Contemporary Ballet principal dancer Brynt Beitman finds modern dance welcomes the gay aesthetic
STEVEN LINDSEY | Contributing Writer firstname.lastname@example.org
WILD & FREE
Lakewood Theater, 1825 Abrams Parkway. Oct. 15. 7 p.m.
For every parent who has ever worried about pushing their children into extracurricular activities that they might not like, there’s the strong possibility that a creative spark will be lit that a child might otherwise have never discovered. That’s exactly what happened to contemporary ballet dancer Brynt Beitman when he was eight years old.
“My sister wanted to take dance and my parents made me play football and do all the guy stuff and I didn’t like that,” he says. “They actually offered to have me try dance and at first I was like, ‘No, dancing’s for girls!’ And by the end of my first class, I was like ‘OK! I really like this!’”
Beitman began his training at Kitty Carter’s Dance Factory with jazz and tap. At 13, he started seriously training in ballet. After studying with Krassovska Ballet Jueness and Booker T. Washington Arts Magnet, he spent summers at Boston Ballet and Southern Ballet
Theater, among others, eventually getting his bachelor’s from the Juilliard School in New York.
“Now I look back and dance has been the most consistent part of my life,” says Beitman, 27.
Tonight, Beitman performs in Wild & Free with Contemporary Ballet Dallas, where he’s been for three seasons. The mission of the company, which was started in 2001 by SMU alumni hoping to revitalize dance in Dallas, is to reach a broad audience while cultivating emerging artists and choreographers.
The show honors the independent spirit of contemporary Texas artists. Original works will be set to the music of Norah Jones, Nina Simone, and even Texas music legend Stevie Ray Vaughan — no Swan Lake here.
“It’s based on Texas. There will be something that everybody will like,” Beitman says. “There are nine pieces from nine different choreographers. If you don’t like one thing, just wait 10 minutes … but there’s nothing to dislike!”
Beitman’s work with Contemporary Ballet Dallas confirms his conviction that modern dance is where his talents truly lie.
“I think it’s more creative. Classical is more codified and you have less freedom and a lot more restrictions choreographically.
Contemporary can be whatever you want it to be,” says Beitman, who hopes to become a choreographer. He also thinks as a general rule that contemporary ballet attracts more gay male dancers, but he’s quick to point out that his opinion is far from a scientific sampling.
“I think that the athletic bravura of classical ballet attracts straight guys, where contemporary dance is a lot more times internally driven and in my experience, it seems to attract…” — he pauses before blurting out — “… queers!”
To Beitman, being a dancer is particularly rewarding because of the openness, diversity and acceptance of not just homosexuality, but people from a vast array of backgrounds.
“It’s like somebody being in fashion and not being open to gay people. Contemporary dance is the same way. There’s no real stereotypical dancer as far as their private lives are concerned,” he says. “It’s a really universal thing and there all different types of people. And here I am!”
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 15, 2010.