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Lesbian or Bisexual women in the Ballet community rare or taboo?


Guest tinytutu

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Guest tinytutu

I’ve read a lot of statistics on the amount of gay men in Ballet; around 50% of male ballet dancers are gay. But I’ve found zero information about bisexual or lesbian women in Ballet. Is it simply a rarity? There aren’t many, so therefore there are no statistics? Or is being a bisexual or lesbian woman in the ballet community not widely accepted, and/or considered taboo? Is their a social stigma?

 

I hope this is the right place to post this...

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You state with certainty that about half of male dancers are gay, but I'm not really sure how accurate that statistic is, so I'm not sure that your question about a possible different treatment of female dancers is based on any sort of valid basis.

 

And I suppose I'd ask back, why is a dancer's sexuality of any interest to anyone, except the dancer him or herself?

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I’ve read a lot of statistics on the amount of gay men in Ballet; around 50% of male ballet dancers are gay.

 

Please cite the source of the said statistics, giving title, author and page. I've been in the business for 50 years and have never seen any studies covering the topic. It's all anecdotal stuff. Redbookish's question is also well-taken.

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Take a tip from someone who in his working days was a statistician—whenever you see a number quoted in the popular press, ask yourself this question: “How did they ever determine this number?”

 

Guaranteed to turn you into a real skeptic about what you read or hear, at least when it comes to numbers.

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Tinytutu, I'm hoping that you are an adult dancer, as I moved this topic to Adult Ballet Students. If you are not an adult, please let me know.

 

Actually, I'm not convinced that there is anything more to be said about this topic, nor any reason for it to be here, since I really don't believe there are any statistics. Nor do I believe it to be, as Redbookish said, of interest to anyone except the dancer, him or herself.

 

I'm leaving it open only so that you have a chance to respond.

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If they can dance, I'm buying a ticket to watch. It makes no difference to me. I think it might be just the opposite of where tinytutu was going with this in that it is just accepted and not taboo.

 

Ms. Leigh, I realize you moved this to Adult Dancer board and while I'm listed as a Mom of a dancer, it's only been about 5 years since I was in the studio too, which is why I voiced in on this one here.

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It's okay, BalletK. I moved it here mainly to try to keep it from the YD's.

 

As far as accepted, yes, I agree, however, I have been totally involved in ballet for many decades and have met maybe four or five female homosexuals in the DANCE world, and only one of them in ballet. Granted, that is certainly not a statistic, however, I think it might indicate something. :)

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The discussion about needing statistics and studies to back up assertions is really great. I'm not clear why you want to keep this away from the YDs?

 

(Background: my DD is president of the Queer-Straight Alliance at her high school. They work really hard to inform kids about homosexuality, and especially to try to address discrimination and stereotyping. She would want me to point out our dancers all probably know someone who is gay, and that not discussing these issues openly only makes it harder for their friends who are gay to live comfortably in the world.)

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Because I already had protests from parents. Not all of them are comfortable with discussions of this subject.

 

I'm not comfortable with it because I don't think it is relative to ballet.

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Guest coupe66
...... Not all of them are comfortable with discussions of this subject.

 

I'm not comfortable with it because I don't think it is relative to ballet.

 

Ms. Leigh thank you :) Every family has its own level of comfortability with regard to the discussion of various sensitive topics and no, it really is not relative to ballet. With the economy in the state it's in, many parents (including me) are just happy if they can afford to keep their dk's dancing at all at this point. What individual dancers do in their own free time outside of the studio is their private business and should be left there.

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I'm not sure that the whole population of "all ballet dancers" is large and/or concentrated enough to allow a true sample to be taken, and data derived therefrom. I've seen quite a few things which purported to be statistical analyses, but were simply compilations of anecdotes. If we can establish a bibliographic basis of real studies by recognized social scientists in serious peer-reviewed journals, then this thread could be very useful. I just don't know if there's anything like that out there. All I see are dressed up forms of gossip :) produced for the purpose of sexual politics or even mere titillation.

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All I see are dressed up forms of gossip :) produced for the purpose of sexual politics or even mere titillation.

 

And with that, I think it's time to close this topic. The poster's question has been quite well answered, and I really do not find this topic valid for this board.

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Guest tinytutu

You closed the topic without really answering my question, and did not give me enough time to respond. You should have at least left it open for 24 hours.

 

Wow. I was not expecting you guys to be so hostile about statistics. I cannot offer much of a source because I googled and didn’t bookmark. And it seems as far as you’re concerned articles on the internet are not a reliable source.

