Women-Made – the Future Women Choreographers are Here!Deborah Kate Norrıs
The marginalisation of female ballet choreographers at the time of writing in 2023 is as evident as it was thirty years ago. Whilst a few exceptional women (Cathy Marston, Helen Pickett, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa) excel in using a balletic language to create dance works their male contemporaries dominate the world’s ballet stages with elevated positions as artistic directors and choreographers. Since dance scholar Lynn Garafola raised the alarm in 1996 the conversations relating to the dearth of women choreographers have accelerated and whilst the changes are not as significant as one would hope there does appear to be a more consistent approach to women breaking the glass ceiling in this artistic arena. This article aims to challenge the question “where” are the women? in exchange for “why” aren’t there more women making ballet? I examine the educational constructs and potential barriers found in conservatoire training to illuminate the perspectives of the next generation of ballet makers. Finally, I present the ethnographic data collected from a practice-led research residency that took place at St Hilda’s College, Oxford in 2022, to demonstrate how and what may be done to educate and advocate for women to adopt a balletic choreographic practice in the future.