Editor in Chief
From early on in my dance training, I got the
message that girls were less valuable than boys.
The male students automatically got scholarships, extra attention, solos during recitals and,
as soon as they reached a decent degree of competence, paying gigs. Meanwhile, the girls had
to wait much longer for those same opportunities, diligently putting in the work required to
successfully compete for them. Of course, the
bias wasn’t intentional or mean-spirited. It was a
numbers game, and, to a certain extent, tradition
in what remains a world filled with women but
run mainly by men.
This month, we were inspired to put to-
gether a Feminist Issue because dance—particu-
larly ballet—seems to be reaching something of
a turning point. As our field has grown increas-
ingly aware of its gender problem, women
are getting more and more opportunities to
choreograph and direct. Yet they still have to
fight harder than men do to get those jobs. And
as we interviewed industry leaders for this issue,
we realized that, too often, women aren’t even
signing up for the fight. They don’t put them-
selves out there or ask to be considered. They’ve
grown too used to politely waiting their turn.
But if we’re going to make our field equal,
women will need to take more risks. Sure, they
may still have to work harder to prove themselves. But as any dancer knows, the harder you
work, the stronger you get—and the more passion you end up having for what you do.
Our cover star, Julie Kent, is a case in point.
Her ambitions as the new artistic director of
The Washington Ballet are inspiringly bold. She
hopes to almost double the size of the company,
partner with major DC institutions like the
Smithsonian, add 19th- and 20th-century masterworks to the rep, and, ultimately, bring the
troupe more national recognition. Time will tell
whether all her plans will succeed. But, as Kent
says, “You have to go for it.”
Louise Lecavalier has long been
an emblem of female strength
and daring. Here, in her latest
“There’s a ferocity
a spark of defiance.
She’s always projected
this strong feminine
—choreographer Tedd Robinson on
why he admires Louise Lecavalier,