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Dance of the little swans - film about the Vaganova Academy


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He is unbelievable! Dreadful.

 

 

He was the star of russian ballet for many years. He is there to show himself as an example of the work and attitude needed to get to the level reached.

 

'Are you not ashamed of yourself'  I feel is a genuine question, if she wants to not fulfil her potential, then it her loss, everyone can try harder. Only very, very few will get anywhere near close to the doors of the Bolshoi, or Mariinsky. For that, it is a hard life.

 

I think unless you know the dancers, or maybe some dancer's stories, and how it is to be a successful dancer, you may think he is rude... I think he had it 100%

 

'The romance and fairy tale is on the other side of the curtain...on this side there is work.'

 

If I was from a community in Russia, that felt if my child danced, I would have a better life, I would LOVE for him to teach my child.

 

Also as another note, I have heard so many disparaging comments about ABT, because 'you could never say that' or 'you would be sued if you said this'  As Balanchine so rightly said ' I don't want people who want to dance, I want people who need to dance'.

Edited by SwissBalletFan
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I know exactly what it takes to be a professional dancer. He, to me, is awful. I don't care that he was a star, he is rude and belittling - there is absolutely no need.

 

People seem to think that because a dancer has to work hard and sacrifice, that it is ok to treat them like second class citizens. Dancers do it for the love of it, they HAVE to dance. I believe they should be treated with respect, yes, make them work harder, make them realise they can achieve more. Expect perfection from them, but do it with a little dignity.

Edited by Harwel
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I know exactly what it takes to be a professional dancer. He, to me, is awful. I don't care that he was a star, he is rude and belittling - there is absolutely no need.

 

 

I think if you see the mothers, and all of the children that cried because they were not accepted into the school, and all of the teachers saying how disappointed they were because the children needed to work harder, and not just on the first day....how do you think a child should be treated when they have been given the golden chance to learn at the school?

 

I think, the girls have already received all their smiles and happiness and getting through each year, and they should be reminded of the standards they have been set.

 

I am talking from experience of a boy who went  to england to study at boarding school and was also given no quarter, nor expected any. In my mind, there is every need, and his language was neither belittling or rude. He is the teacher, he is the one responsible, he has done it.

 

The vaganova school is 270 + years old, it is the best ballet school in the world, it is the most demanding. These dancers dream to find themselves at the top of a profession,and have pressure to try to make it. This is not a hobby class. It is Russia.

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Well SwissBalletFan, you and I will never agree. Just because it's 270 years old and its Russia does not, in my eyes make that man's approach acceptable. I am not soft, or naive but I believe in a code of behaviour which he, and I am sure many other Russian 'stars' with over inflated egos do not display.

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The link at the beginning of this thread is for the 27 minute documentary. They just put up an extended version (with some interesting additional footage at different points of the video) at:

https://youtu.be/_3J5adKwAKg

 

(mentioned in another thread about this film in Doing Dance at:

http://www.balletcoforum.com/index.php?/topic/8809-vaganova-academy-training-lower-grades/)

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I think there is a difference in how far you can go with criticism when you have a genuine personal relationship with someone eg parent/child close friendship etc. and very occasionally teacher/child.

 

However this is always done in private in the best relationships .....never in some public tirade and being filmed to boot....especially if involving only an individual etc.

 

In a wonderful example of parenting I saw I was at a friends house at a large gathering of friends and that persons family etc when their daughter who was ten at the time was getting increasingly (cringe making) rude to one of their relatives.

Dad went over and whispered in her ear. They left the room for a few minutes ......no shouting at all no loudly spoken cross words to,be heard outside the room ......everyone just carried on with their conversations etc.

then dad and daughter returned to the room and their places. No tears .....nothing discernible. But about half an hour later I noticed the daughter going over to said relative and having a quiet word( which I took to be an apology in her own time)

 

Of course this girl who is now mid twenties has grown into a really lovely and delightful young lady.

And my point is........just getting there..... That I think there is a lot of nonsense talked about discipline and that one has to be "cruel to be kind" sort of ilk.

The best teachers don't keep berating their pupils.

I agree that in a prestigious school like the Maryinski that one does has to keep checking the pupils are still "up for it" so to speak but equally that some parents are not taking advantage of wanting a "better life" by using their children to this end.

 

Sometimes a child who was really keen at ten might not be at fourteen and this has to be acknowledged.

 

But all teaching..... imo ....should be a nurturing of the child .....a bringing out of their talent.....if they want it that is.

