Sep 25, 2014

Cinderella: Men in Tights

Let's face it -- 90% of the reason we go to the ballet is for the beefcake -- to look at the muscular male dancers in skin-tight leotards.  10% or less is for the bonding -- gay subtexts are scarce, even when the choreographer is gay.

And Cinderella is the most heterosexist of the lot.  It's based on the most iconic of Charles Perrault's fairy tales:

1. Cinderella escapes from her horrible childhood home to a fancy dress ball, with the help of a fairy godmother and a furry-animal makeover.
2. The Handsome Prince falls in love with her.
3. She flees at midnight, before she turns into a pumpkin.
4. The Handsome Prince tries her shoe out on every woman in the kingdom, but it only fits Cinderella.

Cinderella has no female friends, only bullying stepsisters.  The Handsome Prince has no male friends, just fawning courtiers.  It's male-female pas de deux, heterosexual love! love! love! from here to eternity.

There have been about 20 ballet versions, but the most commonly performed is the 1945 version with music composed by Sergei Prokofiev.

It adds some comedic touches, such as having the stepsisters performed by men in drag (as they are in the popular British pantomimes).  In 1948, it was re-choreographed as a full-blown comedic ballet.

Still entirely heterosexist, from stem to stern.

Fortunately, costumers usually compensate by dressing the Prince in the most tightly revealing leotards they can find.

So audiences who are bored by the heterosexual love! love! love! mantra can still find something to look at.

See also: The Midsummer Night's Dream Ballets.

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