Herbie Mann Comin' Home

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Art Means Work. Yes, Work.

This should open your eyes and interest you.  

What to those of us who are 'just plain folks', who believe in 'democratic arts', who may recognize that being called a 'philistine' is a slur, but simply show our social equality in return (Back at ya!) -- what to us appears as an elitist enterprise, ballet, really produces more sweat in a day than a lifetime of backyard barbecues and lawn-mowings.

This clip doesn't show it all:  the blisters and infected corns, the slipped discs, the exhaustion, the struggle just to be able to get a chance to suffer that way!  The schooling, the disciplined adolescence, the foregone 'outside' life, the forced 'early retirement' at 30 or -- if you're truly strong -- 40.  

The sheer physicality of it.

The mental grit needed for it.

Nils Tavernier's film of a decade ago, Etoiles: Dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet, honors the institution it views.

It should also raise the question:  How much guts do I have -- how much have I given?



  1. I would venture to say that most do not appreciate the grueling work behind the scenes of any of the performing arts. I've had the privilege of a peek backstage, from my daughter who worked incredibly hard in the opera field. It's a wonder she has any self esteem left at all. Tough, tough stuff.

    Have you seen Black Swan?

  2. Yep
    Excellent post.

  3. you gave a lot of guts in this.

  4. Tess,

    I've noted your occasional opera mentions. Artistic performance is so enjoyable that the audience thinks it's all extemporaneous and simply 'fun'.

    Yes, I did see The Black Swan and liked it a great deal. I've grown not only to notice Darren Aronofsky's films, but like them.

    Even that film didn't quite get at the sweat of the 'corps', but at the demonic pressure on the psyche of one ballerina.

    And the layering in that film of Portman, Ryder, and Hershey -- bright, beautiful, and in the film, tortured by their talent.

  5. Me, Dude,

    Glad we're in tune, bro.


  6. Isabelle,

    I was hoping you'd catch this post. A fair amount of my attention was spent listening to the spoken French while trying to ignore the subtitles.

    I'll never make it far enough!