Ballet Popular has taken site-specific dance to a new frontier. By combining the beauty of classical dance with the avant-garde nature of pop up dance akin to a flash mob, Ballet Popular seeks to “speak to people of all social classes and cultures.” Two brave souls throw on their tights and costumes to perform a pas de deux from classical repertoire armed only with a boom box, masks, and orange cones to “rope off” a performance area. They show up, hit play, and go.
And yes, for those of you who are putting it all together, they are dancing on concrete — full pas de deux, including accompanying variations (pointe work and all) on concrete! The performers are not only fearless and faceless but strong as well. Being lucky enough to recognize their technique from being in class with them at Steps on Broadway, I decided to steal them for some quick interview questions. Since part of their aesthetic is that they perform in masks, I will not release their names but will refer to them as The Ballerina and The Knight.
I asked The Ballerina how on earth they are able to turn on concrete (the obvious first question). Both of them simultaneously respond, “It’s a secret!” After a little more prodding The Ballerina confesses, “Of course, we are wearing slightly different shoes, they are made of different stuff.” That is all I got, I am sure a patent is coming. I wanted to know more about what it was that got them to do this in the first place. The Knight fires back proudly, “Real dancers don’t need a big theatre to dance in.” This point struck me deeply. So far, the two dancers have performed excerpts from Manon, Sleeping Beauty, and Spartacus. With no charge to the audience and the dancing at a professional level, Ballet Popular is providing a quality service to the people of New York that is truly unprecedented.
Of course with everything, there is a catch, “We don’t tell anyone where we are going to perform or what we are going to do until about an hour before online”, The Knight explains. If you are like this writer, and free top- notch outdoor ballet performances are right up your alley, make sure to follow them on Facebook and Twitter, using the links below to read about their next performance. You can also subscribe to their YouTube channel and follow them on Instagram below to see some of their previous work.
Freelance Dancer, Writer