances at the Met, while other dancers who are equally or perhaps (what some consider) “more” proficient and talented get none. Obviously this frustration is misdirected, as it is the artistic staff’s decision and not the dancer’s, but perhaps this illuminates a different perspective. Furthermore, it is strange that people are being asked not to voice their dissenting opinions in the name of art, when critical thinking is a large part of artistic practice. It is equally bizarre that one is not supposed to comment on anything that one can’t do themselves, since we all voice our opinions on music, writing, visual art and the like.

    Obviously we all have our preferences when it comes to dancers, but why is it not okay to not like Misty Copeland?

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