© 2010 Christopher Charles McDaniel Jenifer Ringer in Dances Patrelle's "The Yorkville Nutcracker"

When you say ‘gorgeous’ do you mean to say Jenifer Ringer?

I am not going to take much time addressing the ludicrous statements Alastair made, BUT, I must say I have lost ALL respect for that man. I at one point admired the fact that he was willing to say what others wouldn’t, and the fact that he was blunt. However, he has become too blunt, and forgot his place. Its one thing to dislike a choreographer or a company, BUT you do NOT have to tear them to shreds and make their existence seem irrelevant. While dancers are judgmental and critical of each other there’s a sense of respect and unity that wont allow us to degrade each other.  This is what I feel is missing with [some] dance critics. I personally feel that because they were never dancers it makes it impossible for them to respect the craft in their writing. The things dancers go through to rise to the top, or even just be in the running, are not things every human can deal with. My point? SHOW SOME RESPECT. Alastair makes all dance critics look bad. They’re not all rude and nasty, but because he’s rude and nasty enough to encompass them all, they all look bad.

Anyway.

Jenifer Ringer. Wow. What an angelic force to be reckoned with. It’s extremely difficult to find words that describe the flood of emotions in my heart when she steps out onto the stage. I was at the opening night of NYCB’s Nutcracker where she danced Sugar Plum. What I cannot seem to understand is how Alastair skipped over the perfect en dedan pirouettes and the dream like bending to say something so foolish. Why is it that when it comes to the ballerinas he can’t seem to look past “flaws” and point out beauty? It seems like its very easy for him to forgive tall, long legged, blonde male dancers who have multiple flaws… BUT I wont go there.

This week I have been fortunate to share the stage with Miss Jeni Ringer. Walking through the stage door rendering a sweet, “How are y’all doing?” she is ready to work. Beyond the impeccable dancing she did, what I also found admirable was her sense of humanity. Sitting on the ground rosining her heels, she makes conversation, sings Christmas songs and cracks jokes with the others backstage. If Jared [Angle] was with her, laughs were even more likely to come from that corner. I’ve always been one to appreciate dancers of great acclaim who are down to earth and can make others feel comfortable around them. I always quote Mr. Mitchell, who said, “We are in service to the art form” That means that it is NOT about me or you, but the ‘dance’ itself. We are bringing the dance to someone else so it will touch them, the way we were once touched. I’ve always closely watched the way professional dancers carried themselves, especially the dancers I admire on stage. Jenifer Ringer shows full commitment and services the art form efficiently. I was brought to tears every night sitting in the wings, like a child, during their Pas de Deux. The rapport between her and Jared was one that can only come from years of experience.  I have never watched a male dancer partner a ballerina so effortlessly. His sense of calmness and his ability to sense the center of her weight in his left hand made me want to ask for partnering lessons. Her maturity radiated in every step she made. Even down to the crossing of her wrists in her bourre preparations, before her extremely well placed and coin like pirouettes.

This morning she appeared on Today and addressed the issues with ballerinas and weight. Her statements actually made me think even more about the situation, and boosted my level of respect for her. Hearing her say that she was hurt, and felt bad about herself for a little bit after reading Alastair’s comment, broke my heart. But the most admirable part of her interview to me was where the interviewer asked her if she wanted an apology, and she said, No because it’s his job to review the show and it’s his [one] opinion, versus 2000 others who were accounted for that night. An even bigger thought provoker came when she was asked if she felt body criticism should be excluded from reviews. Jeni said, That it’s a complex question, because as a dancer your body IS a part of your craft, so it’s subject to criticism. I have to agree. As a dancer your body is all you’ve got, BUT, I feel that IF it is necessary to mention someones physical appearance, it should only be to give a reader a description so that they can visualize the dancer. Not make snarky comments that are tasteless and hurtful.

Jeni Ringer has always been and will always be one of my favorite ballerinas. She brings something to her work and her performance that no one else has. I mean, this is what we are aim to do.

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