Wednesday, April 13, 2011

This and That

Daisuke Murakami at the Triglav Trophy

First look at Karina Smirnoff in Playboy.

Shawn Johnson training in March. (Somehow I missed this.)

Stephen Carriere is going to Boston College and has given up skating pairs, which is good, because he is tiny and lacks speed and power.  He will continue to skate singles.

The Swan Lake Performance on Macy's Stars of Dance

The Crimson Tide at NCAA Regionals.

Maks on his and Kirstie's true dancing talents.

Kendra and Louis on Kendra being ''emotional.'' (AKA bitchy with a bad attitude.)



  1. I remember when I was little, one could still watch ballet performances or dance documentaries on tv. Dance In America and regular docu series the making of dance and dancers, or performance on channels such as old skool Bravo and A&E were the mainstays of ballet and dance fans.

    It's sad that now the average American gets exposure to ballet via junked-up performance of Swan Lake, one of the greatest works of art both musically and choreographically, on "dance" show like DWTS. Don't get me wrong, DWTS is brainless fun, but it's not substitute for true dancing on tv, something that I miss tremendously.

    And people wonder why Americans aren't as appreciative of performing arts or arts in general like people in other countries. It's because tv programming caters now to those with lowest taste level.

  2. Im getting more and more impatient to know what is going on with Shawn, Nastia and Chellsie's comebacks. The little peaks from Shawn sorta make it worse because they are such a tease. I want to see a floor routine! A beam routine! I dont care what but a routine! Classics/nationals cant come soon enough.

  3. One could argue that dance is more accessible to Americans than it has been in a long long time.

  4. I agree with Anon at 4:51. Time to fish or cut bait girls!! Hahaha. I think all of them have said their goal is to compete at CoverGirl Classic so they can qualify to Nats...

  5. "One could argue that dance is more accessible to Americans than it has been in a long long time."

    But based upon what evidence? And which kinds of dance? My grandmother said she used to watch Ed Sullivan and other shows like that on tv where ballet would be regular features. She said stars like Erik Bruhn, Rudolf Nureyev, and other Balanchine, American dancers were what introduced her to ballet. There are YT vids of historic performances from those shows. Anyways, my GM ended up driving 80+ miles to actually see NYCB performances because of seeing ballet on tv.

    I wouldn't call shows like SYTYCD high art, but that's the extent of mainstream dance exposure today.

  6. Dance hasn't been seen much on TV since the variety shows went off the air at the end of the 70s.

  7. that playboy shot reduced Karina to a porno star. She is so much sexier in her barely there outfits on dancing with the stars than unflattering mesh onsie that screams too much information.

  8. Dance just isn't accessible to the masses. It's too expensive for live performances, so people just aren't interested in it.

    I don't think it's indicative of anything except that art is too expensive. I would love to go to the ballet, but at $100 a ticket, I probably won't be going for a long time.

  9. Tickets to the ballet at major American companies actually start at around $45-50. Granted, it's towards the back, but to experience it live is worth the money. It's expensive to go to baseball games, but fans still make the effort to go. I think performing arts just aren't interesting to majority of Americans due to many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that we simply do not get exposed to it in mainstream media, unlike many other countries like France, Russia, or even Great Britain.

    American mainstream media used to promote the arts, or make an effort at promoting culture. I mean, Gelsey Kirkland was on the cover of Time Magazine in the '70s. Can you imagine a ballerina on the cover of a major magazine now? I can't, well unless the ballerina is diddling Charlie Sheen.

  10. Really, really rich people prefer that the 'rabble' don't like Ballet or Opera - they'd rather keep it to themselves and laugh at all the "ignorant cattle" who can't appreciate 'high art' because it makes it easier to dehumanize them and therefore less painful to outsource their jobs or cut their insurance benefits.

    I have a few relatives who have become extremely rich who in their earlier lives would not have touched Opera with 10 foot poles who suddenly become big Opera-lovers because that was something that those people do.

    It's sad. As others have said, I remember when PBS had more of a mission to make the 'elite arts' accessible to the unwashed masses. I guess a lot of masses were not interested, but some kids like myself paid attention and I miss seeing it on TV (actually, I have never quite adjusted to how loud the feet of ballet dancers sound live on stage, they never mike the feet on TV or in the movies.)

  11. It's only expensive to go to certain ballparks, just to clarify. Yankee stadium and Fenway can charge what they want, but I went to a Rockies game for $20 about five years ago. Most baseball stadiums have a difficult time filling seats -- ditto Broadway, and ditto other performance art. The economy has made art inaccessible and there is a culture surrounding art that makes many people feel unwelcome.

    I think the mainstream media still promotes culture. Maybe not ballet, but that doesn't mean that we're culturally bankrupt or lacking sophisticated taste. We need to have a more flexible understanding of what constitutes culture.

  12. Well, Bravo and A&E had ballet performances as part of its regular programming as recently as the late '90s. Now Bravo is known for housewives with plastic tits as its "stars", while A&E has also turned into bizarre reality show central.

    Really, I'm not that old, I'm in my 30s but I feel like I had the opportunities to be exposed to more cultural, artistic programming on tv, as compared to kids and teen of today. Shit I sound like an old fart, but I can remember being entranced watching an A&E documentary on ballerinas in the early '90s, presented by Natalia Makarova the famous ballerina and frequent partner of Baryshnikov.

