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Launching today is season two of the investigative podcast series THE TURNING: Room of Mirrors from Rococo Punch and iHeartRadio. The first two episodes of “The Turning: Room of Mirrors” can be found HERE.
Host Erika Lantz returns to explore a more nuanced look at an insulated world through stories of the women who set the stage for what we know as ballet today. The dancers open up to her about what it means to fully dedicate oneself to an unforgiving yet intoxicating pursuit, and reveal the physical and mental demands inside ballet. Lantz looks at cultural scripts around gender, race, genius, beauty, body image, and more. Who created the ballet body and how does it persist in modern dance today? What does it mean to perfect “The Line” in ballet? Having studied ballet for 10 years beginning at age 4, Lantz weaves in her own experience and unique perspective.
Much of ballet culture in America stems from the artistry and experience of world-renowned choreographer George Balanchine, who brought ballet to the next level in the United States, creating an entirely new aesthetic and understanding of movement. Despite his genius, he also controlled — and, some would argue, abused — a string of very young muses, even marrying several of them. He created a culture where a male choreographer could grow dancers into obedient “vessels” to be molded into whatever the choreographer wanted. What was the cost of bringing these ballets to life? How far does Balanchine’s shadow extend beyond himself?