 

Public berating is for the satisfaction mostly of the berater. Sorry this post has got longer than intended but I do feel strongly that it's the kindest teachers who get most out of their pupils in the end.

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I think it takes a very special personality to make a good teacher. They has to be firm and in control, otherwise there will be no respect. But they also have to try and remember how hard it can be to learn a new skill or concept. Not many of us are clever enough to 'get it' first time and there is a direct correlation between the ability of a pupil to understand what is required and the skill of a teacher to impart that information. Anyone can recite from a textbook and some people will never catch on no matter what you try. Some people will respond to belittling by trying harder to please, others will just retreat altogether.

Watching the film, I felt Tsiskaridze had a point about how the dancer should leave the stage and when he demonstrated what he wanted, it was clear enough. The same with the walking style. But had he made himself clear to start with? The clarity of the teaching is rather a major factor and some people, just because they know how to do whatever it is, are not necessarily able to teach.  

I learned a lot about the importance of making oneself clear when I was a driving instructor and not just for safety reasons!! You can't have a teacher just letting people do whatever they want or being too afraid to correct, in case somebody gets upset. There must be method and structure. But there must also be empathy and a degree of kindness as we are not machines and one size does not fit all. You should be able to get your point across without being insulting and unpleasant, especially not in front of an audience. If you can't do that, then you shouldn't be teaching any age group, but particularly not young, vulnerable minds. Tsiskaridze was quite sweet with the little girl although it was tempered with an aside that suggested she should not rest on her laurels, a little praise but a gentle reminder to keep trying to do even better.

Tsiskaridze seems quite a complex man. His behaviour in Strictly Bolshoi was a study of someone for whom you could almost feel sorry, he seemed so completely out of his depth with the different approach towards choreography and dancers contributing their own ideas. As I recall, he could not adapt and then it was too late. He came to the theatre on opening night and it was all going on without him. He is clearly someone who likes and is used to being the centre of attention and he could not grasp that he was dispensable after all.

I recall Olga Korbut had problems when she went to America and taught gymnastics to young pupils. She had a somewhat rigid, unforgiving style no doubt as a result of her own hard years of training, when she and her coach would spend hours in front of a mirror, just perfecting her 'cheeky smile' alone. Her approach was this is how you do it and you do it again and again until you get it right. You don't sit on your arse crying because it is too tough. Unsurprisingly, there were tears and complaints about her methods. She was a hard task master but that was what she knew. I don't think she lasted long in that role. Perhaps a similar personality, gifted in their field,used to the limelight and adoration but not so hot on the tact and diplomacy front. As always, just my opinion.

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"This is why they didn't want to take you..."

 

What a thing for a teacher to tell a student in front of the whole class.

But didn't the teacher also say "I vouched for you", so I felt she was being harsh to be kind but it's their way and if the kids don't toughen up to it now they'll find things harder later on.

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The little girl already knew that they didn't want to take her, as it had been explained to her and her mother when she did not pass the audition and was "only" offered a waiting list place originally. She had been told very nicely that they were concerned about her previous gymnastic training and her height. The other class members also knew this, as the results of the audition were announced very publicly on the audition day. Although I did wince a bit at the teacher reminding her of the fact, I ultimately thought that they needed to remind her that she did have weaknesses, in part due to her previous gymnastic training, that she would have to work hard to overcome - but that the teacher believed in her and thought she could do so.

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Just caught up with this article and I'm sure he will do a good job at the Vaganova Academy (Inspite of his churlish manner) though one cannot help feeling that his heart is till with the Bolshoi and he'd go back there as soon as an opportunity offers itself!

 

So he may not be in for the long haul at Vaganova .....three years is not long really. They need someone to commit for five to ten years at least.

 

On seeing the film again I've decided that the class teacher wasn't unduly harsh on that lovely little girl but I do think in general it's all a it harsh. .....and still don't like seeing Artistic directors pulling young dancers around in anger.

Having a sense of humour can go a long way in teaching.....even at top notch ballet schools.

 

It does seem when you look into it that quite a few top dancers in Russia started in gymnastics for five or six years before ballet ......I believe Osipova is one...... so not necessarily a no-no for a young dancer.

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It does seem when you look into it that quite a few top dancers in Russia started in gymnastics for five or six years before ballet ......I believe Osipova is one...... so not necessarily a no-no for a young dancer.

Also how the devine 'madam non' started before an exchange with the POB school.

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