Different Masculinity

by Hippocampus on October 22, 2015 - 11:52pm

Following the successful premium of his short ballet choreography, The Blue of Distance, Robert Binet, aged 24, speaks of his current project, an adaptation of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, and his goals as a ballet dancer and choreographer. He says that ballet expresses emotions with a clarity that no other physical performance can do, so he wants to preserve this art and revive it with contemporary values, that is to break the gendered perspective of this art.

As a man, Binet’s achievement and objective for the future are incredible. No wonder that, young, he have surprised many people when telling them that his “sport” is ballet, but now, he is a young man with great reputation. Through his achievement, we can see that a man does not necessarily need to restrict himself in the man box that is being stoic, violent and tough, to achieve success (Tough Guise 2.0). Indeed, Binet is neither a stoic nor a violent person… as least not in his career. As he said himself in the interview, ballet is an art of emotions and requires high precision movements. It is an art that, even representing the most violent scene with the most dramatic music, is just beautiful and grandiose.

In the documentary Tough Guise 2.0, it points out the fact that people often justify men’s violence with testosterone and ignore the environmental factors that lead a man to be the man he is. The film says that masculinity is more taught than even learned and surely not just intuitive. Binet, coming from a wealthy background, had great mentors and coworkers. Thus, having grown up in a different environment, he learned to develop his masculinity differently. He does not adopt the “cool pose of American-Africans,” nor use violence to earn respect (Tough Guise 2.0).

Moreover, nowadays, men who are viewed as most successful are not the richest, the most handsome or the most powerful, but self-made man (Waurechen). Binet, being an excellent ballet dancer, eventually, with some helps, works into composition. Unlike the previous masculine traits, this one is actually positive. Self-accomplishment testifies a person’s intelligence and abilities that are way more important that the acting out part depicted in the man box.

Not only has Binet understood this, he is also aware that the men/women relationship has changed recently. In others words, men are not necessarily strong and women, demure (Schabas). In fact, Binet, in his upcoming piece, has constructed “a chain of duets where the characters transition between roles. The woman becomes powerful and the man struggles through moments of stark fragility” (Schabas).

This form of masculinity is more understanding than rough and surely healthier as men are able to express their emotion before it accumulates and turns into anger. Indeed, men and women can share same traits without being unmanned. His words,“ballet is the most gendered art form; male and female ballet dancers are trained to do such different things. But today gender identity and gender roles are much more liquid and blurry and redefined constantly” show that traditional concepts of man and woman are no longer appropriate.


Work Cited

Tough Guise 2.0. Dir. Jeremy Earp. Media Education Foundation Production, 2013. DVD.


Schabas, Martha. “Robert Binet looks to modernize gender identity in traditional ballet.” The Global and Mail, October 20, 2015. Article. October 21, 2015.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/theatre-and-performance/robert-binet-looks-to-modernize-gender-identity-in-traditional-ballet/article26890386/ >.


Waurechen, Sarah. Gendered World View. Marianopolis College, Westmount, QC. October 7, 2015. Lecture.


Ballet is one of the few sports in which men do not dominate. I thought the article was very interesting as it talks about men in a dominated women sport. Robert Binet had to work hard to become the ballet dancer he is today. He had to prove to the others that a man could be a ballet dancer without questioning his masculinity. Another perception for Robert Binet achievement as a ballet dancer can also come from the white advantage. Since Binet is a white male dancer he has advantages given to him based on his skin color. Male being the dominate sex and white being the dominate race, Binet had a good advantage to pursuing his goal to become a ballet dancer, and was probably seen more credible as to proving his masculinity because of the concept of whites being the dominate race. If Robert Binet had been “black”, which would have made him part of the weaker race. Do you think he would have been as successful as he is today? Would he still be perceived as such an influential figure if he had black skin?

Hi, you have asked a very question and I think that there is not definite answer to it. In an optimistic point of view, if a "black" dancer works hard enough, he might be able to achieve success. I admit that it would be harder, but I think that once he becomes known, he would even make more sensation than Binet because he would be a better example of hard work and achievement. Another point to take into consideration is the social status of the people as ballet is an art closely related to the high-class society.

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