Ballet Flunks Gender Diversity Again

Let’s get one thing straight – I’m a big fan of Misty Copeland and Justin Peck – as dancer and choreographer.


As curators of ballet festivals, not so much. Copeland and Peck were invited by the Kennedy Center to curate Ballet Across America. I don’t have a quarrel with the companies they selected – they are diverse and from across America.

But… the choreographers? ALL MALE.

What were they thinking?

Clearly, they weren’t thinking. Which is a condition endemic in the ballet world where men rule and women follow orders. Even women, like Misty Copeland, seemingly have become so accustomed to the patriarchy that they reflectively choose male choreographers when given the chance to promote female choreography.

Why not pick ballet companies for Ballet Across America that actually promote female choreography? There are a few out there. Cincinnati Ballet springs to mind – their next season has half female choreographers. Ballet West is producing a festival next year with female-led companies and choreographers. Even New York City Ballet, Justin Peck’s home company, has commissioned two female choreographers for their last opening night gala and for their next. And ABT, Misty Copeland’s home company, has an active female choreography commissioning program.

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