From The Ethics Alarms Lost Files: The Ballet Dancer, The Man On The Tracks, And The Duty To Rescue

That’s our hero, Gray Davis, in the bottom photo. The top photo is just a suggestion if he decides to go pro…

[This story is several months old, but I missed it.  Luckily my friend, long-time Ethics Alarms reader and commenter Ethics Bob did not, and sent it to me. Then I missed his e-mail. Until today.]

Ethics Alarms often writes about the duty to rescue, but has also often discussed the reasonable limitations on that duty. You are ethically required to do what you can to prevent a tragedy if you have the power to do so, and instant presence of mind to do so. There is no ethical duty to act like Batman, unless, of course, you are Batman.

Gray Davis is Batman.

Well, that’s not quite right.

Let’s call him “Ballet Man,”

In June, a 58-year-old homeless man fell or was pushed onto the subway tracks at the 72nd Street Broadway-Seventh Avenue station in Manhattan. People began screaming and shouting for someone to help. Davis, 31, told reporters that “At first I waited for somebody else to jump down there…. But nobody jumped down. So I jumped down.” Actually he leaped down. Davis is a ballet  dancer with the American Ballet Theater. He had not performed that night, a Saturday, because he was recovering from a herniated disk. He had just watched his wife, soloist Cassandra Trenary, dance in both the matinee and the evening performances of “The Golden Cockerel.”

After Gray’s graceful assemblé from the platform onto the tracks, he lifted up the man, following a temps leve, although the carry itself was not standard and had several technical flaws by ABT standards, forgivable because ballerinas are not typically dead weight, and unconscious homeless men are not typically ballerinas. Gray deposited his temporary partner on the platform, where he was immediately attended to by others.

Then the dancer heard a train in the distance, and for the first time realized how high it was to the platform from the tracks. “Luckily, I’m a ballet dancer,” he said. Luckily for everyone. Lifting his let up over his head is a breeze.

Ballet dancers are much-maligned, and increasingly unappreciated as artists despite the fact that they are among the most skilled athletes in the world. Batman would have to have ballet training; Daredevil too. Unfortunately, they aren’t real. Graey Davis, Ballet Man, is real, and when a life was at stake and everyone else was calling for someone else to he a hero, he was one, because he knew he had the skills to pull it off.

Bravo!

Encore!

_____________________

Pointer: Ethics Bob

Ethics Quiz: The Uncast Star

WSS dancer

Northern Virginia’s most acclaimed and honored musical theater, Signature Theater (not to be confused with also well-honored NYC regional theater of the same name) is currently presenting “West Side Story.” A feature article about the sold-out production noted the fact that the show’s marketing prominently features  dancer Gustavo Ribeiro, a former member of the Washington Ballet’s Studio Company, whose career has been soaring of late, just like the photo of him mid-air that has appeared in Signature’s season announcement, show posters, program covers and in “West Side Story” reviews and features.

In addition to inducing potential audience members to believe this superb dancer is featured in the show, the fact that he is apparently Latino creates the assumption, suggests the article’s author, that members of the Puerto Rican gang, the Sharks, are played by Hispanic actors.

They are not. Neither is Ribeiro in the show his image advertises. Nor, I strongly suspect, are any dancers of his caliber.

For your first Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of 2016, I ask you:

Is this ethical advertising?

Continue reading

Natalie Portman Ethics, Part II: The Body Double

This looks like Oscar, but it's really his body-double, Chip.

Sarah Lane, Natalie Portman’s Designated Ballet Dancer in “Black Swan, ” has caused a controversy by revealing that it was her, not Natalie (okay, maybe Natalie’s head on Sarah’s body), in some/many/most of the dance sequences. This has caused some commentators to suggest that Portman’s Academy Award was based on a sham. The film’s PR flacks made a big deal out of how Portman, with no more ballet training that your sister, worked so hard to acquire professional level dancing skills. Could this have made the difference in the Academy’s decision? Continue reading