Wednesday, December 15, 2010

This and That

Raj Bhavsar signed a two-year contract with Cirque du Soleil.

UCLA held their intrasquad today.  Olivia Courtney was the top All Arounder.  Sam Peszek hit vault and bars but randomly fell on beam.  She didn't perform on floor due to ongoing ankle problems.  Those who follow Sam on twitter know she hasn't been pleased with her performance at intrasquads, which is really only reflective on floor.  Sam likes to train and condition compulsively, but cannot due to her ankles flaring up.  Brittany McCullough is looking fierce.  She is performing a HUGE piked full in.  Videos of the intrasquad will be posted on shortly.  The Bruins plan on easing up the tumbling for the next few weeks, as a few of the girls having nagging ankle injuries.

Justin Spring was officially named to Head Coach of the University of Illinois' Men's Gymnastics Team.

NYC Ballerina Jennifer Ringer was criticized by a New York Times reviewer for having eaten 'one sugar plum too many.'  Ringer is not remotely fat in real life.  She is beyond petite for the normal person.  Yet, it cannot be denied that the ballet aesthetic is severe and quite unhealthy.  The reviewer should not have included Ringer's weight (especially in such a snide way), but it is true that for a ballerina, she is quite womanly.  Ringer has a gorgeous body.  Ballerinas just tend to have the figures of ten-year-old boys.

Joannie Rochette is CBC Sports' Female Athlete of the Year.

An interview with Tatiana Navka.

Johnny Weir at Holiday Dreams On Ice

Johnny Weir Interview:


  1. Probably one of the best interviews with Johnny I've seen.

  2. Haven't watched the interviews, but damn, that hair...yeesh and yuck. Johnny, love ya, get a haircut. Even Plushy's mullet doesn't look that bad and he has (had) the worst hair in figure skating.


  4. Great interview. Interesting moment with the interviewer on the Polish connection -- they seemed to really get each other. Fascinating.

  5. That ballerina looks COMPLETELY fine. Like seriously. That writer is an idiot. Or maybe the ballet is stupid if everyone must look like a little boy. I was to see female ballerinas, not boy ballerinas! Actually, I don't want to watch a ballet at all, but you get what I'm saying

  6. Jennifer Ringer is not fat, but she also understands that being a ballerina means being subjected to physical scrutiny, it's part of the job description similar to high fashion models. Being just a tad overweight can impact a ballerina's line not to mention technique, it's cruel but it's a fact.

    I had aspirations of becoming a ballerina but despite 10+ years of dancing and sacrificing, it wasn't to be. II have hyperextended knees which, while aesthetically prized in ballet, prevents me from jumping well. I wanted to be a principal or at least a soloist, not just a corp de ballet member. To be a soloist or higher, a ballerina needs to both jump and turn well, I only had half of that equation. I finally had to let go after re-injuring/ forcing myself beyond my physical capabilities.

    Fairness doesn't exist in ballet. Even if you have the talent, you must have the look as well. Few years ago some parents sued the School of SF Ballet because their daughter wasn't promoted to the next level of the curriculum. She was overweight even by non-dancer standards nor were her skills impressive. This was a pre-professional school which reserves the right to pick students it promotes to advanced levels, it wasn't there to preserve students' self-esteems.

    The point is, if you don't wish to be critiqued for your appearance, don't go into ballet as a performer. Yes, the reviewer's comments were catty, but he has the right to state his views. Jennifer Ringer probably knows she's a couple of pounds over her dancing weight by American standards. In Europe, not counting Russia, ballerina aesthetics are a lot closer to real life than here in the States. For example, POB ballerinas all have very normal weight. But nowhere is the extremely thin ballerina look more prevalent than in Russia, it's seriously a sickness over there...sad.

  7. how did allison taylor do at the intersquad

  8. Anon @ 9:14,
    Since you don't know anything about ballet, you probably shouldn't say anything. Are you also saying that I, as a small-chested, naturally thin, petite woman, am less of a woman and should be referred to as a little boy? A woman isn't just about her shape or body, we shouldn't think less of a woman because she's not naturally curvy or hasn't resorted to fake boobs. Talk about putting women down.

