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Choreographer Katy Pyle on campus this week

October 21, 2016
By Emmy Newman’17
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This week Beloit plays host to Katy Pyle, artistic director of the groundbreaking NYC-based dance company Ballez that is changing the face of the contemporary dance world. Historically, ballet has been a discipline defined by body conformity as its strict movement style favors a specific type of dancer and shuts many others out. Ballez seeks to tear down these constraints, serving as “a performance, company, class, and community that invites everyone to witness and celebrate the history and performances of lesbian, queer, and transgender people,” according to the Ballez website.  

On Monday, Oct. 24, Katy will hold auditions for a new work she will be teaching Beloit dancers at 4 p.m. in Hendricks studio 1. Additionally, on Thursday, Oct. 27, at 7:30 p.m. in Richardson, Katy will facilitate a conversation on how current identities are presented in performance, how these legacies are seen throughout history, and the power of queer performance today. She will also teach an open ballet class for all levels and all bodies on Saturday, Oct. 29, at 10 a.m. For more information on signing up for the class, contact Gina T’ai, Emmy Newman, Charlie Vail, or Sam Kindler.

Ballez focuses on rewriting the narratives of classical ballets to reflect the vivid lives of complexly gendered bodies. In 2013, the company premiered its performance of the 1910 ballet The Firebird to great critical acclaim, according to Broadway World.“Her [Katy’s] choreography utilizes the classical ballet vocabulary, but in novel and audacious ways, leaving her audience entertained and laughing out loud,” wrote Jennifer Fried.

In May, Ballez presented Sleeping Beauty & the Beast at La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival, combining selections from Tchaikovsky’s original score with elements of classical ballet, alongside the stories of striking Garment Workers of 1893 and queer AIDS activists in 1993.