‘DanceTopia: The Podcast’ – Ep. 1 ‘On Fouettes and New Beginnings’- Show Notes

I’m thrilled to announce my latest project: DanceTopia: The Podcast!

This is my new bi-monthly podcast where I’ll share news, musings, rants and ramblings about my favorite topic, and yours –dance.

The show notes section is my place to brain dump anything I may have missed or need to clarify from the show and to provide additional context or information about anything that was said during the podcast. The notes will be divided according to the section of the show in which the reference was made.

You can listen to the podcast here.

Warmup 

I realized after I said it that Anytime, Anyplace  was one of the Janet Jackson songs that wasn’t necessarily remembered for its choreography. Instead, when she performed it live, Janet would invite a male member of the crowd on stage and have them sit in a chair or perform the song sitting seductively in a chair alone. But it would have been too awkward to cut it out and, in any case, you get the idea.

You can buy Misty Copeland’s book Ballerina Body on Amazon, or swoop it up at your local library like I did.

^^Not an excuse. This book has tons of photos.

Center Combo 

I know Odette/Odile is a dual role. But Odile was the one doing fouettés so that’s why I said Misty Copeland was Odile as opposed to mentioning both Odette and Odile.

You can find my original blog about the matter here. And you can watch the video and see Misty’s response on Instagram below:

Link in my profile. I’m happy to share this because I will forever be a work in progress and will never stop learning. I learn from seeing myself on film and rarely get to. So thank you. I will always reiterate that I am by no means the best in ballet. I understand my position and what I represent. I know that I’m in a very unique position and have been given a rare platform. All I’ve ever wanted is to bring ballet to more people and to help to diversify it. I’ve worked extremely hard to be where I am and I believe that what I bring to the table is authentic artistry with a unique point of view through my life experiences, and my unusual path and upbringing. Also as a black woman and black ballerina. I would love to see all of the incredible deserving black dancers get the opportunities that I have. I will forever be humbled and extremely grateful for the fact that I get to do what I love for a living, that I get to do all of the incredible roles that I do, in particular Swan Queen. There are so many ballerinas that never get to experience dancing the most iconic and demanding role in a ballerinas repertoire. I have so so so much respect for what I do and for the ballerinas I stand on the shoulders of. I’m in awe everyday that I am a part of such an incredible art form that has changed and enriched my life in so many ways and that I get to do it all with ABT. I don’t decide who’s promoted or what roles I dance. I never envisioned myself as the Swan Queen after being in the company for almost 15 years before i was given the opportunity. I have such deep and conflicting feelings connected to Swan Lake. As a black woman and as a ballerina given the chance to take on this role. I often question if I deserve to perform this role. My conclusion, I do. Some of the most memorable Swan Queens in history have brought so much more to this role without having to present the incredible and evolved technique of today by doing insane tricks that bring some to see Swan Lake. For the anticipated 32 fouettés. But it is so much more than that.

A post shared by Misty Copeland (@mistyonpointe) on

Link in my profile. People come to see ballet for the escape. For the experience of being moved through our movement and artistry, not to score us on the technicality of what we do. This is why ballet is not a sport. A ballerinas career is not, nor should be defined by how many fouettés she executes. They are a part of the choreography to tell a story of pulling off the entrancement she holds over prince Siegfried. The point is to finish the 3rd act with a whirlwind movement that sucks him in just one last time before it’s revealed that Odile is not Odette. This is the incredible beauty of ballet. To move people. I’m happy to have this dialogue because it’s something I believe in whole heartedly. The history of ballet and it’s origin of pure freedom and expression is what we need to hold onto. Not to come into the theatre as a critic armed with judgement. I do appreciate the changes in the ballet technique, focused on evolving our technical abilities, but the point is to move people and for them to understand the stories we tell through dance. And that is an incredible responsibility and opportunity I will never take for granted.

A post shared by Misty Copeland (@mistyonpointe) on

Here’s the link to the NYT article I mentioned.

Even though I’m familiar with Swan Lake and knew very well what people were talking about when news of Misty Copeland’s fouettés surfaced, I’d never actually seen the ballet in its full length (due more to lack of opportunity than lack of interest). I believe that my seeing or not seeing the ballet has no bearing on my argument that it’s both racist and intellectually dishonest to criticize Misty Copeland so heavily for not doing the 32 fouettés. However, because I always want to be as well informed as possible when speaking on the podcast, I went ahead and watched a version of the ballet on Youtube. I’m still right, America is a hateful backwards country that would rather see a McDonald’s eating bigot in the White House than a Brown-skinned woman in ABT.

Other notes: 

Apologies for my jingling bracelets (I’ll have to remember to take those off next time), my hissing radiator and my stuffy nose (the result of my typical post-show head cold).

In the future, I’d like to have transcripts of each show available. However, this week’s took a lot of  time to edit and I wanted to get it up ASAP so transcripts will (hopefully) happen with the next episode. Pray for my fingers.

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