About this project
$8500- We hire an animator to rainbowify our ronde de jambes trails, and add glittering sparkles to our port de bras
$9000- We hire a web-analytics expert to optimize our search terms so that more people can find the Ballez Class videos, more easily
$9500- We hire an amazing costume designer to amplify our class outfis!
future dancers, the future of dance
Back in the Fall of 2016, I received an email from a young person in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, who wanted to dance. They were particularly interested in learning more about ballet, and wanted to take some classes that would be respectful of their identity. After searching for queer and transgender ballet, they found us, and asked when the Ballez might be coming to their town, or anywhere nearby.
I have received many similar emails, messages, and questions over the years, but I didn’t write that young person back for 6 months, because I didn’t know what to say. I didn't have a solution.
After all the attention the Ballez has received in New York, I kept hoping someone would help us to tour, but no one is. And while I've been able to bring a Ballez class to some universities and progressive cities, no one is bringing us to South Dakota, or anywhere near there. And my memories of my own experiences growing up in the ballet world (and my continued observations of it) do not lead me to believe that this young person would feel welcomed or truly supported in a typical ballet class.
Ballez Class for EVERYONE
I feel strongly that Ballez class should be available to ANYONE seeking it. Whether you can't come to our class in Brooklyn because of distance, dollars, depression, or any other reason, I want to bring this practice to you!
Ballez class has been an ongoing, integral part of Ballez since founding the company in 2011. Ballez class queerly re-imagines all the standard ballet class exercises through a generous, playful, and open-hearted lens. Ballez class gives the ballet technique back to us, and lets us re-define it on our own terms, with our own values.
This new project is to translate all the research and development of Ballez technique into a series of 12 instructional videos that will be available online for all who choose to view them. The videos will feature an array of incredible Ballez dancers and teachers, demonstrating their own unique approach and virtuosity. We will display and celebrate a complex style of approaches, and show that we don't have to have one "right" way to do ballet. Ballez technique celebrates our variance, and our creative ownership of our own bodies and our own truths.
Once the videos are online, you can do them on your own or with a group of friends. You could rent a dance studio, or do them in your laundromat! You could make a FB event in your town and invite people to attend who you don't even know yet, and share the cost of the space! I want these videos to be an expansion of our practice of generous witnessing and the building of community.
We need YOU to raise the barre
In order to create this video series, we need to raise $8000 via this Kickstarter campaign. We have already put in 6 years of research and community building through our classes in Brooklyn, but we can’t bring this work out into the greater world without your donations. Your money will go directly to paying the team of collaborators on this series: the teachers, dancers, camera and sound people, editors, and producers, and will enable us to make this transformative online class free for everyone.
Acclaimed queer Filmmakers Courtney Powell and Tate Nova will work with an exceptional team of film and video artists to produce, shoot and edit these videos. Courtney has been a part of the Ballez community since our first production, has taken many Ballez classes, and understands our movement style, values and aesthetics. Our Ballez teachers Madison Krekel, Deborah Lohse, Chris DeVita, and Mei Yamanaka will lead you in exercises, and Ballez dancers featured will include Tanya Marquardt, Helen Fourness, Erica Ricketts, Chris Braz, and many more!
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. Pyle most recently choreographed "Slavic Goddesses," at the Kitchen, January 26-28, 2017, which featured 6 solos for Ballez dancers, as a collaborative project with artist Paulina Olowska.
“Adult Ballez Class” has been ongoing at Brooklyn Arts Exchange since 2011, and Pyle, Jules Skloot and company members have brought the class to Princeton, School for Contemporary Dance & Thought (Northampton), Marlboro College (Vermont), Bennington College, 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, Eugene Lang College at the New School and Beloit College (Wisconsin). The company has been supported by: the Jerome Foundation, Mertz Gilmore, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Brooklyn Arts Council, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, and over 1000 individual Kickstarter donors.
Risks and challenges
This project, as with my previous Kickstarter campaigns, has an incredible team of collaborators who will be working with me to ensure that this project gets made. With your donations, I can create fair payments to our entire team, and these videos will be up and ready for your engagement with them.
Because the Ballez engages an expanding network of amazing queer artists, even if something goes awry with one aspect of this productions, I am confident that the greater community of artists around this work will be able to ensure that this project gets completed. All we need to make this happen is your support, and your donations!
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