Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Natalia Markarova

This week I have will have to play catch-up. I have some pictures from December that I want to share, but did not get to given the hustle and bustle of the month. Before I get to those, I have been wanting to comment on the Kennedy Center Honors that were doled out the week after Christmas. 

The first I heard of it was from David Letterman. He is by far my favorite late night guy. It seemed pretty cool that he was being honored and when I saw Natalia Markarova was also going to be there I was ready for a good show (even later I heard about Led Zeppelin and, really, could this get any better?).

I thought the whole show was spot on (I love, love, love, Julie Kent dancing Juliet and Beth Hart was also a stand out), but there was just one thing that kind of got my goat. Now, I know comedians get laughs at the expense of others and usually it doesn't phase me. I was even bummed that Ricky Gervais wasn't hosting the Golden Globes this year; don't get me wrong I like Tina Fey, but  it is kind of fun to watch the celebrities squirm and see who can take it the best. In that instance Gervais was the host and he set the tone so when the Hollywood Foreign Press chose him they were making a statement as to how the show would go. In contrast the Kennedy Center Honors are hosted by Caroline Kennedy and represent the Kennedy Family.

When Jimmy Kimmel was honoring Letterman (watch it here) he said that Dave is a hero to everyone in the room with the possible exception of those who came to see the ballerina. What really got me was that he didn't say her name. It was like she became this non-entity and almost not at the same level as the other honorees. The thing is if he had just said, "with the possible exception of those who came to see Natalia Markarova," I think I would have chuckled, rolled my eyes, and not thought about it again. If he had said verbatim what he said during the opening monologue of his show I wouldn't have batted eye because the venue is so different and it fits. Up to the point of that comment I was feeling how great it was that ballet was being featured with this variety of work and people. It is not like there is always a ballerina; Suzanne Farrell was the last ballerina to be honored in 2005 and before that Maria Tallchief in 1996 and Alexandra Danilova in 1989 (there are some men interspersed in there as well, but I am talking ballerinas here).

Luckily, Ray Romano came on next and he was hilarious and got me back on track, though I did keep thinking about it and how easy it was too trivialize one of the honorees simply because her profession isn't quite as cool as rock n' roll or comedy. She lived an extraordinary life (see here) and did more than dance; she truly stood up against communism, had to abandon her home, and could have been killed if she was apprehended.  She was instrumental in helping Baryshnikov find his footing after he defected and he was honored twelve years before her. In addition to all of this she was an amazing ballerina and continues to inspire dancers to this day.

Maybe I am being too sensitive. But I was there to see Dave Letterman AND the ballerina.

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Note: I love when Martha Stewart is on Letterman. This is an all-time favorite of mine particularly the second half when they taste oysters! (I also found this, which is also quite entertaining)

(Picture Source: top, second, third, last)

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