On the third season of The Muppet Show, Rudolf Nureyev was a guest star…..



There’s something trenchant in his difficulties with the ‘large ballerina’.

Many readers will remember the issue of the Bolshoi dancer who was fired a few years ago for being too big. For those unfamiliar, first few lines from Chicago Sun posted below, and more here.


MOSCOW — A top ballerina threatened Thursday to sue the Bolshoi Theater over her firing and accused it of spreading lies that her dance partners found her too heavy to lift.

Anastasia Volochkova alleged the Bolshoi violated Russian labor law by announcing this week that her dismissal was retroactive to June 30. She said that her lawyers were preparing a suit.


Physics is a part of the world, and the reality is that more weight is harder to lift. This leads to abuses on both employer and employee sides of the equation. Hard to figure out how to stop it though. 

On the other side: does anyone in the audience really care if a lift is high as can be? I’ve noticed that bad choreography frequently tries to hide itself under as little clothing as possible. Sex – and by that I mean lithe young bodies – sells tickets, and companies afraid that they can’t (or won’t) sell tickets based on talent reliably fall back on flexibility, strength, and ‘beauty’.

I noticed – and others have noticed – that as non-traditional companies get more successful and grow past their founding members – Bill T. Jones, for instance –  ‘unique’ dancers are replaced by more ‘traditional’ bodies. It’s gotta be a wrench for the directors of the companies. Frequently original repertory involves very unique movement. So to keep old rep and make new stuff….. many companies seem unable to fight the gravity toward easier-to-use bodies.