Notes on male ballet dancers

Two recent items passed on to me by Mike McKinley: one a photograph of young male dancers at the barre, the other a video compilation of dancer Joseph Gatti in an assortment of his roles. The photograph, found on a Facebook page (where it wasn’t identified in any way: where? when? who are they? who was the photographer?):


The Gatti compilation can be viewed here; it has some remarkable stuff.

#1 has three dancers, all young, lean, and muscular, all wearing nothing but their dance belts. The first two are at rest at the barre. The third, with his remarkable buttocks, is, also remarkably, standing en pointe at the barre. It’s a wonderful photograph, of dancers, of male bodies, of faces, of people at work; I might have asked the photographer to shade down the background behind the first two dancers, to make their heads stand out more clearly, but, on the other hand, leaving the shot this way underscores its unposed character.

I appealed to Google Images to find the source, and the program found a huge number of examples of this image: dozens and dozens on various Pinterest pages, large numbers on tumblr pages, but not a single one with any information at all. (One of the Pinterest people thought it was an old-time photo, I don’t know why.)

Now Gatti is young (30), very much a dancer of our times, and easy to find information about. Well, he tweets., so I know something about his career, his gigs, the fortunes of his favorite sports teams, his enthusiasms for some surprising dancers (like Michael Jackson), his friendships, and the excellence of his girlfriend. He sounds like a nice man, and he’s cute:


Another compilation, put together from his performances in various competitions and remixed, can be viewed here.

From an Orlando (FL) Sentinel story from a year ago, “After 13 years, Joseph Gatti returns to Orlando Ballet”:

After nearly 13 years, Joseph Gatti is coming home.

From 2001-2003 the dancer was an apprentice with Orlando Ballet, under then-director Fernando Bujones. Just 17 when he departed — he’s now 30.

“It’s the right decision,” Gatti said about returning to live in Central Florida. He’ll perform with Orlando Ballet as principal guest artist during the 2015-16 season and work as an instructor at the school.

“I’ve been through a few companies now, big and medium,” said Gatti, who was a principal dancer with Cincinnati Ballet from 2007-2008, then a principal dancer with Corella Ballet in Spain and most recently a first soloist with Boston Ballet.

“I just don’t feel the need to sacrifice love and happiness for the name of a bigger company,” said Gatti, citing the stress found in big-name troupes. “I’ll be really happy here and loving my career, dancing until the last day I can dance.”

For the past few years, Gatti and his dance partner [not his girlfriend], Adiarys Almeida Santana, have performed freelance gigs with companies worldwide.


Gatti in flight in mid-air. And here’s Gatti and Bradley Schlagheck flying together in Polyphonia (choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon to music by György Ligeti), photo by Gene Schiavone, at The Boston Opera House in February 2012:


Bonus. In looking for the source of #1, I found lots of other neat stuff, including the amazing young dancer Jorge Barani, trained in Cuba, who can be seen in action here.

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