Slog Music

Music, Nightlife,
and Drinks

Monday, July 8, 2013

Ballet Dancer Kicked Out of Ballet School...

Posted by on Mon, Jul 8, 2013 at 12:59 PM

...for doing a little porn?

Jeppe Hansen, 22, had danced on stages around the world and studied in Montreal, New York City and his native Denmark before joining the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School in September 2012. Hansen beat out many others for a spot and a scholarship in the prestigious dance school's professional division. "My identity is built on being a ballet dancer," he told CBC News. "For me to come there was a big opportunity for me."

But earlier this year, Hansen appeared in his first pornographic video—a side project and an opportunity, he said, to express himself in a new way—and RWB officials found out. "They told me... they didn't have any space for me because I did porn," he said. According to Hansen, school administrators asked him to sign a letter stating that he voluntarily withdrew from the program.... Hansen said he left the school in late March. In April, he left Winnipeg and moved to New York City to pursue adult entertainment full-time under the screen name Jett Black.

Royal Winnipeg Ballet officials told CBC News they cannot comment on personnel issues due to privacy concerns.

Now, I can understand firing a high-school teacher for doing or having done a little porn—it's stupid, it shouldn't happen, but I can wrap my head around the sex panicky rationale behind it (think of the blahblahblah children, etc.)—but a ballet dancer? Will watching Jeppe "Jett Black" Hansen do a grand jeté or lift a ballerina somehow corrupt a ballet audience? Is an orgy going to break out in the boxes? It's not exactly unheard of for ballet dancers—or ballet companies—to trade on the sex appeal of male dancers. I don't see what the issue is here—except prudery, of course, as well as sex/porn phobia.

And if you want a guy to stop doing porn—if the dopes who run the Royal Winnipeg Ballet wanted Hansen to stop doing porn—is kicking him out of school for doing a single porn short really the best way to get him to stop? To punish Hansen for doing porn the Royal Winnipeg Ballet took dancing away from Hansen... and now Hansen has dedicated himself to porn fulltime. What might've been a little dabbling or an adventure is now a career. Good work, pornphobes.

Jeppe Hansen's Twitter feed is here. Jett Black's Twitter feed is here.


Comments (42) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
dnt trust me 1
Not exactly sure, but I think Stravinsky's music for the "Card Game" ballet wasn't well-received at its opening. Now of course, old Strav is part of the canon. His strange rhythms, crescendos, timings, etc. would place him as an experimentalist. And a lot of experimentalists are 50 years ahead of the sheepy audience.
Posted by dnt trust me on July 8, 2013 at 1:09 PM · Report this
Kinison 2
Playboy will dismiss you if you've done porn, its not just limited to Arts and Theater industry.
Posted by Kinison on July 8, 2013 at 1:20 PM · Report this
@1 - it was The Rite of Spring and the audience rioted and tore off parts of the proscenium.

Ballet has been about sex since the Romantic era, when the corps de ballet was a sophisticated way to shop for a mistress.
Posted by Balletomane on July 8, 2013 at 1:27 PM · Report this
Zebes 4
It makes sense to me. Dancers are sexless things, and dancing is a pure art form that in no way interacts with physical attraction or desire.
Posted by Zebes on July 8, 2013 at 1:45 PM · Report this

"Now, I can understand firing a high-school teacher for doing or having done a little porn—it's stupid, it shouldn't happen, but I can wrap my head around the sex panicky rationale behind it (think of the blahblahblah children, etc.)—but a male ballet dancer?"

Posted by vennominon on July 8, 2013 at 1:53 PM · Report this
TomJohnsonJr 6
My goodness, the CBC video of him is fun. The fellow has flanks for daaaaays.
Posted by TomJohnsonJr on July 8, 2013 at 1:56 PM · Report this
@5: Any ballet dancer.
Posted by Dan Savage on July 8, 2013 at 1:56 PM · Report this
raindrop 8
Those that mix high-decorum with low-decorum shouldn't be surprised when everyone else in the world doesn't feel the same way.
Posted by raindrop on July 8, 2013 at 2:27 PM · Report this
lolorhone 9
Uh, ballet is not exactly enjoying American Idol-like popularity at the moment. Perhaps keeping the porn-moonlighting contingent around long enough to start appearing in some productions would draw more asses to the seats. Nothing says 'dead art' like bullshit, nose-holding, why-I-never decorum.
Posted by lolorhone on July 8, 2013 at 2:47 PM · Report this
lolorhone 10
@8: Hey, we used the same word! Except I put bullshit in front of my decorum because it is. This is a SCHOOL i.e. he's paying them to learn a craft. If production companies don't want to cast him that's one thing- a dumb one thing, but whatever. But a school? If a college student were to say, strip in a club to pay tuition, is it right for the college to throw them out? Or is it pointless and prudish and a needless waste of an education?
Posted by lolorhone on July 8, 2013 at 3:05 PM · Report this
Lance Thrustwell 11
Hey, even the high school teacher scenario - I say keep 'em. Yeah the kids will be horny judgmental jerks reflecting the sex-negativity they've been fed, but change has to start somewhere. Let Teachers quit rather than fire them.
Posted by Lance Thrustwell on July 8, 2013 at 3:18 PM · Report this

