But I have most recently been watching (*blush*) "Step it up and Dance," a contest in which dancers are asked (a la "Project Runway") to compete in high pressure challenges of precision, creativity, and style. In the last episode, a black dancer (trained intensively in ballet) expressed what she called "not even a hate-love, just a hate" relationship to her curvy figure, and in particular her chest, which was apparently consistently deemed too full for ballet. Sure enough, when judging time came round, the observers critiqued her for the way she used her shoulders to distract attention from her bust, which had a rather self-effacing effect. Flaunt your curves, they exhorted her (as she wept).
This was deeply saddening to me, since I have long admired dance as both an art form and a means of therapy or exercise, but have also felt leery about sending my (as-of-yet-totally-hypothetical) children into a pastime that wreaks havoc with body image.
I had, coincidentally, just read this article in The Guardian about the lack of non-white dancers in most British companies, and I found it deeply, deeply shocking:
Dancer and choreographer Cassa Pancho, whose father was Trinidadian and mother English, started Ballet Black, her company for black and Asian ballet dancers, six years ago in an attempt to redress the balance. She says that black ballerinas find it difficult to rise to the top, partly because of misconceptions about their body shape."Ten or 15 years ago you'd hear that black women didn't have the physique for ballet," she says. "You'd hear 'they have big bums and flat feet'. I've spoken to some who were told to go and get their feet broken and reset for pointe work as it was felt they were too flat."
A retired couple (formerly a postal clerk and a librarian) have decided to donate their painstakingly amassed collection of modern art (they must have been brilliantly canny with their salaries) in "mini-collections" of 50 works apiece to 50 museums in 50 states.
Transformers knit too! There is really nothing I can add to the brilliance of Amanda of The Blog Jar on this subject.
Art students stage an unauthorized show in MoMA's exceptionally clean bathrooms.