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Hi. I want to talk about why I am returning to ballet.

I acknowledge the legacy of harm throughout the history of ballet. I don't want to erase that. I want to engage with it. That harm lives in my body too.

That being said, ballet gives me pleasure! So much pleasure. It feels fucking fantastic to me! That's it. That's why. I do ballet because it feels good to me.

I am experiencing gender euphoria in my ballet practice. I like feel myself in my gender in ballet. I wear men's ballet attire and I feel fierce and handsome and powerful and athletic and graceful and beautiful all at once!

I don't even like most ballet in performance. So much of it feels distant, mechanical, predictable, formulaic, out of touch.

I like structure. The rhythm of the ballet class feels like home. It works for my body. The repetition, the progression. I want to explore the unruly body inside the frame of the ballet class. I want to explore sensation, pleasure and power inside of my ballet practice.

I am 41. I was birthed into the world, my mother's eyes focused on a photo of a child ballet dancer. I've danced my whole life. It's the only thing I ever wanted really. It hasn't been easy. It's been so damn hard. I've worked hard. My body has worked incredibly hard. I'm at a point of needing to let go and do less. All of my teachers tell me so. I fear that if I don't my body will start to break down. Learning to attune to my body, when I have dominated my body most of my life because of toxic dance practices, because of white supremacy, because of internalized homophobia and transphobia, because of Christian dominance is not easy for me.

Lucky for me, I also have had some good teachers who have been healers to me and many. And in spite of some harm, ballet practice has always been a space of state shifting for me. I have been rediscovering through my teaching practice, the ballet class as space for state shifting that I can rest in. I find that I can move my energy through class. I am in transition in many ways in my life right now. My nervous system is homing through my ballet practice and for this I am deeply grateful.

Don't worry. I'm still a contemporary dancer. I'm drawn to dance theater most of all. I value breaking rules and challenging normativity and making beauty. I'm watching myself fall down a ballet hole and I'm just processing it publicly because I don't want to feel alone in my work. It's lonely to work as a dance artist sometimes. I appreciate community and sensing belonging through communal discourse. So, what are your thoughts?


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