March 23rd, 2018

Male-led ‘Femmes’ ballet highlights gender imbalance in dance: choreographer

By The Canadian Press on March 8, 2018.

MONTREAL – A Toronto ex-dancer is hoping the controversy over a male-led ballet performance that was billed as a homage to women will lead to wider change in the dance world.

Choreographer Kathleen Rea launched a petition last week to get Montreal-based Les Grands ballets canadiens to add a female choreographer to its show entitled ”Femmes” after learning it was created by three men.

Les Grands ballets canadiens has since renamed the show, agreed to meet with Rea and changed marketing language that referred to women as symbols. It has not hired a female choreographer.

Rea says that while she’s generally pleased with the response to her petition, she says more needs to be done to address gender inequality in the ballet world.

She says that while dancers are overwhelmingly female, most of the board members, artistic directors and choreographers are white men.

She’s now developing a tip sheet for dance companies with suggestions on how they can support female choreographers and increase their diversity in leadership roles.

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