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Artistic Director Katy Pyle founded the group alongside other like-minded individuals, including Jules Skloot, in after finding that the world of ballet did not celebrate or allow space for queer and trans bodies and narratives. The characters in our shows play with, and break, the classical rules in terms of how they dress, present, dance and behave in relationship to one another. Katy Pyle: Ballez began in out of a latent desire within myself to return to the expressive dancing and narrative world of ballet, which I had loved as a child but been shut out from when my politics, gender, sexuality and body changed as a teenager.

I connected with a group of downtown dance friends around these desires, including my long-term choreographic collaborator Jules Skloot, and the word "Ballez" was born, initially as a joke.

by Stoneley, Peter

We thought, "what could be more ridiculous than downtown, queer dancers expressing their values in a ballet? After some research and initial proposals, Ballez had a residency at Brooklyn Arts Exchange to begin our first performance project, "The Firebird, a Ballez," and we started offering weekly classes, open to anyone who wanted to come into the studio and grapple with these ideas with us. Mark's Church. We went on to reprise the show that Fall, and were then invited to perform at the Brooklyn Museum, Abrons Arts Center and in various festivals around town.

A Queer History of the Ballet by Peter Stoneley (English) Hardcover Book Free Sh

In what ways does Ballez queer these classic shows from the ballet cannon? Why is this important? Ballez re-writes classics from the ballet canon to celebrate the stories and performances of queer people, and reimagines the classically gendered characters of those stories in our own image. We diverge from the classical ballet gender binary and present, instead, multiplicity, complexity, and alternatives to the classical norms. We take classic tales, that are part of a wider culture, like "The Firebird," "Sleeping Beauty" and "Beauty and the Beast," and create new stories that don't just include us, but celebrate us at the center of something grand, noble and glorious.

To insert ourselves into the ballet canon is pretty intense.

Ballez, a Queer Ballet Company, Is Putting Their Classes Online For Everyone | them.

Ballet has been very exclusive, imperialist, hierarchical The work we do serves to create new representations within the world of ballet and seeks to create more space for new bodies, stories and identities to see themselves reflected, admired and revered within that world Why is it important to create spaces for queer, trans and gender-nonconforming people in the world of ballet? The ballet world is woefully narrow in its scope of representation. And I think the form itself suffers from it.


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There are a lot of incredible dancers, like me and the people I work with, who have been shut out from that world because of those narrow ideas of how things should be, who should belong and what people can do. And because of that, a whole treasure of insights, ideas and beautiful dancing has been lost.

And while there has been a modicum of space for gay men within the form, the experiences of queer women, gender non-conforming people and trans people has been completely ignored. But I think we actually have a whole lot to offer.

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From my experiences living as a queer person in the world, I have learned to partner differently. I have not been expected to play a certain de facto role in my relationships, in terms of my gender and self-expression. I am a feminine-presenting person and yet, within the queer community, I am allowed to be a boss, to be strong and to lift up my partners, literally and metaphorically!

The origins of ballet - Jennifer Tortorello and Adrienne Westwood

I am allowed to be aggressive and powerful in my presentation and in my dancing. That is not something I experienced in the classical ballet world, and I think that's ridiculous.

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