“The destruction being carried on in this post-George Floyd moment cannot be overstated. Everything in the West’s cultural inheritance, whether in music, literature, or art, is coming down….Visual and kinetic uniformity in a corps de ballet was an aesthetic ideal; it, too, had nothing to do with race. Yet that uniformity must now fall so that no individual ballet dancer feels that her precious diversity currency is devalued.”
Social commentator Heather MacDonald, in her depressing report, “Beside the Pointe:
Diversity and bias obsessions come for ‘Swan Lake’“
It’s a fascinating case study of how the George Floyd Freakout, combined with ruthless determination of minority activists to exploit that tragedy to grab power, and the utter failure of sniveling organization leaders to demonstrate the requisite spine that any institution requires in its leadership, is resulting in cultural carnage with few countervailing benefits.
The iceman cometh late for the weird world of classic ballet, as MacDonald, obviously a fan (I am not) points out:
Classical ballet has largely escaped the revisionist destruction that hit the opera and theater stages years ago. Amazingly, audiences could still see Swan Lake and La Bayadere as their choreographers and composers intended them, with all the conventions and costumes of nineteenth-century fairytale intact…. the adolescent politicizing that has been inflicted on defenseless operas has been absent from the ballet stage. That immunity has undoubtedly now ended. Expect to see classical ballets wrenched awkwardly into dumbshows about social justice.
Oh, I do, I do. She relates a race controversy from two years ago, when the Staatsballett Berlin mounted “Swan Lake,” in which white body paint has traditionally been used on the ballerinas to create the illusion that the dancers are swans. The company’s ballet mistress told the company’s one black dancer to use the body make-up like the rest of the dancers. When she protested that she’d never look white, the mistress responded, “Well, you will have to put on more than the other girls.”