I’ll get the inevitable out of the way first: as if everyone didn’t know by now, Joy Womack is apparently leaving the Kremlin Ballet, or has left already, or has…I don’t know. To make a long story short, she’s now hanging out in southeast Asia and it sounds like she’s AWOL from the Kremlin Ballet.
If she has left or is leaving the Kremlin, I’m relieved for her because she’ll likely be out of Russia for good. What’s going on at the top of the political spectrum right now is bound to affect U.S. expats in Russia; it’s naive to an extreme to believe otherwise.
In truth I sort of saw this coming during Womack’s extended stay in New York last winter, during which she realized she doesn’t need to be in Russia to be happy as a dancer. But we’ll see if she actually formally cuts ties before I comment further. This could all be talk and nothing more, but I honestly hope it’s more.
ANYWAY, now to the point of this article: the way some dancers are dressing these days. I was roaming around Twitter this morning when I saw a tweet from Dance Magazine touting an article about choosing a college ballet program. In the tweet was a photo of an ultra-serious teen dancer wearing sheer tights over what looked like very low bikini underpants. I saw where someone had replied, “…starting with pants.” I’m sure that got them blocked by Dance Magazine, but that’s not the point.
There has been some mention of this on other dance blogs, but I never really wanted to approach the subject here for fear of looking prudish. Anyway, those blogs were talking about a far more serious matter — the sexualization of little kids (as in “Dance Moms”) — and I thought if an adult dancer wants to walk around nearly naked, that’s their business.
But then I saw this photo. I have to be honest with you, it looked pretty gross.
No I’m not saying that older, advanced students should dress like the little kids do, in proper black leotards and pink tights or whatever the standard is. But there has to be some realization that, you know, we’re out in pubic and some cover of private parts is necessary.
Covering a bit more also keeps your muscles warmer. That’s just a fact.
Basically it just looks better. Honest, I’ve been seeing a ton of photos of dancers without tights lately and although the photos do make the point that dancers are athletes — and that point may be apt in contemporary dance, which often offers nothing but athleticism — it just looks strange with a Romantic tutu or even a classical one. After all, ballet is about defying the earth — and as an extension, one’s body.
Overexposure has become a problem throughout our society, but in dance it’s just gone a little further (and in the case of costumes for little kids, TOO far). I’m ready for the pendulum to swing back the other way, but it doesn’t look like it will any time soon.