Is no one going to mention how pretty he is?

Posted by Velvetbabe on July 8, 2013 at 3:23 PM · Report this

Also, I can't believe that is 22. He looks fucking 12, to me.

At least his face does.

Posted by Velvetbabe on July 8, 2013 at 3:24 PM · Report this
I like gay porn. It's hot. I like watching two (or more) guys getting it on. And CockyBoys is extra-fancy porn. I also like ballet. So I really don't give a shit. And if my tumblr feed is any indication, Jett is a VERY popular porn star.
Posted by leilanimargarita on July 8, 2013 at 3:25 PM · Report this
Ironically, ballet and prostitution used to be inseparable.…

Maybe he's just a traditionalist ?
Posted by Fr0zt on July 8, 2013 at 3:39 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 16

The article mentioned that he had a scholarship. It's also my understanding that professional ballet schools of that type pretty much result in guaranteed employment. It isn't comparable to college; it's more comparable to apprenticeship. He had already performed in a regular production of Sleeping Beauty.
Posted by keshmeshi on July 8, 2013 at 4:04 PM · Report this
seandr 17
Happy to hear the kid won't be wasting his life pursuing a dead-end "career" dancing for an ever diminishing audience of old ladies and the husbands they drag in with them.
Posted by seandr on July 8, 2013 at 4:06 PM · Report this
lolorhone 18
@16: Apprenticeship or not, my point remains. This is pointless and a waste.
Posted by lolorhone on July 8, 2013 at 4:35 PM · Report this
Hansen was young and stupid and he made a mistake. Heck, people warn the young people not to post pictures of themselves drinking on Facebook because it could damage their careers. How the heck does this guy not know that doing pornography could damage his career?

They kicked him out for doing porn and they admitted that they kicked him out for doing porn. The wrongdoing here was that they tried to get him to sign something claiming that he'd left voluntarily, which he did not. At least "We kicked him out because he did porn" lets other students know that they can get kicked out if they do porn, which is not as obvious as I would have thought, I guess.

Hopefully, Hansen can come back from this, but the school was within its rights for ousting him. This wasn't a private act. This wasn't an expression of personal freedom, this was selling sex for money. It's okay to draw a line between acknowledging that someone is sexy and filming sex acts for commercial sale. You could draw it with the widest marker ever and still have plenty of room on either side.
Posted by DRF on July 8, 2013 at 6:08 PM · Report this
So he had to leave Winnipeg? What a shame.
Posted by Amanda on July 8, 2013 at 6:31 PM · Report this
lolorhone 21
@10: Nowhere in their code of conduct does it specify pornography, erotica, nudity etc. as an offense. Which makes it not only an arbitrary moral judgment but an unfounded policy decision that the school then attempted to cover up. If they were within their rights, why draw up fraudulent legal documents for Hansen to sign?
Posted by lolorhone on July 8, 2013 at 6:55 PM · Report this
lolorhone 22
I meant @19
Posted by lolorhone on July 8, 2013 at 6:56 PM · Report this
Mr Savage - I thank and salute you. Much better.
Posted by vennominon on July 8, 2013 at 7:02 PM · Report this
Wait there was a really hot pic of Jeppe Hansen when this post first went up. WTF happened to the really hot pic?

btw thanks for the link.
Posted by Machiavelli was framed on July 8, 2013 at 7:20 PM · Report this
Dr. Z 25
Roll over Tchaikovsky.
Posted by Dr. Z on July 8, 2013 at 9:00 PM · Report this
I don't agree with what they did but I understand it. Most arts organizations are in perpetual funding crisis, and the sort of people who cut cheques for ballets are very often Very Respectable and gay porn does not (in the public arena at leat) Venn with that.