    No one is saying Jennifer Ringer is fat, just that she can stand to maybe tone up a bit. Ballet is very an unforgiving art. In the past, ballerinas were of normal weight, but now especially during the past 2 decades, technical standards have improved so much that even a couple of pounds would negatively affect one's dancing.

    For example, even as late as the mid'80s, ballerinas didn't used to do jetes with fully stretched-out legs at 180 degree angle. Now, it's a given that a grand jete means 180/ stretched-out legs/ great height. Like sports in general, ballet technique standards has also improved. As a result, a ballerina's build has become increasingly more lithe. You cannot have high jumps or have quick feet or terre-a-terre technique if you are even slightly overweight.

    Some dancers get carried away and become too skinny. These are usually dancers at extremes of body types. At one end is the tall, big-boned dancer, who stays at unhealthily thin weight because she has to stay light for her partner and to have good line. Then there's the petite dancer who may lose too much weight in hopes of looking taller on stage.

    My personal experience has been that the taller/ big girls have it harder and are more likely to engage in EDs than petite girls like myself. Many of us are naturally small to begin with, so we don't have the pressure to be stick thin like taller dancers.

  9. So, Johnny resurrected "Ave Maria" again as he does every time a non-lady Gaga program is required. not bad, a shadow of the way he performed it here

    but kudos for keeping his triple lutz. that's more than a lot of pro skaters can say.

    Bad Romance is just as much of a hot mess as ever. I can't thinking "chorus of the evil mice the nutcracker on Disney of Ice" or maybe a wicked witch of something. Performing that sickening choreo in that cartoon costume makes him loose all credibility.

  10. "A witch told me a died in the holocaust"

    yeah. right Johnny. that made you sound really sane.

  11. "No one is saying Jennifer Ringer is fat, just that she can stand to maybe tone up a bit."

    How can you decide she needs to tone up a bit when she's buried under that big fluffy costume? Talk about absurd. As for height on jumps.. look at gymnastics. The girls with some power and musculature to their legs can get great height on their jumps. As long as ballet focuses on being anorexicly tiny to complete the skills rather than focusing on proper technique/muscular strength, not many people will take it seriously.

  12. "So, Johnny resurrected "Ave Maria" again as he does every time a non-lady Gaga program is required"

    No, he doesn't skate to Ave Maria every time a non-Lady Gaga exhibition is required.

    He just started Ave Maria this month because of the Christmas' season.

  13. Anon @ 11:53,
    Many people take ballet seriously, maybe you don't, but I'd venture to say it's still very popular around the world and taken as a serious art.

    I made my comment because I'm close to NYC and I've seen Ms. Ringer dance recently and yes, she does seem a bit heavier than her usual weight. Regarding the costumes, some of those things weigh as much as 20 lbs. Have you ever attempted to jump while wearing 20 lbs. of costume? I have, and it's not easy even if you're in average shape.

    If you know anything about ballet technique and aesthetics, you would know how the two affect each other. Ballet is more difficult than gymnastics in that while it athletic in a way, it's more of an art. Nothing is supposed to look forced or emphasized as in sports. So to compare gymnasts to ballerinas is rather laughable.

  14. "Being just a tad overweight can impact a ballerina's line not to mention technique, it's cruel but it's a fact."

    "...technical standards have improved so much that even a couple of pounds would negatively affect one's dancing."

    I am so sick of hearing these arguments about both ballet and gymnastics. It's largely bullshit. The fact is everyone's body is DIFFERENT. Hence, the APPEARANCE of each person means something different in terms of his/her physical fitness.

    We might not like the way a particular athlete/dancer looks, but if they are training everyday and competing/performing, likely they have the muscle to compensate for whatever fat they are carrying.

    There are so many heavier athletes/dancers that perform amazingly, at the top, that to equate a higher weight with poor performance is way too simple an argument. If you look closely, those comments are more often aesthetically driven, as was the NYTimes critic's comment, which is what makes me so angry.

