No, we’re not talking about the lack of male dancers, although that may have something to do with it. We’re talking about the lack of female choreographers. It’s not at all rare for major companies to go whole seasons without performing a single work created by a woman.
Even this year’s Ballet Across America series at the Kennedy Center — a snapshot of the country’s best ballet co-curated by perhaps the most famous woman in ballet today, Misty Copeland — did not feature even one woman choreographer.
Oregon Ballet Theater set out last year to change this with a new competition called Choreography XX. Of nearly 100 applicants, they chose three women from around the continent — Gioconda Barbuto, Helen Simoneau, and Nicole Haskins — to create new works, set them on the company, and premiere them at free concerts at Washington Park’s Rose Garden Amphitheater on June 29 and 30.