Crosscut: Teen choreographers hope to break ballet’s glass ceiling
7 February 2019
By Brangien Davis
On a chilly Wednesday night in Seattle, a group of young dancers is planting seeds of revolution.
The girls — all 14 to 16 years old — are flocked on the floor of a Pacific Northwest Ballet rehearsal studio, chatting nervously while parents file into the viewing area. As advanced-intermediateLevel VII students enrolled in PNB School, these young women have been in dance recitals before, but this one is different. This time, they’ve written the choreography themselves.
“Ballet is woman,” said legendary choreographer George Balanchine. He had a point, except when it comes to the choreography.
While modern dance has long drawn female choreographers, contemporary ballet remains largely created by men. The women who tend to pop up on seasonal ballet lineups — Twyla Tharp, Jessica Lang, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa — are exceptions to a norm that has existed since approximately the Renaissance. (PNB’s 2018-2019 season includes 13 male choreographers and justone woman, Robin Mineko Williams, on the Director’s Choice mixed bill.)
In an effort to help right this disparity, PNB School Director Peter Boal has said he is currently working to “rectify an imbalance that exists in ballet.” This fall, PNB launched a program that aims to dig toward the root of the problem by encouraging women to consider choreography as early as young teens.
Read the full article on Crosscut.
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