… and if you have, what’d you think?
While searching youtube for ballet a couple days ago (literally typed “ballet” into the search bar), hoping to find something besides my usual favorites, I came across Big Ballet. Curious, I clicked on it and was instantly hooked, ending up watching all three episodes that night. Now watching it all the episodes through for a second time…
I tried embedding the videos, but for whatever reason it’s not working right now. As I’m much too tired to try to figure it out right now, it’ll have to wait for a later date. But all three episodes are found on youtube.
This is the first I’d heard of there being a reality show about a group of larger amateur dancers who are trained to put on a recital, a short version of Swan Lake. After a quick online search, I found that apparently not everyone believes this show is a good idea believing that it exploits overweight women. The women (and there was also men too, though they were not really big in my opinion, though bigger than a typical male dancer, I suppose) in the show looked absolutely thrilled to be there, so I don’t know about that.
In general, I love this show. Some of these dancers are really good, and I find it really inspirational to see people with different shapes from the dancer “norm” body (seriously, in the comments for one of the videos someone said something like “But some are not even ‘big’.” and someone replied “Yeah, but in ballet that’s considered too big” or something like that) dancing so beautifully and being trained to perform. They seemed so happy while dancing, too, and several (at least) expressed how it was a dream come true. I hope this doesn’t get taken the wrong way, but watching some of the more allegro sequences I thought ‘if these ladies can jump and turn so well then I have no excuse blaming my poor technique on the weight of my chest.’ I’m amazed at how strong they are!
Another thing I really like is all the shots of people wearing regular clothes doing ballet moves out in public. It’s nice to be reminded that there’s a lot of us ballet amateurs out there, and to see people doing ballet outside of class. Feels good to know I’m definitely not the only one.
However, I think it would have been nice if the show could have been focused on all amateus who don’t fit the body norm, not just large people (but then I realize they wouldn’t have been able to use the title “Big Ballet”). While casting, even before the first audition phase I believe, people were turned down for not being big enough, which just seems wrong. The ballet body ideal is so specific that there are many – would be accurate to say most of the adult population – of us who don’t fit it, despite not being of a BMI higher than 25 or 30 or what ever the cutoff was ( they said sizes 12-22, but I have no idea how that matches up to American clothes sizes). My point is that if there was ever something like this near me – the performing amateur ballet thing, not the reality tv part – I would love to audition, and it’s seriously messed up if I wouldn’t be big enough, though I’m obviously not small enough for ballet either…
At times some of the other people on the show made some pretty insensitive comments (I’m thinking of the ex-Artistic Director specifically), regarding ballet dancers and body type. So discouraging! Also, I noticed that Wayne Sleep kept pointing out how they are so talented, but it’s been their size that holds them back. That made it a little bit less releatable for me because besides not having the “right” body type for ballet I also don’t have much talent… but like, those of us without much talent can feel a need to dance too, you know?
(I hope I’m not just horribly missing the point here…)
Criticisms aside, an enjoyable eway to spend a few ballet-related hours!