Added: Greogry Weigand - Date: 29.11.2021 01:50 - Views: 35762 - Clicks: 3425
The new Starz miniseries Flesh and Bone draws a parallel between dancers and prostitutes. Is it misogyny? If its portrayal in film and TV is any indication, we take great pleasure in unmasking this seemingly pristine world to find tragedy or scandal or corrupted innocence behind the curtain. This is not a new fascination: Consider the classic film The Red Shoesinspired by a Hans Christian Andersen tale of the same name written a century earlier, in which the titular footwear dance their wearer to death.
Five years ago, the film Black Swan gleefully followed the shattering of a fragile ballerina. Audiences and critics delighted in seeing the art form of propriety and elegance smeared with sleaze. Flesh and Bone borrows many of the same tropes that Black Swan used to spice up ballet: freaky family members, mental instability, drug use, jealousy, and sexual repression.
From the first episode, many of the featured female characters, portrayed by professional ballerinas, get naked. One is introduced to viewers having sex. One works at a strip club on the side. In the first third of the series, there is almost as much dancing on poles in clubs as at barres in studios, and there is no male nudity.
It Flesh and bone sex scenes that a woman is telling this story — otherwise the ample display of young female flesh would be too easy to write off as misogynistic. But maybe Walley-Beckett, who has a dance background and, judging by her Twitter feeda deep respect for its minutiae, is trying to make a point.
Beware: The Nutcracker tidal wave approaches. That description is explicitly echoed during a donor party scene in Episode 2 of Flesh and Bone. This erasing of the seedier side of ballet extends into the 20th century as well, and to the personal lives of iconic men who defined ballet as we know it today. George Balanchine, the revered master choreographer, was married four times; each of his wives was also one his dancers.
He had many affairs with other dancers, too, often much younger than he. Clearly, though, the show is an exaggeration and a melodrama. Often, it approaches camp. Would this happen? And then people would start telling me stories. I mean, the people that I asked said it goes on. So maybe it is this persistence of the sexual subjugation and expectation of women, not just in ballet but in the workplace in general, that inspired Walley-Beckett to explicitly dramatize its impact from the point of view of a young heroine.
But perhaps more accurately, if almost accidentally, Flesh and Bone follows the arc of ballet as an art form in which women were once exploited and, though respected and protected now, still struggle to assert themselves in a world where male dancers — that rare specimen — are coddled and male choreographers and administrators still hold disproportionate power.
This spring, Siobhan Burke, writing in the New York Times and continuing an ongoing discussion, called out New York City Ballet for not including any female choreographers in a festival of new work. All Rights Reserved. Subscribe To Out Magazine. Search form Search.
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Review: ‘Flesh and Bone’ Season 1 Packs Sex, Drugs and Strangeness Into Its Dance