Ballet these days hasn’t been getting the best press coverage, from scandals and accusations at the highest level of institutions to mental health awareness, to the COVID-19 financial choking of our art, ballet is just not getting the best wrap. Across the world right now, pandemic or not, the world has become obsessed with men’s fashion again. You might be asking, “How does mens fashion have anything to do with ballet?” As an avid fashion lover and former fashion editor, I would have asked the same thing, but fashion really is a reflection of our times, and menswear right now is the hottest ticket in fashion. From rappers to A-list Gen-Z celebrities, and social media famous influencers populating the explore pages of social media, menswear has completely reinvented itself.
While pearls and chokers haven’t been worn by men in over a hundred years, these once “gender norm” accessories are redefining how we see masculinity. How is this changing ballet? The boys in ballet are not shying away from this. From painted fingernails at barre, to heels and pointe shoes, to leotards and what was once classified as female dance attire, ballet boys are embracing this new found power, and in what is now the hottest trends in fashion.
But, this isn’t just about trend or hype. In fact, it has to do with self awareness, the lack of the need for competition, the value of authenticity, vulnerability, sticking to their guns and living by their core values and beliefs, and the motivation for change in the next generation.
What was once used as a source of comedy and satire, Ballet Trockedero, now seems to be more than just men on pointe for comedy. Boys and men around the world are taking what was once revered as the female aspect of ballet, if not what defines ballet, and have taken it to a whole new level for men.
So, while pop culture and mainstream media embrace this newfound version of non-conforming identities, will ballet also finally take note that things are changing?