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Subject: "Sarah Wildor" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #1381
Reading Topic #1381
Sonia

26-02-01, 09:23 AM (GMT)
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"Sarah Wildor"
 
   I am shocked to read such personal remarks re Royal BALLET DANCERS, AND OTHER COMPANIES, i.e Paris Opera,, fine to comment on the ballets, but too make such personal comments about indivual dancers is not the correct thing,as these pages are read worldwide, I am most surprised that so many who write on ballet postings are so disloyal to the nationel dance companies and dancers, if there is nothing good to write, why bother, it is so negative.
I do not read ballet posting often, but was told by a friend about the vindictive, postings, so yesturday evening, I read through, and was horrified to find how personal it is all becoming, lets go back to the old way, of being nice and loyal to our dancers, criticizethe productions, the standard of dancing on the whole fine, but support the individual dancer, or keep our thoughts private.


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Sarah Wildor Anneliese 26-02-01 1
     RE: Sarah Wildor Wendy Glavis 26-02-01 3
  RE: Sarah Wildor Bruce Madmin 26-02-01 2
     RE: Sarah Wildor Shirley 26-02-01 4
         RE: Sarah Wildor Stuart Sweeney 26-02-01 5
         RE: Sarah Wildor Bruce Madmin 26-02-01 6
             RE: Sarah Wildor Shirley 26-02-01 7
                 RE: Sarah Wildor Bruce Madmin 26-02-01 9
  RE: Sarah Wildor Terry 26-02-01 8
     RE: Sarah Wildor Jim 26-02-01 10
         RE: Sarah Wildor Brendan McCarthymoderator 26-02-01 11
             RE: Sarah Wildor Anneliese 26-02-01 12
                 RE: Sarah Wildor Shirley 26-02-01 14
             RE: Sarah Wildor Bruce Madmin 26-02-01 13
                 RE: Sarah Wildor Annabel 26-02-01 15

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Anneliese

26-02-01, 09:36 AM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Sarah Wildor"
In response to message #0
 
   >I am shocked to read such
>personal remarks re Royal BALLET
>DANCERS, AND OTHER COMPANIES, i.e
>Paris Opera,, fine to comment
>on the ballets, but too
>make such personal comments about
>indivual dancers is not the
>correct thing,as these pages are
>read worldwide, I am most
>surprised that so many who
>write on ballet postings are
>so disloyal to the nationel
>dance companies and dancers, if
>there is nothing good to
>write, why bother, it is
>so negative.
>I do not read ballet posting
>often, but was told by
>a friend about the vindictive,
>postings, so yesturday evening, I
>read through, and was horrified
>to find how personal it
>is all becoming, lets go
>back to the old way,
>of being nice and loyal
>to our dancers, criticizethe productions,
>the standard of dancing on
>the whole fine, but support
>the individual dancer, or keep
>our thoughts private.


I'm sorry, but I really don't understand your attitude. These dancers are professionals; they are paid to go out there and perform. The standard of their performances is a legitimate subject for discussion. There is no "standard of dancing on the whole" without standards of individual dancers. And why, pray, do you feel that it is acceptable to criticise productions (which are after all the work of individuals) but not dancers? It's a harsh world; to stay ahead a dancer has to be good!


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Wendy Glavis

26-02-01, 11:12 AM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Sarah Wildor"
In response to message #1
 
   LAST EDITED ON 26-02-01 AT 12:23 PM (GMT)

Nice to hear from you Sonia.

I don't post here as often as I should do, but I look at the postings page at least once a day. And I, too, have been dismayed by some of the very negative postings I've seen here lately.

Yes, of course we need to watch critically and it's fun to express our opinions. But that's all they are: opinions; they're not written in stone. And I also think we have to remember that other people on the site feel just as strongly about their likes, dislikes and favourite dancers as we do.


