Like many theatrical art forms, ballet tends to feel inaccessible to the public. The common misconception is that not everyone can understand or enjoy it, but the Bloomington Ballet Ensemble aims to change that.
Formed in 2019, the Bloomington Ballet Ensemble (BBE) started with the notion that everyone should be able to enjoy ballet regardless of the societal stigma surrounding what the typical audience should look like. This was something that Maddie Brown, IU junior and BBE vice president said she was drawn to when joining the group.
“The accessibility of ballet isn’t really a thing,” Brown said. “So doing something that brings ballet to the community in a way that doesn’t just feel like theater and audience and nothing else was really appealing.”
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The organization is working to reach the community by opening membership up to anyone passionate about ballet, not just those enrolled in IU’s ballet program, Brown said.
“Getting more people around campus involved who aren’t just people in the ballet program is a great starting place for us.” Brown said.
There are numerous opportunities for BBE members, and the organization isn’t just about community outreach. Maddie Tyler, IU junior and BBE president, loves the freedom students are given in the group to experiment and choreograph their own pieces.
“If you’re passionate about a piece of music, a type of dancing, or you want to build a community through a piece,” Tyler said. “BBE gives you the freedom to do just that.”
In the organization, student members are given the chance to choreograph their own works while working alongside fellow members to perform virtually or at an event.
This fall, BBE will showcase their skills at the next First Thursdays event on Oct. 6 at IU’s arts plaza. The piece will be staged by Brown and will feature Tyler alongside five other BBE dancers.
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BBE is also organizing another virtual show which will be filmed and uploaded to the organization’s YouTube channel.
“We will have five or six pieces we’ll be filming in the studio for YouTube that we’re choreographing so it’s a pretty packed fall,” Tyler said. “It’s a lot but I’m glad we’re starting so strong.”
After the First Thursdays performance, BBE will perform at the farmers market downtown on Nov. 26.