Thursday, March 02, 2006

Ballet, with B from Bondage

I'm going to let you in on a little secret: I love ballet. Something about watching the spectacle of the body in motion never fails to move me. However, here's the catch: well-executed dance does NOT have to employ sadistic techniques to subjugate women's bodies into forms deemed aesthetically pleasing.

I was moved to this abrupt conclusion while contemplating somewhat absently a large poster for an upcoming Firebird performance in a bus stop on Chestnut Street [couldn't find a large enough picture of that poster, so I borrowed something similar from the net]. The lady in question was posed in a tragic, suffering stance, tightly wrapped in an embroidered red bodice that streamlined her anorexic curves, while both feet were pointly planted in constricting upright ballet flats. With that amount of bondage, no wonder suffering came naturally.

I'm going to go all Twisty on you and blame the patriarchy for the notion that beauty in classical ballet can only be achieved by constricting women's bodies in corsets and tutus and forcing women's feet in unnatural positions that cause chronic pain, blisters, wounds, and permanent distortion of the toes. In that respect, the original ballet flat is suspiciously similar to a stiletto.

Since I would never dream of trying to balance my weight on one single suffering toe, I can blissfully enjoy my own ballet flats (I know I hoard at least 2 or 3 pairs in my closet. You?)