Oregon Artswatch shared a preview of a panel in April led by Brian McWhorter, the Eugene Ballet Music Director. Typically, DDP praises such panels as noble opportunities to analyze topics of inequity and the bizarre narratives that we accept as the norm in ballet. The upcoming panel, hosted by the University of Oregon, however, selected an image of a tutu-clad man in chains for its thumbnail and headlining poster. The content of “Ballet Outsider” seems appropriate and wide-ranging, but this image is grossly inappropriate and makes a joke out of the very real topics and challenges headlining this event. The gender held back by chains in this art is certainly not male. Read the event description below:
Inspired by the #MeToo movement, challenges to age-old ballet narratives, and questions surrounding race, gender roles, sexism, equality, eating disorders, and abuse in ballet, Eugene Ballet Music Director Brian McWhorter hosts a panel discussion exploring the state of ballet prior to the Eugene Ballet’s production of Romeo and Juliet. (The event is part of the ongoing Ballet Outsider series). Guest speakers include Lara Bovilsky, an associate professor of English at the University of Oregon whose work focuses on early modern British understandings of group and individual identity; Jamie Friedman, an assistant professor of English at Linfield College, who specializes in identity politics in 14th-century English literature; and Shannon Mockli, a University of Oregon associate professor of dance and choreographer known for provocative, individualistic work.
The next Ballet Outsider panel takes place at noon April 10. It will feature Eugene Ballet resident choreographer Suzanne Haag, who is choreographing an updated version of The Firebird that puts the story in a contemporary context.