We asked dancers for their unfiltered opinions on Kendall Jenner's ballerina 'Vogue' shoot
Kendall Jenner just inadvertently pissed off a ton of dancers.
In the October issue of Vogue España, the 20-year-old posed in a leotard, leg warmers and pointe shoes for a series of ballet-themed photos and a behind-the-scenes short video.
"I had to grow up pretty fast, but I love being a kid," she said while twirling around in a tutu in the video, which has been viewed over 536,000 times. "Run around like a child, just not care."
Since the release of the images, mobs of people have taken to social media to voice their disdain with Jenner and Vogue España, with many confused as to why the publication had decided to cast Jenner as opposed to a ballerina who has spent years perfecting his or her skills.
"The whole thing reads as pretty disrespectful to the artists who devote their lives to this demanding craft," wrote magazine Dance Spirit.
According to Fashionista, even Dance Moms' Abbey Lee Miller commented on Instagram, writing, "There are so many amazing dancers in the world... Kendall Jenner is not one of them... Shame on Momager, Kris Jenner!!! She never made these kids take dance class."
But models, especially when shooting editorials or ad campaigns, are often asked to role-play. After all, fashion, like any art form, has no obligation to realism.
This likely wasn't a ballet-themed shoot Jenner was cast for, but a Jenner shoot that became ballet-themed. She also didn't claim to be a ballerina or suggest she had any dance skills whatsoever.
But because passion-ridden tweets are still infiltrating social media, Mic decided to ask professional dancers how they really feel about the photoshoot and whether or not they believe the elder Jenner sister deserved the criticism she's since received.
Andrew Hayes Daly, former dancer with the Pennsylvania Ballet
"It's not Kendall's fault that someone put her in pointe shoes, but after the Free People campaign and the exposure of Misty Copeland, people should know better. Especially since Vogue España has published photos of real professionally trained ballet dancers before. ... I understand the illusion that ballet is super feminine, [and] putting Kendall Jenner in pointe shoes to just prance around is ok, it's just her dialogue during those shots that are the real issue. No one can be as feminine and elegant as a dancer unless you yourself are a dancer."
Michael Breeden, Miami City Ballet dancer
"Ballet dancers are very used to seeing our art form 'borrowed', and I think it's a little silly to think there's malice or ill intent behind Kendall's shoot. Ballet is seen as glamorous, and she's in the business of glamour. Of course, we'd always rather see a real dancer representing us. Seeing someone like Jenner in this light is the equivalent of a concert pianist listening to someone try to bang out 'Chopsticks' on the piano. We train for years (decades!) to look the way we do, so while I wouldn't say the video is offensive, it's definitely cringeworthy."
Allison DeBona, first soloist at Ballet West in Salt Lake City, Utah
"This summer I was hired by Vogue Italia for an eight-page editorial and they made a video like Kendall's of me for their August issue. I can't speak to why Vogue España hired a non-ballerina to do a ballet-inspired editorial and video except the fact that she is Kendall Jenner and a supermodel. The issue I find is that mainstream media is attempting to capitalize on our art form because it's hot right now, but whether intentional or not, they are shaming our art form by not representing our technique and the years it takes to attain what we do and how we do it. Vogue Italia got it right because it was important to find a dancer/model to showcase something extraordinary with the body. ... I do wish Vogue España would have hired a dancer or went a different route with Kendall but I don't find it her fault for doing her job."
Kathryn Morgan, former soloist at the New York City Ballet
"While Kendall is a model and this is her job, my problem with this is that Vogue made it seem like all you have to do to become a ballerina is wear pointe shoes. As dancers, we have devoted YEARS of our life to do this. We have sacrificed so much to do what we do. It's a career that you have to give everything to. Putting on pointe shoes does not make you a ballerina. Wearing a tutu does not make you a ballerina. Running around a studio does not make you a ballerina. Discipline, passion, hard work, pain and constant blood, sweat, tears is what it takes to be a ballerina."
I think the dance community at large has reached a bit of a "zero tolerance" zone when it comes to these mainstream campaigns going to non-dancers because we have so many incredibly qualified celebrity status dancers that would be more suited for a shoot like that. I totally understand that she wasn't in complete control of the situation and I actually hold Vogue more accountable. Kendall is so versatile and stunning but she had to have known she would get a little heat. If you're going to take that chance and impersonate a ballerina, study up!
Ahmad Simmons, dancer in Broadway's Cats
"I think the dance community at large has reached a bit of a 'zero tolerance' zone when it comes to these mainstream campaigns going to non-dancers because we have so many incredibly qualified celebrity-status dancers that would be more suited for a shoot like that. I totally understand that she wasn't in complete control of the situation and I actually hold Vogue more accountable. Kendall is so versatile and stunning but she had to have known she would get a little heat. If you're going to take that chance and impersonate a ballerina, study up!"