 

I’m pretty certain there has been actual legit studies about homosexuality in the ballet world. Maybe not as vast as you would like, but at least within professional ballet companies. I don’t have Linda H. Hamilton’s books (I think the one I'm thinking of is advise for dancers, published in 98.. but I think I have a few of hers) right now because I lent them to someone about a year or two or so ago and they have not given them back, but there is a section that has statistics on the subject I believe. I can’t be entirely certain of this though, because it’s been ages since I looked at it. I’d find it far fetched that you’ve never heard of her. If anyone has a copy on hand, I would appreciate it if you looked it up.

 

The male ballet dancer statistic was not the point of the post. The point of the post was asking about homosexual women, not men. The use the the statistic was to point out there are a lot of gay men in ballet, and it’s not a secret.

 

Thank you Victoria, what you said about only meeting one homosexual woman in Ballet was a little helpful. The most help that I got, however little. Was she very open about it then? Mind me asking where this woman lived --- what state or country? Did she dance professionally, recreationally, or was she a teacher?

 

It should be no one’s business who is gay or straight, you’re right. However much people like to be PC though, we’re all still human and not everyone isn't going to be prejudice. There are just as many people who are nonchalant about the subject as there are people who are openly against homosexuality. That you had protests from parents (whom I’m guessing didn’t want to expose their young dancers -- whom according to your website have to be 13+ to be on here-- to homosexuality) proves my point that there are a lot of closed-minded people out there.

 

Not to mention, in this day and age your personal life and ballet are more likely to cross than ever. For example where I am currently dancing, almost everyday someone is taking video or pictures behind the scenes that gets posted on facebook. Most of the students, company dancers, and teachers have facebook. Even the Artistic Director has one. Personal life and dance life cross there. A dancer should not have to have two separate facebooks so no one knows that they are gay unlike straight dancers.

 

Most people who are involved in ballet (whether it be as a student, a professional dancer, or a teacher) devote half their life to it. You spend hours in class and rehearsal. Most studios that I’ve been to become almost like a family, you become friends. (Its hard not to get friendly when you spend that much time together, working hard to achieve a common goal.) Friends even outside studio walls. Again, the paths of personal and ballet life cross. It’s not necessarily a necessity for a studio to have that sort of camaraderie to take class together or create wonderful ballets.... but it certainly makes it more fun. A lesbian dancer could be afraid to join in the friendships, isolating themselves and feel ostracized, for fear of retributions.

 

Also dancing/teaching Ballet as a profession means that the studio is a workplace. If there is a social stigma against homosexual women in the ballet community, and a dancer or a teacher is denied employment because of this, it makes it illegal in some states in the US. Homosexual employment discrimination is not illegal in all 50 states, not to mention other countries outside the US. I think the topic is very relevant and important at least with that.

 

“I'm not comfortable with it because I don't think it is relative to ballet.”

 

If you don’t think the subject is relevant to the ballet community... then I think your crazy.

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tinytutu-

You are new here and I respectfully suggest that you take some time to read our rules and guidelines. We are a ballet educational board, not a human sexuality class, and we don't think the topic is important because we don't care really whether someone is homosexual or not. It isn't relevant to our discussions here, and if you have any further issues with myself or with these policies, please take your complaints to the "Contact Us" button.

Thank you.

 

EDITED TO ADD-

I sense that you may need some support on this issue, and I encourage you to search for local support groups. People who walk outside of society's narrow lines need to know they are not alone. There are many groups now that take on issues such as this and they are run by trained professionals. Good luck.

Edited by Clara 76
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Dance has long been welcome to many different types of people including the Gay and Lesbian community. In fact, much more and much earlier than the society outside of the dance world. Additionally, the dance, specifically ballet world was open to those with of a different sexuality long before it was accepting of those from different ethnicities. Therefore, we believe it is unnecessary to discuss a breakdown of the sexuality of dancers because to do so introduces old stereotypes about dancers themselves. In reality, the real question in relation to ballet is, what difference does it make to the ability to attend dance class, SIs, audition for dance jobs and secure them? We are blessed that dance as a profession figured this out long ago and just simply accepted dancers on many other identifiers, sexuality NOT being one of them. And as a board, we are thankful of that and do truly feel that for the purposes of our discussions here, it is neither anyone's business what one's sexuality is nor a question that needs asking.

 

It is for this reason and this reason only that this thread is now closed.

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