The Guardian: The #QueertheBallet movement: ‘it’s more than a man lifting a woman in a tutu’
By Emily Dixon
10 February 2021
Shortly after Adriana Pierce joined Miami City Ballet, someone watched her train and made an assessment: “Is Adriana a lesbian? Because she looks like one.” The comment propelled Pierce into exacting self-scrutiny: “I was like, does my dancing look gay? Do I look different? I am different – is that OK?”
Pierce, who left the company after seven seasons to focus on choreography and musical theatre, has rarely felt represented as a queer woman in the ballet world but with her new movement, #QueertheBallet, she hopes to inspire change. Her first project is a pas de deux en pointe choreographed on the American Ballet Theatre dancers Remy Young and Sierra Armstrong, which she is developing during a dance residency at the Bridge Street theatre in Catskill, New York. “I want to show people an authentic, complex relationship between two women through ballet,” Pierce explains. “I want people to see that ballet can be more than a man lifting a woman in a tutu.”
Although queer men are also largely cast in heteronormative partnerships, while facing well-documented homophobic stigma, the crucial difference for Pierce is visibility. “Queer women aren’t even on the radar in our spaces. I sometimes do experience overt homophobia, but the worst of it is the micro-aggression. I’m just never considered,” she says. “The idea that a woman might deviate from the image we expect as a professional ballet dancer is just not even a thought people have.”
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