Talk:Alicia Markova/Archive 1

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The most awsome dancer ever!

she was really cool!!!!! File:Markova.jpg

Contradictory evidence about the first British prima ballerina assoluta (pba)

This claims that Margot Fonteyn is the first and only British pba. It comes across as quite authorititave. Comments?

Incidentally, can anyone assist with a good solution for the plural of "prima ballerina assoluta" in an English-language context. The Italian prime ballerine assolute seems non-optimal. There's a discussion going on at Talk:Ballerina#Plural about this -- JackofOz (talk) 00:48, 19 September 2008 (UTC)

Who made Alicia an assoluta and when? Wallie (talk) 14:09, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
I can absolutely vouch for the fact that Markova was given the title. For her 90th birthday, the Royal Ballet staged a special performance in her honour and the programme biography titles her as "Dame Alicia Markova, DBE, DMus, Prima Ballerina Assoluta (I'd be very worried if the Royal Ballet were getting things that that wrong ;-) I have emailed the person who wrote that article, because it is totally inaccurate in a number of respects. As for the plural, I get the impression that most people use the same title for singular and plural, but that is just an opinion. Crazy-dancing (talk) 20:35, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
The tradition of the title prima ballerina assoluta is that it can only be awarded to a dancer in a great company, and that no more than one can exist in the company at any one time (when awarded by the Tsar, that would probably mean only one in Russia!). Now, I think the Royal Ballet did not award her the title, probably because she was not with them in their royal period (Vic-Wells being of insufficient stature to award such a title). I would be delighted to be proved wrong, and that brings me to another point. More use could and should be made of standard reference sources in print: the issue should be resolved by reference to authoritative encyclopaedia articles. No question, though, that the lady was worth it, both as a dancer, and as an influence on the development of dance in Britain and elsewhere. Oh, as for plurals, there have been so few I don't think the need has arisen! Probably whatever would be usual in Italian. Macdonald-ross (talk) 07:57, 9 August 2009 (UTC)
See also my challenge on Ballerina talk page. Macdonald-ross (talk) 11:06, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
What did King George V have to do with it anyway? Surely, however she came by the title "Prima Ballerina Assoluta", it was not something that a British monarch bestows. It's something that emanates from the ballet world. It's not an official honour or award, like a knighthood. No? -- JackofOz (talk) 21:54, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Sorry, no evidence...

I've looked into it, and I'm sure Markova was never awarded pba, though she clearly merited it. Her greatest years were spent in her (& Dolin's) own company, with periods elsewhere as guest artist. She could hardly appoint herself pba, and no other ballet organisation (such as the Royal Ballet) put the omission right. Wishing doesn't make it so. Macdonald-ross (talk) 17:11, 14 August 2009 (UTC)

None of the references added to the intro provide reliable evidence of pba, though two (out of five) do refer to her as such. No-one has been able to say when and where and who made the assignment, so I continue to believe she was never officially awarded pba by any authority. Tough! Notice, in contrast, the detailed list of awards she was actually given. Macdonald-ross (talk) 15:45, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
Please refer to the two external links I found, English National Ballet - Dame Alicia Markova and the obituary, Dame Alicia Markova Brilliant prima ballerina; the preponderance of evidence is that she was. — Robert Greer (talk) 00:11, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
With respect, you're not addressing the issue, which is: who awarded her pba? When and where was it done? Where is the reliable reference with this data? There is no evidence. I have re-read the links, and I find: three cases where pba is claimed in headlines, but not mentioned in the text. That won't do, since editors and subs usually write headlines, not the author. One text, and only one, makes the claim in the body of the text (The Telegraph obituary, unsigned). The best articles by far are by Jane Pritchard and Nadine Meisner; both close with a paragraph listing Alicia's awards, and conspicuously lacking any pba claim. So, briefly, no-one has answered my Who, When, Where questions. It is wrong to make the claim in the article because it violates WP guidelines for reliable evidence. In passing, Alicia is not the only great ballerina whose career, for whatever reason, lacked a formal appointment to pba. The article can be improved by building in some of the reliable info in the Pritchard and Meisner articles, rather than introducing doubtful claims. Macdonald-ross (talk) 09:05, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
This is not a matter of great importance to me, but I believe that I did address the issue and that the preponderance of evidence is that Markova was a prima ballerina assoluta. The Daily Telegraph's obituary is not the only article that mentions her as such in the body of the text; the Yorkshire Post's and The Guardian's do so as well. The fact that the Telegraph's obituary is unsigned does not diminish its credibility in the least; newpapers commonly prepare obits far in advance, and, as they are periodically updated, they are not necessarily considered to be the work of any one individual. The fact that other sources do not mention her having been dubbed an assoluta supports neither the claim that she was or was not one. Finally, I would ask what evidence there is in support of your initial claim that "Markova was never awarded pba"? — Robert Greer (talk) 20:37, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
As I've pointed out on the Ballerina talk page, the definition of PBA is not as simple as who, what, where, when and why. Each company, each country seemingly has a different definition of what equates to PBA, but further research shows that the common thread between all these definitions is that it is usually the ballet company that decides who should be given such a title. for example, the Queen did not decide that Margot Fonteyn would be PBA, the Royal Ballet did, they simply asked the Queen to give formal recognition of the title. Alessandra Ferri is recognised as the PBA of La Scala in Milan, the only difference is that she's never had a king or queen, or President 'award' her the title. The French Ballerina Yvette Chuvire is also a recognised PBA, but under the strict definition that has been laid out, she too fails to fit the bill for Wikipedia because again, in France, it is not a formal title. And Alicia Markova, despite being a founder of the company, she danced as Prima Ballerina of English National Ballet from its inception and the company now recognise her as Prima Ballerina Assoluta, so who are we to argue with that? As has been pointed out on many occasions, the title of PBA originates from Italy and was usualy given at the discretion of the ballet master, there is no evidence that any of these early PBAs were given formal recognition of the title, the ballet community were the people to decide who was 'good enough' to be given that rank. Crazy-dancing (talk) 16:03, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

I think in basic terms, what I'm trying to say and what the evidence clearly suggests, is that the title PBA is NOT an award, it's not like getting knighthood or war medal! The title existed long before the Russians created the tradition of 'bestowing' the title on a person as an honour. By trying to set one definitive way of deciding who can or can't be titled a PBA Assoluta on Wikipedia, it's actually massively distorting and misprepresenting what the title means.Crazy-dancing (talk) 16:03, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

Prove It?

My final comment on this topic, because it really is bothering me now. I realise that certain people are talking in Wikipedia terms, 'prove it or risk having it removed', but I would like to say this... PROVE THAT SHE WASN'T!!! It's very easy to waltz through articles about prima ballerinas and PBA's writing 'prove it' all over the place because the evidence given doesn't suit you, but in this case, there is an array of evidence to support the fact that Alicia Markova WAS a Prima Ballerina Assoluta and regardless of the fact that there is not a specific date and time when she was bestowed this honour, it doesn't change the FACT that there is plenty of evidence to say that she was one. I know it would suit Wikipedia to have a one size fits all way of identifying a Prima Ballerina Assoluta, but there isn't one. So instead of coming on and shouting prove it and ignoring the numerous RELIABLE sources that cite her as being one, try proving that she wasn't. This is not a doubtful claim, it is actually a very well supported one. Crazy-dancing (talk) 17:33, 6 September 2009 (UTC)