Challenging Gender Through Ballet


How Katy Pyle, artistic director of the New York-based queer dance company Ballez, is turning traditional ideas of gender and ballet on their head.

Ballet is extreme. That’s exactly why the choreographer Katy Pyle loves it.

Ms. Pyle has invented something new: ballez. It sums up her company, her movement practice, her teaching and the way she envisions the future of ballet. She is showcasing stories of, as she puts it, lesbian, queer and transgender people in the unlikely world of tutus and tiaras. Ballet is exclusive; ballez, made up of dancers who identify in myriad ways, is not.

Pyle told NY Times that “I just don’t believe in neutral. I want to use this form to show that people are still carrying these subconscious judgments and ideas about how we should behave in relation to each other, how we should look and move, and what’s possible and what’s allowed.”

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