Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Viennese ballerina is fired for posing nude for the paper - creates an uproar from the public

I thought the US was the only place that was extremely prudish about nudity, but a friend in Austria just sent me an article from the newspaper there which shows that it's still an issue in Austria as well, though the public is in an uproar about what happened there.  Here's the link to the article in German with  my translation: 

Karina Sarkissova dances no more... (updated)

... at least not at the Viennese Opera.  It was there that the Primaballerina was relieved of her duties by the newly appointed Director of Ballet, Manuel Legris.

Critical to his decision, according to Sarkissova, were the artistic/erotic photographs taken by Moritz Schell of the
September-Wiener which appeared on August 16, 2010.

We find that to be quite prudish and unworthy of a cultural institution.

Apparently in May 2010 Sarkissova had been "warned" by the then-Chief of Ballet Gyula Harangozo on account of nude photos of her which appeared in the June edition of the magazine

According to the Director of the Opera Dominique Meyer, the company was "shocked" to see the new photographs which appeared under the heading "Sex."   In response to the question by the WIENER reporter why it was a problem to appear in nude photos in a magazine when nude dances were performed on the stage of the international Opera House, the director responded, "No comment."

Manuel Legris auf dem Cover von BACKSTAGE von Kishin Shinoyama, erschienen bei ASAHI PressOne other aspect makes this prudish behavior seem even more incongruous: the very same Director of Ballet, Manuel Legris, who let Sarkissova go, posed naked as a jay bird for a series of photos (see left) - in which men and women were cavorting wildly with one another.  Apparently men at the Viennese Opera are allowed more frivolity than women are...

At any rate, the Director of the Opera, Meyer will meet with Sarkissova next week to hear her side of the story.

Manuel Legris on the Cover of BACKSTAGE by Kishin Shinoyama, published by ASAHI Press

[This story is still evolving]

UPDATE, 14.38h:
WIENER- Reporter Barbara Ginzinger recently spoke with Karina Sarkissova by telephone. The Ballerina said that she had NOT been warned after the first photos, neither in writing nor orally.   

There had, in fact, been consternation in the Opera and people expressed differing opinions about the photos, but she had not been warned.  She hadn't given any thought to it since the new Director of Ballet, Manuel Legris had appeared nude in a series of pictures.  "I am not the first and also not the last ballerina to take her clothes off."   Additionally Ms. Sarkissova and the ballet ensemble were asked, at the end of the last season, if they would be willing to dance nude, or topless, at the Opera.  That is planned for January for the piece "Bella Figura".

About Sarkissova:  born in Russia (1983), Sarkissova was trained at the Bolschoi Ballet and in St. Poelten.  Since 2000 she has been a member of the State Opera Ballet, since 2009 as a soloist. She is married and has an 8-year-old son.

Readers' Comments:
  • 8. Oktober 2010 by Frank Bussmann
  • And such a backwoods idiot is the highly paid Director of the Viennese Opera!  Unbelieveable!  Which century is he living in?  FELIX AUSTRIA…
  • 8. Oktober 2010 by Wolfgang Johannes v. Busse
  • Mr. Legris should take another look at his own naked pictures where he's in contact with other naked men and women - there aren't even any little scarves to hide a thing in those.
    Titel:Manuel Legris ,A L Opera de Paris, von Kishin Shinoyama, Asahi Press, Dainippon Printing. Unfortunately it's very hard to get a copy of it.
  • 8. Oktober 2010 by Harald Harald
  • ... as though ballerina don't already dance around half-naked (and occasionally completely naked already - and are displayed as erotic objects for the curious anyway. ..

  • 8. Oktober 2010 by Natascha
  • as if show business today were about morals anyway...  She's smart to find another way to earn some money - after all, her body won't last forever...
    natascha- choreographer
  • 8. Oktober 2010 von Hannes Reitinger
  • How can someone be "shocked" by these beautiful pictures?  What kind of times do we live in if looking at a picture of an undressed person can give a person a shock?  This double-morality is "shocking", and if anyone should be fired, it should be Mr. Legris.

  • 8. Oktober 2010 von Doris Leppitsch: If men go around showing their chests (as often happens in the ballet!!!!!), no director gets upset about that.  Where is the equality here?
    By the way, the photo is gorgeous.

  • 8. Oktober 2010 von Doris Leppitsch
  • We've discussed it in the meantime.  The only logical explanation in our eyes is that this gorgeous woman turned down some powerful man's attention.

  • 8. Oktober 2010 von Gabijan: I dont understand the issue here. À beautiful woman poses in nude. Not porno or anything. Not even sex. Just beautiful. If anything THE pictures complement the super boring and outdated image of a national ballet. She will draw many curious people to the theater who may never even have thought of going to a ballet in the first place. I will definitely boycott the Wien ballet if this lady had to go. Celebrate healthy people don’t fire them!
  • 8. Oktober 2010 von fritz:  someone is mighty jealous.  what a turned around world - if the "artists" are shocked by something like that and the people who aren't artists love the beautiful pictures.
  • 9. Oktober 2010 von Bob: Is there a beaver shot?
  • 9. Oktober 2010 von Nicole Kolisch: nope!
  • 9. Oktober 2010 von Eric: What’s all the fuss about?
    The body is beautiful, a work of art created by the grand master in the sky.
    Enough of the prudishness!
    Don’t pontificate – celebrate!
  • 9. Oktober 2010 von KC: She looks beautiful.
  • 9. Oktober 2010 von KC: BTW, have to laugh at calling a magazine “wiener”. LOL!
  • 10. Oktober 2010 von wolfgang schnabl: no worries.  Just close down the opera, make a parking place out of it.  Art hasn't been anything but a gift job for idiot directors for years.
  • 10. Oktober 2010 von alfred hulka: I think she should complain by the equality commission.
  • 11. Oktober 2010 von rainer: Jesus!  Welcome to 2010.  This hypocritical double moral is reaching American proportions.  First class aesthetic photographs which will certainly not harm the "reputation of the opera".  If I think about what is displayed up on the stage - and mostly without even warning the public - Please!
    So, please, dear responsible ones, pull the stick out of your a... and let this dancer do her job.
  • 14. Oktober 2010 von Satanskatze: oh good grief, how prudish they are all of a sudden!  what about the ballets where the groups of dancers run around the stage naked? 


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