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Bruce Madmin

26-02-01, 10:40 AM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Sarah Wildor"
In response to message #0
 
   >but too
>make such personal comments about
>indivual dancers is not the
>correct thing,as these pages are
>read worldwide, I am most
>surprised that so many who
>write on ballet postings are
>so disloyal to the nationel
>dance companies and dancers, if
>there is nothing good to
>write, why bother, it is
>so negative.

I don't see that talking about how somebody performs is disloyal. You can argue that it would be disloyal to readers to report only good news about dancers or artistic directors etc. What good does that do for anybody, for raising standards and making performances better?

I'm also against loyalty to companies no matter what. There are a number of people incredibly loyal to companies even when bad decisions are made and I just can't see the point in not talking about problems and possible solutions.

The Internet opens new possibilities and I see Postings as enabling more to participate in the conversations that go on amongst fans at every performance. Until now performers and companies have taken their feedback from critics and box office receipts. Here is an opportunity for them to see what fans and others think - its another constituency. And 'punters' are different to critics and more than a few times the critics have not liked something when nearly all postings here have been positive and visa versa. I think this is incredibly positive for everybody concerned.

That said I do regret the way some express themselves on dancers and I believe the French threads can appear very harsh at certain times. But there are different national characteristics here and I don't like to overly moderate or dictate too much. For that reason I welcome your post and look forward to seeing what emerges in debate...


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Shirley

26-02-01, 12:59 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: Sarah Wildor"
In response to message #2
 
   And 'punters' are different
>to critics and more than
>a few times the critics
>have not liked something when
>nearly all postings here have
>been positive and visa versa.
>I think this is incredibly
>positive for everybody concerned.
>
The only thing I would say is that the critics are making informed judgements on dance (I assume)and very rarely have I seen strong personal negative attacks on individual dancers in print! Are the 'punters' making informed judgements or not? What do we actually know about dance because after having watched ballet for 10 years I feel I know nothing apart from what I like! Having recentlty attempted to basic ballet myself my admiration for anybody in any company has increased tenfold!


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Stuart Sweeney

26-02-01, 01:35 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: Sarah Wildor"
In response to message #4
 
   I basically agree with Bruce on this issue. I think it is entirely appropriate for dance lovers to voice their opinions, whether positive or negative, on works and dancers. The Internet provides a forum for this activity which represents a major step forward and I am indebted to ballet.co.uk for facilitating dance writing of this type.

I also agree with Bruce that descriptions here and elsewhere sometimes go beyond a fair and courteous discussion. A negative reaction to a work or a dancer can be reported, but it should always be borne in mind that the reaction is as much a function of the viewer as well as the work itself. Thus some restraint is desirable. I wouldn' want to claim sanctity here. Thinking back to my early days on the Internet in particular, I'm sure I was guilty of some cheap gibes at the expense of dance artists.

I am aware of one computer literate, leading UK dancer who does not look at dance websites because of the vitriolic comments that they have read about themselves - far more vicious than any critic has ever made.

I think it's valuable to bear in mind that the person you are writing about may well be reading your comments and to imagine that you might meet your target at a party and have to justify your remarks. It's also worth remembering, especially if it's a style of work with which one is unfamiliar, the words of an attendent at a Florence art gallery to some tourists, 'It's not the paintings that are on trial.'


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Bruce Madmin

26-02-01, 02:02 PM (GMT)
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6. "RE: Sarah Wildor"
In response to message #4
 
   >The only thing I would say
>is that the critics are
>making informed judgements on dance
>(I assume)and very rarely have
>I seen strong personal negative
>attacks on individual dancers in
>print! Are the 'punters' making
>informed judgements or not?

While posters might not always flatter I think what they say is often based on seeing more of companies than critics do. Of course this doesn't make what's said better, but I think if you were to do a search for Bussell, Guillem and Wildor of all the postings and reviews you'd come out with a terrific idea on what these dancers can offer.

As Wendy says people are expressing opinions and nobody is saying any one is gospel. On the other hand if 20 people post and 18 post positively and 2 negatively that tells you something more than if nobody had posted anything or just the 18 had posted eulogies. And what when 20 post and 18 post with doubts and 2 post positively - that's surely not unuseful feedback for all concerned? (yes I know its a double negative but I prefer it!)

