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Pennsylvania Ballet on "20/20" Friday, Sep. 15


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#1 dirac

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 09:09 AM

Pennsylvania Ballet is featured on "20/20" tomorrow, in a broadcast dedicated to 'debunking stereotypes' about the number of gay men in ballet. The company helpfully crunches the numbers:

http://www.philly.co...performing_arts

The Pennsylvania Ballet will be featured tomorrow on ABC's 20/20 as part of a report debunking stereotypes.

Specifically, that all male ballet dancers are gay.

It's not true, at least at the Pennsylvania Ballet. Five of the 19 full-time male company members - about one-quarter - have publicly identified themselves as gay, says ballet spokeswoman Emily Cheramie, adding that to her knowledge, there are no lesbian dancers in the company.



#2 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 09:16 AM

Oy. That old thing again.

At least Cheramie (whom I know and like from prior professional dealings) says this outright:

If [the stereotype] were true, so what?



#3 dirac

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 09:38 AM

I'm happy that the company will get some national exposure and look forward to seeing Hench again, although I do find the whole idea sort of depressing.

#4 purelyballet

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 09:48 AM

I just got notificiation that PAB will be featured on 20/20 tomorrow night...

Inqlings | '20/20' uses Pa. Ballet to shatter a stereotype


The Pennsylvania Ballet will be featured tomorrow on ABC's 20/20 as part of a report debunking stereotypes.
Specifically, that all male ballet dancers are gay.
It's not true, at least at the Pennsylvania Ballet. Five of the 19 full-time male company members - about one-quarter - have publicly identified themselves as gay, says ballet spokeswoman Emily Cheramie, adding that to her knowledge, there are no lesbian dancers in the company.
"If [the stereotype] were true, so what?" Cheramie says.
(Well, then 20/20 wouldn't have much of a story.)
A 20/20 producer called several weeks ago after the New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre declined to cooperate, Cheramie says.
Five Pennsylvania Ballet dancers were interviewed in a two-day shoot (10 p.m., 6ABC) - Zachary Hench, James Ihde, Jonathan Stiles (who Cheramie says are straight) and James Ady and retired soloist Meredith Rainey (who Cheramie says are gay).
"The company could really care less [about a dancer's sexuality]. No one makes a big deal about it," Cheramie says.
Straight male dancers "endured ridicule when they were younger," Cheramie says. "They said they almost felt they had a secret no one knew - to be surrounded by beautiful women."

#5 richard53dog

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 01:50 PM

I just got notificiation that PAB will be featured on 20/20 tomorrow night...

Inqlings | '20/20' uses Pa. Ballet to shatter a stereotype


The Pennsylvania Ballet will be featured tomorrow on ABC's 20/20 as part of a report debunking stereotypes.
Specifically, that all male ballet dancers are gay.
It's not true, at least at the Pennsylvania Ballet. Five of the 19 full-time male company members - about one-quarter - have publicly identified themselves as gay, says ballet spokeswoman Emily Cheramie, adding that to her knowledge, there are no lesbian dancers in the company.
"If [the stereotype] were true, so what?" Cheramie says.
(Well, then 20/20 wouldn't have much of a story.)
A 20/20 producer called several weeks ago after the New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre declined to cooperate, Cheramie says.
Five Pennsylvania Ballet dancers were interviewed in a two-day shoot (10 p.m., 6ABC) - Zachary Hench, James Ihde, Jonathan Stiles (who Cheramie says are straight) and James Ady and retired soloist Meredith Rainey (who Cheramie says are gay).
"The company could really care less [about a dancer's sexuality]. No one makes a big deal about it," Cheramie says.
Straight male dancers "endured ridicule when they were younger," Cheramie says. "They said they almost felt they had a secret no one knew - to be surrounded by beautiful women."



All I can say is to give credit to NYCB and ABT for giving this a wide berth. And thumbs down on PA ballet
for participating.

