Welcome back to another STU Arts Blog, it is officially summer and Pride Month! STU Arts dance wants to celebrate Pride our own little way by celebrating some influential, proud, and loved LGBTQ+ dancers. This blog is dedicated to sharing all sorts of diversity within the Dance Industry and 6 influential LGBTQ+ dancers you should check out. LETS GO!
1. Bill T. Jones
Dancer and choreographer legend Bill T. Jones catapulted into the pre-AIDS dance-world. Him alongside his life partner Arnie Zane would perform and choreograph, but then powered through with the dance company alone after Zane’s 1988 death from AIDS—and only then created the company’s most legendary pieces. And all that was before gaining even more mainstream fame. In 2007, he won a Tony Award for his decidedly un-Broadway-like choreography for Spring Awakening.
2. Sergey Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes
The legendary Sergey Diaghliev founded the Ballets Russes, which is a collaborative effort of the most talented artists, composers, and dancers of the early 20th century. He was fairly open about his sexual orientation it was well known, as was his relationship with the dancer Vaslav Nijinsky and other various lovers. The Ballets Russes became an attraction in itself, bringing in large numbers of homosexual men wherever it performed. With his intimate coterie of superbly talented gay artists, His concept of the male dancer as an erotic focal point helped create and commercialize the gay male gaze to the male audience.
3. Sir Frederick Ashton
Sir Frederick Ashton was one of the 1920s’ bright young people along with Cecil Beaton and Stephen Tennant. He produced and directed many ballets and operas, but is most famous for founding the Royal Ballet in London. Inspired as a child growing up in Peru and seeing a performance by Anna Pavlova, he set course for a life of dance from that moment on!
4. Josephine Baker
This black bombshell was an American dancer, singer, and actress who found fame in her adopted homeland of France. She was the first African-American woman to star in a major motion picture and to become a world-famous entertainer. Josaphine was bi-sexual and was rumoured to have been in relationships with Clara Smith, Evelyn Sheppard, Bessie Allison, Ada "Bricktop" Smith, and Mildred Smallwood. All were African-American women she met while touring on the black performing circuit early in her career. The larger diamonds in her crown were lovers Colette, the French author of Gigi, and Frida Kahlo.
5. Lincoln Kirstein
Lincoln Kirstein was a protean cultural shift in the dance scene. Rejected by The Harvard Advocate, he convinced his wealthy father to fund his own magazine, Horn & Hound. It was an important magazine in the world of art and literature, especially on the East Coast. He eventually moved on from the project in 1934 when he began funding George Balanchine's ballet company that ultimately became the New York City Ballet. Titled as the company's general director from 1946 to 1989. Kirstein commissioned and helped fund the physical home of the New York City Ballet: the New York State Theatre building at Lincoln Centre, designed in 1964 by gay architect Philip Johnson.
Pride month is a great way to celebrate, encourage and uplift everyone, and what better way to celebrate than by dancing. Dance has no gender, and can be utilized and expressed by everyone; there is no limit to who can dance and what dance is. Take the time to uplift LGBTQ+ voices and celebrate their work and contribution to the dance industry. If you have been inspired and would like to start your dancing journey, be sure to check us out and what we have to offer! Click here to learn more about our classes and here on how to get registered!
Happy Pride Month!
Peace and Love from the STU Arts Dance Team! :D