At the end of the day punters make the most informed decisions/comments of them all, since they pay based on their experience. Like it or not money is important in all this and anything which exposes audiences views more is to be applauded. Its not the be all and end all but its a fool who ignores what audiences think.

Finally none of this is to condone unthoughtful and harsh, in your face, criticism. That's not helpful.

>What
>do we actually know about
>dance because after having watched
>ballet for 10 years I
>feel I know nothing apart
>from what I like!


Er.. there are times when I'm absolutely bowled over by the depth of knowledge that some posters posses on certain issues / performances and we should not necessarily put ourselves down! And of course there are other times when I despair of the patent silliness of what's said!!


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Shirley

26-02-01, 04:10 PM (GMT)
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7. "RE: Sarah Wildor"
In response to message #6
 
   >
>Er.. there are times when I'm
>absolutely bowled over by the
>depth of knowledge that some
>posters posses on certain issues
>/ performances and we should
>not necessarily put ourselves down!
>And of course there are
>other times when I despair
>of the patent silliness of
>what's said!!

The problem is though is how do you know what experience a poster has and it is all subjective anyway!

It is the personal attacks on dancers that I don't appreciate and think there is no need for and this seems to be occuring more and more recently.


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Bruce Madmin

26-02-01, 04:44 PM (GMT)
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9. "RE: Sarah Wildor"
In response to message #7
 
   >The problem is though is how
>do you know what experience
>a poster has and it
>is all subjective anyway!

You need to read a few posts to make sense of things I think. But its the same with critics - you won't necessarily know from reading one Clement Crisp review of a Kylian piece that he hates all the mans work or that reading a Judith Mackerel review of something by Ashley Page that she likes much of what he does - in both cases their views, I suggest, differ significantly from their peer average. Taking any one persons view on one occasion as gospel is not appropriate - but luckily postings and the reviews database gives many perspectives and, I think, gives the most rounded of views on pieces and those who dance in them.


>It is the personal attacks on
>dancers that I don't appreciate
>and think there is no
>need for and this seems
>to be occuring more and
>more recently.

Unfortunately one persons personal attack is another persons plane speaking of a truth - for them. I've seen words used about Wildor that I don't think are at all attractive and the thoughts really ought to be expressed with far greater sensitivity. But I'm not sure if I've seen a vindictive personal attack. My eyebrows have raised in surprise but not I think to the same degree as for some others. But here is a thread where the overall issue can be debated.


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Terry

26-02-01, 04:38 PM (GMT)
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8. "RE: Sarah Wildor"
In response to message #0
 
   I think it's PERFECTLY fine to comment about a dancer, their style, their movements, their acting abilities, etc., as long as we DON'T make very personal/negative statements about their physique, their face, etc. It's been wonderful to share many opinions throughout these postings, and we learn a lot about the passion that exists for many fans. OF COURSE we're ALL subjective -- that is the point of having these discussions...And the fact is, ballet cannot survive without its FANS. We may be a very critical group of fans, but AT LEAST we're making this wonderful culture survive in this age, an age in which there lies less interest in the performing arts culture.


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Jim

26-02-01, 05:00 PM (GMT)
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10. "RE: Sarah Wildor"
In response to message #8
 
   >OF COURSE we're ALL subjective
>-- that is the point
>of having these discussions...And the
>fact is, ballet cannot survive
>without its FANS.

Terry, you speak the words of Solomon. When my younger son was about 6 he became a passionate supporter of the Celtic football club. I had to take him from Leicester to Glasgow in the freezing cold a couple of times every winter so he could see his beloved team. If you asked him WHY he supported Celtic (when there was a perfectly good local team, as far as I could tell) his answer was simple: "Because I do". Now that he is doing his PhD in politics he would probably argue that he had "made a personal value judgemnent".

Are we ballet fans any different?