    And, by the way, this is precisely what Jennifer Ringer stated in her interview: the NYCB represents different body types (none of which are overweight, so yes, there is a narrow range of "different"), and they all dance beautifully. In fact, the heaviest dancer in the company, is in my opinion the MOST beautiful dancer.

    We love to think that it's a "sad fact" that you have to be like a stick to perform at the top in ballet and gymnastics, but, wake up people, IT'S NOT TRUE. You have to be able to perform, period, and there is more than one body type that can do that.

  15. And the idea that Jennifer Ringer needs to "tone up a bit" is f*cking dim-witted.

  16. Jennifer Ringer is gorgeous and I would say that being any thinner than her is too-thin!

  17. Alexandra,
    Are you a dancer? You seem very empirical about your opinions regarding ballet aesthetics and technique. Speaking for myself and a lot of my dancers, I can say that being just a couple of pounds over my dancing weight affected my technique. It may not be noticeable to the audience but I can definitely notice it myself.

    For example, when I was 5 lbs. over my dancing weight (at 5'2" 107 lbs, my dancing weight was 102-103 lbs.), I couldn't easily get my free leg high and extended on my fouette a la seconde or Italian fouettes, nor could I do simple series of entrechat quatre with the same lightness. Now carrying extra 5 lbs AND wearing heavy-ass costume? Forget it!

    As far as toning up, when the audience can see flab on your arms, then yes maybe it's time to tone up those arms, as is the case in Jennifer Ringer's case. That's just ballet aesthetics. Jennifer herself readily admits there are different body types, it just happens that the preferred body type is one that is very lithe.

    No one, myself included, is calling for her to even lose 5 lbs.; I don't even think she's fat for a dancer. There is however a fine line between dancing weight and 2 lbs. over dancing weight, that's the category where I feel she falls under. My preferred body type for ballerinas is actually one that is on the muscular side. Thin, petite yet muscular dancers like Diana Vishneva to me is the perfect body type over extremely thin and tall ballerinas like Alina Somova or Uliana Lopatkina.

  18. For fucks sake, it's impossible to dance en pointe AND be slightly overweight or even normal weight if you dance professionally. Unless you want to fuck up your ankles and feet because they won't be able to sustain the extra weight put on them. Trufax.

    It's easier to have varied body types in a modern company like NYCB than at a classical company that does Swan Lake, La Bayadere, Giselle, etc...... NYCB's bread and butter is Balanchine, not classical works. Neoclassical choreo tend to be more forgiving to different body types.

    Ballet dancers tend to be perfectionists, hence scrutiny over their bodies is nothing new. Hang out with dancers in the studio, listen to how they talk about each other and yes, each others' bodies, and you will be shocked at how critical they are of each other. What this critic said is mild compared to what most dancers hear from their peers. Trust.

    That said, it's one thing to comment on a dancer's weight, it's another to be an ass about it. From comments on ballet boards and friends who had seen her, it seems like Jennifer's solos in Nutcracker weren't her best. She couldn't hold her poses and seemed slower than usual. IDK if it had to do with weight gain, if it had then the reviewer should've said so instead of making snide remarks that weren't constructive criticism.

  19. Thanks for posting the great Johnny interview, Aunt Joyce. I've got to watch again to look closer at all the gorgeous pictures and clips! Can't wait to read the book & hope he goes into lengthy detail about his big relationship (with Drew?).

  20. Anonymous 12:44
    I am a former dancer. I disagree with nearly everything you've written. I flatly do not believe that being "a couple of pounds" over one's "dancing weight" necessarily affects technique. (If you stop training and gain 5 lbs on a 5'2'' frame, of course your technique might suffer, but not if you are continuously training during the gain. When you talk about weight gain, other factors play a role - over what period of time and under what conditions.)

    But weight in and of itself, or BMI for that matter, is not an indicator of the level of someone's technique!!!! Try dancing 5-7 hours per day at a weight of 107 lbs, and you'd be able to get your leg up in fouettes and have great ballon.

    You stating Jennifer Ringer has flab on her arms is so low-class, I will make no further comment.

    And lastly, Diana Vishneva IS extremely thin -- have you ever met her?? She has been down to skin and bones at certain times during her career; try a Youtube search.