As a comment on my last post balletfan asked if I thought that the famous George Balanchine quote "ballet is woman" was true. I did some looking around the internet and found what seems to be the full quote: "Ballet is Woman. In sports, it's Mickey Mantle. In politics, it's Eisenhower. In ballet, it's woman. Women are lighter, more flexible. They move more beautifully. He is not the King, but she's the Queen"
I think that to Balanchine this was completely true. But, he was an artist, and contrary to popular belief, he is not the end-all be-all of ballet (my friend are going to laugh so hard at this, I'm a die-hard Balanchine fan). There are many choreographers who don't agree with Balanchine's philosophy, most famously, Maurice Bejart. I actually think at one point, in response to Balanchine's "ballet is woman" comment, Bejart said "Ballet is Man." For him, the male physique was ideal for the type of ballets he wanted to create. I think it just depends on what the choreographer is most inspired by, and for Balanchine, that was women.
Also, a thought that just occurred to me: Balanchine was born in 1904, and it seems like growing up in Russia at that time there were probably some pretty strict gender roles in play. In the quote he says men are the epitome of politics and sports, and I can't help but wonder if the thought of women being ballerinas and men being politicians and sports players didn't somehow stem from being a child in the early 20th century.
Anyway, those are just my thoughts. What do you all think?
Off to work now!