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Brendan McCarthymoderator

26-02-01, 05:09 PM (GMT)
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11. "RE: Sarah Wildor"
In response to message #10
 
   There have been very personal and distasteful comments about Sarah Wildor, several of them well beyond the bounds of legitimate criticism. What is also troubling is that some of the most explicitly critical postings have (in effect) been anonymous. If a comment is particularly robust, the person making it should sign him/herself. If that person has (or ever had) some professional involvement with dance, that too is relevant information, and it is right that it should be clear.

Bruce, together with Ann Williams and others, has added a very necessary counter-balance and has moderated the postings with great discretion. He has a very fine judgement to make between the demands of a democratic forum and the decencies which its participants should observe. But Iíve begun to wonder if some of the more outrageous postings should simply be removed.


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Anneliese

26-02-01, 05:21 PM (GMT)
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12. "RE: Sarah Wildor"
In response to message #11
 
   Just in case I was seen as anonymous I've put in my email address this time (sorry, I can't always be bothered). I don't think I've seen anything outrageous on this thread; harshly expressed things, yes, and a bit petulant, but not outrageous. But some wise things have been said here about how we should express ourselves and I have taken note and I'm sure others will too. Shirley, although we all admire people who are skilled in their profession, I don't think that uncritical unthinking admiration for someone who can do something that we can't ourselves is a valid standpoint (I know that's not what you meant but that's the way that we'd be heading!) - at the end of the day it's their job, and to say that we shouldn't criticise (eg) an air traffic controller who occasionally enters the wrong flight code (like a dancer who only does a double not a triple pirouette) because the majority of the time he does his job very well and we couldn't do it is not something that we should advocate, is it?

Sorry, rambling, but my point is that criticism of performers is valid, but that we shouldn't overstep bounds of courtesy.


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Shirley

26-02-01, 06:02 PM (GMT)
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14. "RE: Sarah Wildor"
In response to message #12
 
   I don't think
>I've seen anything outrageous on
>this thread; harshly expressed things,
>yes, and a bit petulant,
>but not outrageous.

I'm sorry but I have read some, what I consider to be outrageous statements in other threads and that is why Sonia made the first posting!

>Shirley, although we all admire
>people who are skilled in
>their profession, I don't think
>that uncritical unthinking admiration for
>someone who can do something
>that we can't ourselves is
>a valid standpoint (I know
>that's not what you meant
>but that's the way that
>we'd be heading!) - at
>the end of the day
>it's their job, and to
>say that we shouldn't criticise
>(eg) an air traffic controller
>who occasionally enters the wrong
>flight code (like a dancer
>who only does a double
>not a triple pirouette) because
>the majority of the time
>he does his job very
>well and we couldn't do
>it is not something that
>we should advocate, is it?
>
Yes criticism is valid but I know people who constantly critice some dancers and they never see them dance! How is that valid?


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Bruce Madmin

26-02-01, 05:32 PM (GMT)
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13. "RE: Sarah Wildor"
In response to message #11
 
   >But Iíve
>begun to wonder if
>some of the more outrageous
>postings should simply be
>removed.

I'm not a remover of posts. I think I've deleted one posting - because it was libelous. Oh and possibly another one associated with the sexuality of a dancer.

This is not something I'm going to get into because readers need to be assured that things haven't been deleted because they don't accord with my views or even a subset of readers views. The way forward is to argue the case in public and have all contributors understand that it is more appropriate to conduct business in a civilised manner.

These are early days on the net for discussion forums like this. Yes views are emerging that are not so attractively put but that does not mean we chuck the towel in and start censoring things. Over the years I have had a few postings of criticism and it would have been lovely to delete them rather rapidly. This I've not done. Others involved in dance and ballet have to get their brains around new forms of feedback some of which are incredibly flattering and some not at all. But they are individual opinions and I suggest people might only start to register a little concern when everybody seems to share the same low opinion of them! With regard to Wildor that is very patently not the case.


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Annabel

26-02-01, 06:50 PM (GMT)
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15. "RE: Sarah Wildor"
In response to message #13
 
   I adore Sarah, shes the best of them all


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