Apologies…

Apparently, I have upset some parents because I was harsh on students when I said, “Fell Flat.” Or that I don’t have control over casting nor do I know how SFBS chooses their leads and trainees. Apparently, we are no longer critiquing children, nor should we judge them at a competition, or saying whether things are right or wrong. These are probably the same parents who are slamming Misty Copeland for her recent post about a student in Russia. I apologize to those four dancers who I singled out, and I am sorry to their parents if I offended our insulted you. I really am, I don’t want you to think your dancers are bad. And in fact, I never said anyone was bad. In fact, I commended almost everyone’s technique and even said SFB is one, if not the best school in the country. So good for you having your student there.

Here is what I will say though… Push harder, work smarter, and know that ballet at the end of the day is completely subjective. While the fundamentals of ballet, like feet, turnout, lines, extensions, are black and white, the view on artistry is completely subjective and I am one opinion. Seriously, I am not offering you a job, nor can I, so my opinion about how you dance or interpret the dancing isn’t really consequential. There are a lot of principal dancers I am not a fan of, and there are a lot of dancers I love, and a lot of people hate. At the end of the day, kids or professionals, competition or performance… how you are ranked, and how you place, or who likes you and dislikes you doesn’t really matter. What matters is you inspire a director to take you on and for someone to give you a job. It is like finding the right coach for you, or the right teacher, or the right school. As long as you catch that one person’s attention, you are set.

And yes, I do know that this was a student showcase, and it was a showcase that could outdance a lot of regional companies. The caliber of students at the school is so exceptionally high, that I even came back to my school and was told the kids, “Wow. You have so far to go compared to SFBS.” The standard that SFBS represents is so high and so strong that most of these kids will end up in a professional company, which is why their graduation rate is 100%.

So, I took the post down, and for those who were beyond exemplary, and who moved me and my partner (non-ballet person): amazing for inspiring two people in the audience. And we are now fans. For those of you who I offended, I am formally apologizing and I hope you all land exquisite jobs and can look back and say, “I’m on top. Proved him wrong.”

2 Replies to “Apologies…”

  1. It’s too bad you felt the need to take down the article…..we thoroughly enjoyed your piece and so grateful we got to read it before you took it down. As former insiders of SFBS we were so amused at how incredibly accurate your observations were from only being there for one showcase. It’s so rare for people in the ballet world to speak the truth and willing to contradict the status quo. So we applaud you for doing so and wish there were more of you! I do want to add that the 100% graduation has more to do with the incredible pool of talent who are lined up out their door than the actual training itself. In recent history there is only one person who has rose from lower level all the way through and she is currently a trainee. I realize this is symptomatic of all big company schools and not just SFBS. Like most schools there are good teachers and there are mediocre ones and SFBS is no different. But when you have your pick of the worlds best students, they will land jobs somewhere. The last thing is your comment about body types is where we will disagree with you given what we have seen first hand. Regionally SFBS is in a very progressive area so they are very careful about making sure there is some “diversity” reflected in the school. Believe me there are plenty of very talented kids with rounder bodies and shorter legs being cut from the school. If you take a deeper dive then you will see that in recent years there is a particular body type that become apprentices. I think that is more a reflection of their objective. I get it….this is after all BALLET and we are talking about a high caliber company and school led by men with particular ballet ideals. Honestly, this year’s trainees have a range of maybe 5 lbs difference at most. I would actually praise them more for their consistency more than diversity. Again thank you for all you put out there and encourage you to do more!

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