Adult Ballez is a dance class that explores the traditionally gender-binaried, exclusive culture of ballet class, radically re-imagining it as a site of liberatory, joyful, and inclusive queer play. Shifting the focus away from traditional ideas of virtuosity, we explore the virtuosity of genderqueer embodiment, practice energetic mirroring, learn inclusive partnering techniques, seek out (and destroy) our culturally constructed biases, and discover new freedom to witness the beauty of one another as we dance to the beats of queer icons! Starting with authentic (fantasy) movement, we warm-up at the barre, then move to center to turn, jump, practice partnering, and help each other fly across the floor.
The workshop, given in the context of Aynsley Vandenbroucke’s spring dance course, “Power, Structure, and the Human Body,” begins at 12:30 p.m. in the Hagan Dance Studio at 185 Nassau Street. Open to Princeton students, faculty, and staff.
KATY PYLE is a choreographer and creator of performance whose works explore fantasy, transformation, queer failure, and the lineage of performance. Before founding the Ballez in 2011, she created evening length works: “Salute to Ex-Best Friends,”asubtout (Pyle & Eleanor Hullihan), Galapagos, 2005; “The Lady Centaur Show,” asubtout, PS 122, 2007; “THE WAY: You Make Me Feel,” Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church, 2010; and “COVERS,” The Bushwick Starr, 2012. She has co-created and performed works by Ivy Baldwin, Faye Driscoll, John Jasperse, Xavier Le Roy, Jennifer Monson, Anna Sperber, Katie Workum, and Young Jean Lee. She graduated summa cum laude from Hollins University with a BA in Multimedia Performance Art in 2002, and from the high school conservatory program at North Carolina School of the Arts in 1999, majoring in Ballet and Contemporary. She was a 2013-2015 Artist in Residence at BAX, and has received additional residencies through Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, at Mount Tremper Arts, Rockbridge Artist’s Exchange, the Dragon’s Egg, Abrons Arts Center, and La Mama, ETC.
The Ballez is inserting the herstory and lineage of lesbian, queer and transgender people into the ballet canon, through the creation of large-scale story ballets, open classes, and public engagement. Major works include “The Firebird, a Ballez,” at Danspace Project in Spring (with a reprise in Fall) 2013, “Variations on Virtuosity, a Gala with the Stars of the Ballez” at American Realness at Abrons Arts Center in January 2015, and “Sleeping Beauty & the Beast,” at La Mama in Spring 2016. “Adult Ballez Class” has been ongoing at Brooklyn Arts Exchange since 2011, and Pyle, Jules Skloot and company members have brought the class to Movement Research, Allied Media Conference (Detroit), CounterPULSE (San Francisco), University Musical Society (Ann Arbor), Irreverent Dance (London), Beyond Tolerance Youth Conference (NYC), Yale, New York University, Sarah Lawrence, and this past Fall at the New School and Beloit College (Wisconsin), where Pyle also began developing a new Ballez with students. The company has been supported by: the Jerome Foundation, Mertz Gilmore, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Brooklyn Arts Council, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, and over 1,000 individual donors.