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Comments

Taylor

Wow, that first photo is amazing!

Loving your coverage of the competition, Philip!

Philip

Thanks, Taylor...will you be at any of the Competition events?

Taylor

Unfortunately, no. This week is packed for me...busy busy. Living vicariously through your posts :)

Philip

...and I'm living vicariously thru these dancers!

Sibyl

OK, I have noticed this a lot over the past few years, but I have never had a chance to mention it, but it was so apparent in these beautiful photos I have to. All the younger girls I see dancing now use an open, or raised, hip in arabesque to achieve a higher extension. I was trained by a martinet of a former-Kirov dancer, who was a maniacal (maybe even sadistic) technique fanatic, that the hip is NOT meant to be open in arabesque, as while it makes for a high extension it distorts the line of the back and shoulders. It's also less stable. You get out to the ballet more than I (I live in the sticks on very limited means, no complaining but there it is), and I would like to know when you first noticed this trend and whether you think it's all part of the post-Sylvie Guillem higher-higher-higher thing, or whether I am just being a persnickety old-timey technique snob (which I might well be).

Philip

I hope some people who know more about this might comment on your question, Sibyl.

The first ballets I ever saw were Balanchine works in the 1970s and I assumed that THAT was the way things were supposed to look. Later when I saw more conservative arabesques and extensions they looked...conservative.

Sibyl

Thanks for answering! After I wrote I was thinking that technique is not some immutable gospel handed down from some perfect past, despite one's (meaning my) preference for what one was at pains to learn. The generation of ballerinas who danced in corsets were probably similarly sniffy about later dancers whose torsos were freer. And Kirov-trained dancers (like my teacher) could be really catty about Balanchine's innovations (I recall Makarova making a remark about Mr. B's emphasis on speed and amplitude being because it takes too long to put a proper back and shoulders on a dancer). Thanks for letting me hazard a question and thanks for all that you write.

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