Is ballet considered moral in the Catholic Church?


#1

I have considered doing ballet professionally for a long time, but have been questioning its morals for many reasons and wondering if it is acceptable in the Catholic Church.
The first reason I fear its ethics is the amount of time ballet dancers spend in front of the mirror watching themselves, and then performing for people to watch them. As much as I love ballet, does this action cause ballet to be defined by the sin of conceit? Also, is what ballet dancers wear a sinful act or inappropriate by means of the Catholic church’s teachings? Finally, I fear that I would one day get to Heaven and God would not necessarily say “Well done my good and faithful servant.” because this profession is not necessarily marked by the service of others.
What should Catholics think about ballet? Is it truly moral for Catholics?

My only desire is that I do the will of God for my life and that I always serve Him in all ways, just as Jesus taught us.

Thank you!
J.M.J


#2

I never thought the mirror had anything to do with vanity. I always thought it was there to help them with their form.

The tights are just practical for that profession, like a lifeguard’s bathing suit.

There is nothing immoral about ballet as a chosen profession for a Catholic or anyone else. It can be very inspiring for people to see a performance. It’s an art form. There’s nothing inherently immoral about it.


#3

It is an art form and very beautiful. As such I would say that it glorifies God. As long as the mirror is about perfecting the art and not personal vanity I can see no sin.

In terms of the clothes - yes they do need to be both appropriate and objectively modest so I am sure that at times dancers do need to think about what they are wearing, but on the whole I am sure that the issues can be reconciled.


#4

Watching ballet is one of my favourite things. Also, I took ballet classes as a child and I really wish I had taken it further.

  1. Ballet dancers have to spend a lot of time looking in a mirror in order to perfect their skills. That is not sinful. It’s just a part of the training.

  2. What ballet dancers wear has to be practical and has to serve the artistic ends of the production. There is nothing sinful in that. In all my years of watching classical ballet I have only once seen a female dancer topless on stage. No doubt she could have chosen not to be in that production or could have insisted on covering up. For the most part dancers are pretty well covered up, certainly more than most professional athletes these days or people at the swimming pool or the beach. We are Catholics, not Muslims or ultra-Orthodox Jews. We do not see anything sinful in displaying the beauty of the human body.

  3. How is ballet not a way of serving others? Some people serve in more obvious ways: doctors, dentists, psychologists, psychotherapists, physiotherapists, pharmacists, nurses, paramedics, social workers, teachers, youth workers, police officers. But everyone who is productive in some way is serving society. A dancer, like a musician, an actor, a writer, or an artist, serves by bringing happiness to others and making a contribution to the economy. A ballet company/theatre is a large employer and boosts tourism, so as a dancer you are helping a lot of people make a living and encouraging investment in your community.

There are a lot of Catholic ballet dancers, e.g. from Spain, south America, and Cuba. Of course, many of the finest ballet dancers in the world are Eastern Orthodox, who have much the same values as Catholics.


#5

Looking in a mirror for the purpose of perfecting one’s form and the spacing between dancers is not conceit. While there are probably some dancing costumes, as well as choreography that is designed to be erotic, most is not. One does have some choices in what they audition for and are willing to perform in public. Ballet is storytelling through music and dance. It is a service to other to perform and entertain them, especially if the story you are telling is a moral one. There are many important stories to tell, that can be told through dance.


#6

I had that same question. I would say that the dress is somewhat sexy.

When you say “we” are you referring to everyone in the Roman Catholic Church? Because, if so, I think you might be wrong, because I have heard about some Roman Catholics who do think that it is a sin to put a beautiful naked human body on display with the purpose of arousing lust.


#7

Ballet is morally neutral. There are some very beautiful ballets.

However, it is theoretically possible for an individual ballet to have immoral parts, just like it’s possible for a play to have immoral scenes.

It is also theoretically possible for an individual ballet company to perform immoral practices or an immoral culture (just like it’s theoretically possible for this to take place at any place of work)

However, with all this said, a career in the ballet is fine for a Catholic and is morally neutral - as long as your boss doesn’t force you to do something immoral (just like any other workplace)

God Bless


#8

Yes, I mean Catholics generally speaking based on my experience and what I have learned about the Church’s teachings. I don’t claim to speak for all Catholics, still less for the Church. I think the crucial thing is ‘with the purpose of arousing lust’. I don’t think ballet costumes are intended to arouse lust. Yes, most Catholics/the Church would object to stripping, lap dancing, etc., but that is very different to ballet. In general, the Catholic Church does not impose a dress code on its members. Individual Catholics may choose to dress in a manner that they consider to be appropriate for a specific context, but we are not like Muslims and some Jews, who often follow very specific rules concerning dress.

I would say that that is more your interpretation. I see a lot of ballet and I don’t think that I ever find myself thinking that the costumes are ‘sexy’.


#10

I’ve never been to the ballet and come away thinking that any aspect of the performance was intended to arouse lust. Some of the audience may have been incited to lust, but then people lust after all sorts of strange things. No fault of the dancers or company.

Should cobblers stop making shoes just because some people have an inordinate level of sexual attraction surrounding them?


#11

I’ve seen shorter ballet skirts and longer ones. Just wear the longer ones. It is a very disciplined art form. A ballet dancer has to be in top physical form. I would guess that is a plus because the body is the temple of the soul. Seriously I guess ask a Priest and go by what he says.


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