Aug 25, 2014

Where are the Gay-Themed Ballets?

There are two problems with looking for beefcake and bonding in contemporary ballet:

1. The ballet is not easy, so you won't see a lot of amateur productions, thus limiting the venues for your search.

2. The plotlines are aggressively heterosexist. Occasionally you find a piece with homoerotic subtexts, such as The Midsummer Night's DreamThe Afternoon of a Faun, or Proust, but usually it's boy meets girl, over and over and over again.

Take the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, one of the most famous theaters in the world, with the renowned Kirov Ballet Company (tickets run from $25 to $75, if you're interested).

This year they're doing:

1. Swan Lake: a prince falls in love with a woman who has been transformed into a swan.  There's been an all-male version, but not here.

2. La Sylphide: a male farmer falls in love with a sylph (a female forest spirit).

3. Sleeping Beauty:  based on the fairy tale about a woman who has been put under a spell, and can only be awakened by "true love's kiss." See Maleficent for a non-heterosexist interpretation.

4. The Nutcracker: a girl falls in love with a magic nutcracker.

5. Le Parc: four Cupids oversee men and women falling in love.  It could easily be revised to have some same-sex couples,

6. Anna Karenina: The married Anna has an an affair with Count Vronsky.

7. The Fountain of Bakhchisarai: The Khan is in love with two women.

8. Shurale: A forest monster kidnaps a woman, and a prince rescues her, in love...

9. Don Quixote: Don Quixote wins the heart of Dulcinea.  No buddy-bonding with Sancho Panza.

10. Cinderella: The fairy tale about a prince who falls in love with a girl wearing glass shoes.  Can you imagine anything more uncomfortable?

11. Spartacus: The homoerotic tale of the ancient Roman slave is turned into a hetero-romance.

12. Giselle: A nobleman falls in love with a peasant girl, who dies.  He's got a competitor, so there could be some triangulation,

Wow.  I guess we'll have to make do with beefcake.  Fortunately, ballet specializes in muscular male bodies in extra-revealing outfits.

See also: The Erik Bruhn Prize.