Breaking Glass Ceilings in Dance

Classical ballet has adhered to very strict gender rules since its inception. Masculine and feminine expression has been very controlled — including limiting dancing en pointe to women and with men in dance not being taught some of the more refined and delicate movements that women learned. 

But one young dancer is making waves and breaking those rules, much to the delight of his troupe at the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s elite Professional Division in Seattle.

While Ashton Edwards, 18, is one of a handful of male-presenting dancers to train en pointe in the country, he is also pushing for more inclusivity as a gender-fluid pointe dancer. 

Ashton originally trained in his hometown of Flint, Michigan, in male-only roles, but since moving to Seattle, he has found a community willing to let him express all sides of himself and not feel constrained. 

It’s beautiful to see this kind of progress, one leap and pirouette at a time.

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