Rambert School has a pioneering reputation and as such, may be the first to adopt such an open minded and accepting approach thereby making classical ballet more accessible and inclusive to a wider student body with relevance in the twenty first century.
In response to discussions around non-binary gender identification, and the acceptance of the fluidity of gender as a social construct, this research project proposes the creation, dissemination and evaluation of a gender-neutral ballet solo, redefining the stereotypical male and female technical movement elements such as pointe work for women and grande allegro for men.
The project has significant benefits to the conservatoire and the wider social dance community as the piece is aimed primarily at students who feel marginalised by the stereotypical classical repertoire. This project facilitates inclusivity in student teaching and performance while widening artistic possibilities and challenging long held attitudes and behaviour within the teaching and dance community. This project may also lead to publishing of the process and impact of this artistic and pedagogical initiative and the benefits of this specific intervention to the wider dance community (educational and professional).
The project will be set in stages:
Stage 1: Creation of solo
Stage 2: Dissemination of solo to the Year 2 cohort
Stage 3: Performance of solos
Stage 4: Focus group discussions on the experience of creating, teaching, learning and performing the solo & Student evaluations and reflections
Stage 5: Feedback and discussion with external partners – alumni and industry professionals
Historically, the ballet solos in particular, are gender specific conforming to centuries’ old archetypal gendered stereotypes prevalent in nineteen century classical repertoire which forms the mainstream of that genre. This format, has so far, reflected the nature of classical training.
This research project initiates a process to “open up” this system and provide a more nuanced and diverse performance vehicle for students that have disclosed a gender fluid or non-binary status.
This is extremely important, relevant and timely as a research initiative for Rambert School, given society’s accepted current views on LGBTQI+ policy and is an appropriate response artistically, educationally and socially to what present and future dance students may perceive to be a rather elitist and stereotypical dance form.
This project is still ongoing and research outputs will be disseminated shortly.