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  1. #1
    Administrator Salome's Avatar
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    Default Chicago Lyric Opera auditioning belly dancers

    I was publishing items in our Belly Dance News section and came across this audition announcement. For those of you based in the Chicago area, might be interesting...

    http://www.orientaldancer.net/belly-dance-news/

  2. #2
    V.I.P. da Sage's Avatar
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    hmmm

    may include topless or nude "choreography", and dancers must be at least 5' 2". All skill levels encouraged to apply.

    It's a good thing I don't want to dance topless, because apparently I'm too short for the job!

    Where's that devil smiley when I want it?

    On second thought, I'd go topless if the lead soprano did, too.:p

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    V.I.P. Moon's Avatar
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    WHY must dancers be at least 5'2"??????? (Not that I want that job, and I'm tall enough, but I HATE this kind of discrimination!)

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    pandering to Richard Strauss's image of a "bellydancer"....topless

    I guess they are going for authenticity of the opera.... and that is how bellydancers were portrayed back then, but I still feel like gagging.

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    Administrator Salome's Avatar
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    ACKKKKKKKK. My bad!!! To be honest I didn't read the entire column. Opps :o I saw the announcement and was excited that they were actually going to hire someone with training. Guess I should have read the entire audition announcement, huh?!

  6. #6
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    Oh, criminey, this has GOT to be a joke. Auditioning topless belly dancers on Wacker Drive????
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

  7. #7
    Member Recnadocir's Avatar
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    I will leave aside the ridiculous and insulting connotations that requiring the dancers to perform topless or "semi-nude" brings up. We are all aware of them, the same old tired and ignorant stereotypes.

    Reading the announcement a second time, it seems the choreographer isn't entirely clear what sort of training background she is looking for in the dancers, as contemporary or ballet training are also mentioned.

    The choreographer is one Denni Sayers, highly regarded in the world of opera choreography apparently, but with no discernable training, performing, or choreographing experience in ME dance. Here is her bio page: http://www.danceuk.org/metadot/index...inter_friendly

    I predict a rather comical, if not degrading outcome, in the eyes of belly dancers, unless she gives the dancers considerable free reign in their movement. If Ms. Sayers tries to impose some contemporary dance notions of what belly dance is- all is lost.

    This is particularly frustrating for me because, having spent many years studying and choreographing belly dance and ballet and modern and jazz, etc., it is still a small circle of choreographers who get all the work in opera. The rich get richer, so to speak, and hence we have choreographers who have apparently no significant background in belly dance, choreographing an opera in which the predominant, if not exclusive dance style, should be belly dance.

  8. #8
    V.I.P. da Sage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moon View Post
    WHY must dancers be at least 5'2"??????? (Not that I want that job, and I'm tall enough, but I HATE this kind of discrimination!)
    The only logical reason would be that they are afraid short dancers will appear too young. But I suspect that someone in casting just thinks taller dancers look better on stage.

  9. #9
    Member Recnadocir's Avatar
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    Exclamation A big slap for Chicago Lyric Opera

    I think the height requirement is probably more indicative of the ballet/ modern dance background of the choreographer. It is common for ballet and modern dance groups to exclude dancers under, or over, a certain height.

    And on that score, leaving my own personal feelings of injustice aside, how is it that Chicago Lyric Opera could not find a qualified belly dance instructor/choreographer right there in Chicago? Apparently they are importing the choreographer from the UK, at what I am sure is considerable expense. What a slight to not only the belly dance community at large, with their topless and "semi-nude" requirements, but to the Chicago belly dance community specifically.

    Chalk it up to ignorance on the part of the Chicago Lyric Opera directors. This choreographer they are bringing in is only "well known" in professional opera circles. They would have done far better to recruit someone locally, a respected belly dance choreographer with strong connections in the local ME dance community. Although, it is highly likely that such a person would have nothing to do with toplessness or partial nudity, which just continues the public perception of belly dance as stripping, erotic, etc.

    My dance company, Bel Cobra Dance, is a member of Opera America. I am deeply disappointed at the dance aspects of this production of Salome, and the obvious disregard for the professionalism and artistry of belly dance on the part of Chicago Lyric Opera. If I were in the Chicago belly dance community I would boycott this production and urge others to do the same. However, reality being that dancers need to eat, I'm sure they will find some hack "belly dancers" willing to flounce around with their breasts out, to make a few bucks. I hope they are at least paying AGMA union scale.

    So what's next, Chicago Lyric Opera? Will you be bringing in a hip hop dancer to choreograph the waltz sequence in Fliedermaus?
    Last edited by Recnadocir; 08-02-2006 at 09:36 PM.

  10. #10
    V.I.P. Moon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by recnadocir
    I think the height requirement is probably more indicative of the ballet/ modern dance background of the choreographer. It is common for ballet and modern dance groups to exclude dancers under, or over, a certain height.
    But ballet also excludes dancers which are over a certain weight, right? In the article it says that "dancers may come in all shapes", so they may be heavy, so why not short?!

    Hm, at least short dancers can be happy they don't have to dance topless or nude

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