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Cutting Edge Ballet Company Set To Perform On South Coast Shatters Traditional Gender Roles

Ballet22 will be performing "The Best of Ballet22" at Santa Barbara's Center Stage Theater Friday night.

Ballet22 features male, mxn, transgender and non-binary performers doing pointe work traditionally performed by women.

Ballet22 is challenging classical ballet gender traditions. The groundbreaking Bay Area-based dance company is preparing to visit the South Coast for its first ever touring performance.

Theresa Knudson is one of the co-founders of Ballet22. She says pointe work is when a ballerina dances on her toes in special shoes. But, the company is taking on that gender tradition and opening up those roles to everyone, including men, those who are transgender and non-binary artists.

Members of the company say it’s freeing to be able to perform any part in a production and not be confined to traditionally male roles.

Evan Ambrose has performed in two of Ballet22’s productions and is set to take the stage during this week’s show in Santa Barbara. He says the reaction to the productions has been wonderful.

Co-founder Knudson says because she’s taller than six feet tall, she lost out on ballerina roles because she didn’t fit the stereotype. She says audience members have been moved to see people of different genders and sizes doing pointe work.

Ballet22’s first ever show on tour will be this Friday night at Santa Barbara’s Center Stage Theater. Showtime is 7 p.m.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.