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  1. Just saw an alarming article in the Guardian, which is a follow-up to a report last April about abuse of students at the Vienna State Opera ballet academy. The original article was mostly about physical and verbal abuse. This one is adding the almost unbelievable information that young students are apparently being encouraged to smoke to stay slim. This takes body-shaming to a whole new level. At some point schools, companies, and choreographers are going to really have to revisit this whole business of demanding thinner and thinner dancers. I remember the days when female dancers had breasts and hips and it wasn't a problem. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/17/vienna-ballet-academy-encouraged-children-smoke-stay-slim
  2. I check out the Gresham College YouTube channel from time to time, because it's got a bunch of lectures on different topics, some of which I find really interesting. It looks as though they've recently started a lecture series on Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes; there are two lectures available at the moment, but it looks as though there are going to be more. Here's a link to the first lecture. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEMyqhaK16Y
  3. The actor who took over the James Bond character from Sean Connery has died at the age of 89. https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-40018422?SThisFB&fbclid=IwAR2olNPtSRzTHzeLig6aNDeoEVZtsM9qwFC_L6mCH9RuaKO4BTr4XwKLJjc
  4. It's really amazing how some of these American celebrities think they know so much about the royal family, and have some sort of proprietary rights over all Diana's descendants. Who does this woman think she is, telling Prince William how long his son will be interested in ballet, and what does it have to do with anything anyway? This should be used - if it's going to be used at all - as a way for the media to be supportive of boys doing ballet, not as a way to sneer and poke fun.
  5. I suppose the Michael Kaiser connection might have explained Ross Stretton's appointment, but I vaguely remember an interview of Stretton's where he said something about not valuing the legacy repertoire very highly, but the company needing to be more open to new ideas. Which is all very well for some companies, but it did sound as though he wasn't going to pay much attention to the Ashton ballets, especially given the way Sarah Wildor was pretty much sidelined. I wondered at the time if the American Michael Kaiser himself might not have understood the importance of Ashton's repertoire to the company, because in most cases a Director candidate who was so cavalier about a company's founding choreographer should have raised some red flags. I also remember getting the impression from interviews with dancers that he favoured a particular dancer type - young, flexible, compact - and that other dancers felt as though they were being ignored as a result.
  6. I'm not sure what insurance costs for travellers, but it's very unwise to travel to the USA without some sort of insurance. I hope $10,000 will help, but with the costs of treatment over here, it might not be enough. Let's hope it'll cover her treatment. Leaving her in a condition where she can't get the treatment she needs in the USA but can't travel back home, is really not good enough.
  7. Melody

    John Mallinson

    So sorry to hear this. Condolences to his family and friends, and also to the other founders and admins and moderators of this forum, who have lost a good friend.
  8. Without seeing the Vogue article, meaning that I might be getting hold of the wrong end of the stick, I'm wondering why Miss Hayward agreed to take part in this project, if she only wants to be seen as a dancer without the context of being mixed-race. She's an outstanding dancer, but in that respect she isn't really an agent of change; she came up through the Royal Ballet School, she isn't the youngest company member ever to make Principal, she isn't the first to take time out to participate in another type of performance (just thinking of Leanne Cope here). I'm sure her participation will expose people to the notion of classical ballet who might not have given it much thought before, which can only be a good thing. But the reason for her inclusion has to be her ethnicity, which apparently is something she wants to downplay. On the other topic that was discussed earlier in the thread - one of the reasons why at least some media outlets insist on referring to the royal ladies as Meghan Markle, Kate Middleton, and Camilla Parker-Bowles is search engine optimization. Basically, more clicks, more eyes on the ads, more money in the pockets of the owner of the publication. In one of the Facebook royalty groups I belong to, the editor of a fairly well-known online royalty site was taken to task for article headlines about Kate Middleton, years after the Cambridge wedding, and she said that the owner required it because of search engine optimization. It's really annoying, but it isn't going to stop. Unlike most of the other monarchies, women marrying into the royal family don't just get the Princess title in front of their own names. I'm pretty sure that if she was Princess Meghan, that's how she'd be being referred to now; Duchess of Sussex is apparently too impersonal or something.
  9. Melody


    Been hearing about major heatwaves across Europe this week - I hope they're more prepared in France than they were when that last heatwave happened and killed so many people. How is it in the UK? As far as I could tell, the temps are a bit lower than on the mainland, but I'm not sure what's on the way. We're having a week of temps in the 90s here and are very grateful for air conditioning. Is air conditioning a thing in homes over there these days, or are you relying on fans and cold drinks?
  10. It can be pretty loud when they get going at the trees, although when they're at the feeder they're attacking a lump of suet, which is at least quiet. The real noise comes from the titmice and chickadees, which help themselves to sunflower seeds from the other feeder (not the suet) and then spend ages happily bashing the seeds to pieces on the metal railing just outside the window.
  11. We've had a pileated woodpecker visit the bird feeder a few times this year. Compared with the other birds we've seen, he's enormous (according to an online source, these things are 16 to 19 inches long). When he shows up, most of the other birds make themselves scarce. This is a photo I found; we didn't have the camera nearby.
  12. In Canada, where signs are usually in English and French, the French signs usually sound more elegant but they're also generally quite a bit longer.
  13. Melody

    Raw eggs

    The thing is, if they can vaccinate chickens against salmonella, why can't they vaccinate humans? Salmonella infection can be picked up from other animals apart from chickens.
  14. I had no idea she was still dancing. I think her Sugar Plum Fairy was the most beautiful I've ever seen. She seems to have been consistently underrated, though, possibly because she was such a non-flashy dancer.
  15. I see HRH is back behind the wheel already. What's the law over there about old people and driving? Back in the day, my husband's grandmother claimed she never had to take any tests regardless of her age because she was given a driving licence for life in the late 1920s. Fortunately she didn't have access to a car, or there might have been real trouble. But people in their 90s are bound to have less than great eyesight and reaction times, so I was wondering what sort of safeguards there are.
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