|Daniil Simkin, principal at ABT. Photo taken by Rosalie O'Connor.|
|And this is a tame picture! Photo from Google.|
Not to mention that the content of many classical ballet shows, such as Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty, largely feature heroines without much agency and male leads who are very stereotypically “prince”-like. (Why Cinderella doesn’t just move out and get a job?) Nowadays, the focus for ballet dancers is portraying, not celebrating, the character and any potentially unethical themes of the story. But those characters are celebrated regardless. We, the audience, want to root for Cinderella. We want Aurora to get woken by her what’s-his-name prince and get married and live happily ever after. We feel a pang when Nikita is bitten by the snake, ignoring all the major prejudices of the rest of the setting and plot.
But I don’t feel wrong dancing ballet. There is absolutely nothing I can feel guilty for in pushing myself and trying my best. I love performing classical ballets. Personally, when I dance a villain, or even a member of the corps I can celebrate my character, even if the audience doesn’t. I can complain about my aching feet all I want, but in the end I still ribbon up my pointes. I do not feel that the actual act or process of dancing ballet or performing for a ballet company is unfair.
|Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev in Don Quixote. Photo from Google.|
|Misty Copeland, soloist with ABT. Photo from Joel Minden's website.|