Nadezhda Lisak

 Google ‘ballet paintings’. What do you see? Tutus. Pointe shoes. Cutesy little girls.

Where are the men? They make up 50% of the profession. Yet the overwhelming majority of ballet imagery is about white ballerinas, making the men inexplicably and unfairly invisible.

Furthermore, bigotry around males who take up ballet is alive and well, not just among straight men, but among all genders, all cultures and all age groups.

It is my mission to increase understanding and appreciation of the male ballet dancer. To increase public acceptance of ballet as a relevant career choice for a man, instead of him being labelled in a multitude of gender and sexually discriminatory ways.

How do I intend to address this?

I am the only artist, past or present, to create a painting collection of exclusively male ballet dancers, depicting their prowess, athleticism and grace as dancers in their own right. I am the only artist to represent the ballet profession as it actually is, which celebrates dancers from all cultural backgrounds – because that’s the way it is, and I have no reason to exclude any dancer who inspires me.

The point I want to make through my painting collection is that ballet is no longer a Degas-esque soft focus flurry of femininity with men lurking in the background. It is now a realm of super-athletes, coupled with elegant emotional expression and powerful artistry. It is my mission to create paintings of such serene beauty and inspiration, that even those who know nothing of ballet, will pause to look, and absorb the 21st century reality of the Danseur.

As a side benefit, boys and men who love ballet will finally see themselves abundantly represented in the visual arts, placing them in the public eye on an equal footing with females.

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Gallery Images (from left) 

  • Marcelino Sambe of the Royal Ballet 1
  • Hyuma Gokan
  • Hugo Marchand of Paris Opera Ballet
  • Junor Souza of English National Ballet
  • Marcelino Sambe of the Royal Ballet 2