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New York City Ballet Dancers all a-Twitter

31 Mar 2010
Posted by Shannon

The New York Times is all a-twitter about New York City Ballet dancers being, well, all a-Twitter.

Several are using the bumper sticker of social media to tweet about their feet and various other concerns at intermission, in the physiotherapist's office, or on the bus.

I’m not sure of the wisdom of letting dancers speak directly to the public. Fifteen years as a dance critic taught me that letting dancers speak for themselves rarely ends well – for the companies that is.

For reporters and readers it’s often a delight, because dancers are deliciously indiscreet.

I don’t know if it’s due to the hothouse environment they grow up in, or the fact that they’re treated like children long past a time when any adult should have to suffer such indignities. But the tulle-and-pointe-shoe crowd can usually be counted on to blurt something that makes management crazy.

The very funny Devin Alberda is typical of this tendency to charm us with blunt backstage insights that won’t make the New York City Ballet PR department happy.

“I’ve heard the voice of God and he is an angry God with a Danish accent who doesn’t like my acting,” Alberda tweeted, meaning Artistic Director Peter Martins.

Would Balanchine have tolerated this? I think not.

Which means this may be an important safety feature for dancers. Years ago, I did a story about an artistic director with a wild temper who allegedly throttled a dancer mid-rehearsal. I can only imagine what the tweet on that might be.

“Neck rung, dancer unsung, studio closed, director exposed.”

Yes, Twitter is probably making the studio safer for dancers, one smart-ass quip at a time. And for audiences, it's nice to know that some dancers have wits as quick as their feet.