Jakob im Kleid
Josef Vesely and Kate Watson
Word premiere / A school ballet for young audiences / Ages 10 and up
A typical girl? A typical boy? Actually, there is no such thing! Jakob and Lena are new in class. Lena makes friends easily. She is self-confident and looks really cool in her stylish outfits. Most importantly, she doesn’t care what others think. Jakob wishes he could be like her – he is shy and often feels very different from all the other boys. Sure, he likes computer games and football, but he is also interested in fashion and dance – and he secretly wishes he could wear dresses. But that is clearly impossible. He knows that everybody would laugh at him and that he would become an outcast. To everybody’s surprise Lena and Jakob bond over their shared interest in fashion. She encourages him to make his wish come true and to stand up to others and for himself. Even if it means wearing a dress.
In the form of a narrative ballet in the classroom, Jakob’s story shows how important it is not to let yourself be impaired in the search for your own identity by conventional ideas of what boys or girls should be like. We all know pink is for girls and blue for boys. But does it really have to be that way? To overcome these stereotypes we need strong role models who demonstrate that everybody can be – and wear – whatever they want. All it takes is courage and the good fortune to have real friends to help you.
Even though there is currently much debate about gender norms and diversity, old taboos die hard. Authors such as David Walliams (“The Boy in the Dress”) and Jens Thiele (“Jo im roten Kleid”) have written emphatic pleas for more freedom to unfold one’s own identity against all conventions. The choreographers create their own moving story, which becomes a tangible experience as a ballet in the classroom.
Kate Watson and Josef Vesely have created enthusiasm for dance among young audiences with their many ballet productions. Dance instructor Kate Watson accompanies each performance in the classroom with a workshop that encourages young people to be who they want to be and to express themselves through dance.