Richard

#6 richard53dog

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 02:54 PM

I'm happy that the company will get some national exposure and look forward to seeing Hench again, although I do find the whole idea sort of depressing.



There are now two threads on this (more than) sort of depressing show. Being a gay man I find the whole theme distasteful.

Maybe 20/20 can do a show on female dancers and sort them by sexual orientation too. But lesbians tend to be invisible to the population as a whole.

Gee, how do they count people that are bisexual????? Half points?


Perhaps this thread and the other similar one should be combined.

Richard

#7 dirac

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 03:22 PM

I've closed the thread in the Pennsylvania Ballet forum, with all thanks to purelyballet for posting there, and copying richard53dog's comment in that forum below:

All I can say is to give credit to NYCB and ABT for giving this a wide berth. And thumbs down on PA ballet for participating.


I agree to a point, but I'm sure they meant well, and they could probably use some publicity much more than NYCB and ABT.

#8 purelyballet

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 03:23 PM

I could not disagree more....I give PABallet a lot of credit for participating. In the article that I read it said that PR Director for PABallet commented something to the effect....Who really cares about the sexual orientation of the dancer. We hire dancers for their ability to dance.

#9 purelyballet

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 03:35 PM

sorry my reply sent before I was finished..so I will try again

I could not disagree more....I give PABallet a lot of credit for participating. In the article that I read it said that PR Director for PABallet commented something to the effect....Who really cares about the sexual orientation of the dancer. We hire dancers for their ability to dance.

As we all know ticket sales contine to drop nationally...and what a great vehicle to showcase ballet to the millions of veiwers who will be watching this program. Ballet is the one artform that really does not get their due share of media coverage. The more that we can showcase ballet to millions of potential audience members, the better off ballet will be. KUDOS PABallet.

#10 dirac

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 10:34 AM

Gee, how do they count people that are bisexual?????


I did have a little bit of fun trying to imagine how the company went around collecting the data. :)

#11 Hans

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 10:47 AM

Surely it cannot be legal to ask such a thing; I suppose they must have had dancers volunteer.

#12 volcanohunter

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 12:00 PM

All I can say is to give credit to NYCB and ABT for giving this a wide berth. And thumbs down on PA ballet
for participating.

Oh, I hardly think ABT is above this sort of discussion. What do you suppose "Born to Be Wild" was all about? Those shots of José Carreño among his progeny and Ethen Stiefel riding his Harley were certainly intended to counter certain stereotypes.

#13 richard53dog

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 12:20 PM


All I can say is to give credit to NYCB and ABT for giving this a wide berth. And thumbs down on PA ballet
for participating.

Oh, I hardly think ABT is above this sort of discussion. What do you suppose "Born to Be Wild" was all about? Those shots of José Carreño among his progeny and Ethen Stiefel riding his Harley were certainly intended to counter certain stereotypes.



True, but it was indirect . And it was more like look at the different lifestyles and backgrounds of these 4 dancers. Some taste and sensitivity was maintained.

#14 Marga

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 01:28 PM

.....I suppose they must have had dancers volunteer.

These days, all it takes is a perusal through dancers' "myspace" pages to know that many volunteer their sexual orientation quite willingly on standard forms they fill out for their "myspace" profiles. Many dancers, in companies all over the world, from apprentices to corps to soloists to some principals, maintain active, public "myspace" sites. Viewing one instantly leads to others. A professional dancer sometimes even advertises their "myspace" address on their website (or even on BT, where I found the first such space). If I can find out such info, can you imagine what background work TV researchers can do, even before they approach a dancer with their query?

#15 bart

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 01:36 PM

Dancers tend to be young. Young people in the US-European world tend to be less hung up about such things -- as artists in general have been over the centuries.

20-20 may have had an agenda in asking the question, but the response(s) from Pa. Ballet in my opinion, anyway, seem quite unsurprising and refreshing.


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