    It made me want to learn more about the art and led me to start taking ballet as a twelve year-old. Being in love with dance also opened my eyes and mind to other arts. None of my family were artistically-inclined sorry to say, so if I hadn't been exposed to dance via television, I would never have had any chance to develop and appreciate in these arts.

  13. "there is a culture surrounding art that makes many people feel unwelcome.

    I think the mainstream media still promotes culture. Maybe not ballet, but that doesn't mean that we're culturally bankrupt or lacking sophisticated taste. We need to have a more flexible understanding of what constitutes culture."

    Performing arts like opera, ballet, and symphony, these are the arts that were once more accessible to mainstream viewers in the U.S.. If you go to Russia, you'll be surprised at how many working-class people actually attend these concerts and are knowledgeable fans of these arts. I lived in St. Petersburg as a student of Russian, oh for about 8 months, and I was shocked at the level of expertise the average person of the street had in regards to what's considered "high arts" here in the U.S.. But then it's not shocking once you see that their media regularly show concerts and profiles on artists. It's part of their culture.

    I don't know what you mean by culture surrounding art that is not encouraging to "regular" people attending performances. I think the misconception exists more on the part of people who make excuses of NOT wanting to be open to performing arts. I don't know where you sit, maybe you sit with the ultra rich people near center orchestra. Are some of those people going to be snooty? Sure, they can be.

    I can only speak from my own experiences at the SF Opera, SF Symphony, and SF Ballet, but the majority of people who attend performances are middle-class people with regular jobs, families with kids, older couples, younger couples, etc...

    I've been volunteering for SF Symphony and SF Ballet for years, and prior to that I attended performances regularly with my mother. For the record, we were far from rich, my late mother managed a Chinese restaurant, and she was a single parent. But you know what, we went because we loved the arts and I am forever grateful that she instilled a love for art in my brother and I when we were children. We knew (and I still know) many season subscriber families whose background were/ are far from grand. It's truly a misconception that only wealthy people attend operas, symphonies, and ballets.

    For example, most companies have 1/2 price tickets for students, plus as someone mentioned, tickets start in the $40s. I've personally gone to SF Giants, 49er games and spent more on those outings than on a night or matinee opera or ballet performances.

  14. Well, I don't live in a major US city like San Francisco, so my access to ballet companies is pretty limited. In order to get to the nearest city, I'd have to take Amtrak, which costs a substantial sum, and then buy a ticket to the performance, and then probably rent a hotel room for the night. Adds up quickly when you aren't in certain locations.

    Listen, I wish I had more exposure to ballet, had more opportunities to go to orchestra performances, more chances to learn about opera. I just don't. My family prioritized their limited free time around other things they enjoyed that did not involve leaving the house, like watching baseball games. Having no childhood experience with it, when I went to my first and only ballet performance, I personally felt like a huge fraud surrounded by people who were talking about other ballet performances they'd been to (this is a personal issue, yes, I know that, but it's something I think about), and I just don't have the time or energy to learn about the medium in a way that would make me feel okay with going. Maybe one day, but right now, I can't. Also, um, not many people of color in the ballet.

    plus, idk, I think $40 is a lot of money. especially for families... a family of 4, you're looking at almost $200. meep.

    My point isn't to say that people shouldn't go to ballet. I am worried I might be misrepresenting my opinions. I would love for ballet to be on television. My original point was to contest the notion that American culture is on a decline and we're regressing as a society because no one wants to go to the ballet or cares about ballet, or that the lack of ballet in mainstream media is a serious problem. Ballet is something that doesn't translate on television really that well, and people don't always have the means to go to the ballet.

  15. Yeah, I used one of those discounted half price tickets for students. A $60 ticket turned to $30. I spent $30 for the privilege of dressing up, sitting in a chair for 3 hours, and watching from the nosebleed seats. Couldn't even go to the bathroom in the middle of the performance, unless I wanted to wait outside the auditorium until intermission. Ballet/opera/symphony is for the snoots who have money to throw around.

    Now that I'm out of school, any decent ticket is $100. Going to the movies is only $8 and I can get up and come in as I please.

  16. LOL. I am HARDLY rich (spouse is a teacher and I stay at home with the kids), yet I go to the opera, symphony and ballet at least once a year. Trust me, 99 percent of the people there are not "snoots." They're average Joes and Janes dressed in jeans and T-shirts.

  17. ^^^
    So true. The only people who hold on to the myth that only the super rich go to these concerts either have never been to these shows, only went once and didn't like it, or disguise their lack of interest (which is totally fine) by saying performing arts are for rich "snoots"

    I'm a jr. high French teacher and I do go to them at least couple of times a year. Majority of people I see there are usually dressed very casually, last time I went, this past February, I went in jeans and a Gap blazer.

  18. Bravo really went to shit in the last few years. The housewives shows were a fun diversion at first, but the entire network is nothing like what it used to be. It won't change because people watch it. That is a sad statement about society. I was guilty of being addicted to housewives, but I began to realize that nothing ever happens and the entire thing is devoted to being a preview of what is supposedly going to happen the next week.

    Admittedly, I'm a huge nerd who loved the Cirque du Soleil series and LOVE Inside The Actor's Studio.