Consider too that an organization does have a right to its own public face, not what its employees/students decide it will be known for. This isn't about a supposedly wronged dancer, it is about the RWBS wanting people to associate it with ballet and not about sucking cocks on camera. That is NOT an unfair requirement.

As for the Code that is an interesting question. Do you really want Codes so specific that they insult your people? At some point you have to rely on your valued people's good sense because it's difficult to draft a Code that mandates it and demeans your people if you try.
Posted by seeker6079 on July 9, 2013 at 5:16 AM · Report this
Now that I think about it I DO agree with what they did and any kind of porn performance is incompatible.
Posted by seeker6079 on July 9, 2013 at 5:19 AM · Report this
@13: He looks 12 to you?…

I don't know what they put in the water where you live, but round here 12 year olds don't have stubble...

He looks exactly like what he is, a college-aged guy.
Posted by Shy Boy on July 9, 2013 at 6:08 AM · Report this
Dr. Z 29
@26/27: this isn't an ordinary organization, it's a school of higher education. The rules about free expression are different. (At least they are in the US) Why should a school be entitled to expel students on these grounds? And where do you draw the line? Could they expel Communists, for instance? Or gay people? Because the "public face" argument is a slippery slope.
Posted by Dr. Z on July 9, 2013 at 7:39 AM · Report this
@29 - "Different" rules doesn't mean "easier" rules. Indeed, as an artistic organization I'd say that it has more rather than less right to determine the parameters of the art that it finds acceptable. It wouldn't, for example, tolerate somebody breaking into jazz dance during a performance of Swan Lake because that was the way that they expressed their artistry.

The school has a public face and is entitled to that; "artistic" isn't some benefit of clergy thing (h/t George Orwell) which grants unrestricted licence. Put bluntly, it isn't obliged to put up with everything and everything. My own view? On most things employment and social I'm liberal, but I'm not "so open-minded that my brains fall out" in that I expect one's person's choice to automatically trump another's rights or interests. I honestly don't know where I'd draw the line. But I'm pretty sure that porn movies is beyond what I'd consider an acceptable face for a school where almost all students are between 11 and 17 and a ballet which prides itself on its prestige.

Look, I like porn, I like gays and I'm okay with young men whose looks on their worst day put mine on my best to shame. (He's an enthralling sumbitch, isn't he?) But "liking" and "supporting" is not synonymous with "unqualified support" or "ignoring context". Sometimes something that's just fine isn't compatible with something else that 's just fine: in this case, porn and a ballet company.
Posted by seeker6079 on July 9, 2013 at 9:04 AM · Report this
@30: Okay, the Grammar Witch came into my room and turned me into a toad for the first paragraph. Now that I'm better it SHOULD read
Indeed, I'd say that an artistic organization has more rather than less right to determine the parameters of the art that it finds acceptable.
Posted by seeker6079 on July 9, 2013 at 9:20 AM · Report this
I think the Streisand Effect might be in play, here.
Posted by clashfan on July 9, 2013 at 1:44 PM · Report this
@30: Sure, and if he started having sex with one of the other dancers on-stage they would be well within their rights to object to that too. But what if he was dancing jazz on the weekends or during the summer break? Would it be ok to expel him over that?

It's a school, not a military academy. What he does in his free time is his own damn business, as long as it's legal and consensual. There's a long list of people who wouldn't have degrees if it weren't for porn and stripping. Are we really going to judge them for making the best of a bad situation?
Posted by Chase on July 9, 2013 at 3:46 PM · Report this
@33: on further consideration, I suppose if the scholarship is private money then they can withdraw it at their discretion (and I can certainly think less of them at mine). Yet another reason why privatization is an unfortunate trend. #29 still has a good point though.
Posted by Chase on July 9, 2013 at 4:03 PM · Report this
@15: Now THAT'S very interesting.
Posted by Chase on July 9, 2013 at 4:10 PM · Report this
lolorhone 36
@33: Even if it's private money, they would have to explicitly dictate a "morality clause" into the agreement in order to expel him. A contract is a contract is a contract.
Posted by lolorhone on July 9, 2013 at 5:03 PM · Report this
Sorry, don't agree. Public institutions (and a ballet that is funded by a registered charitable foundation is public in the sense that I mean it) have a right to control their image because they are arguably dead if they don't. I don't know if you have ever bothered to be on the board of a charity but I have, on a number of occasions. One public relations mess is a financial disaster waiting to happen.

The jazz dancing metaphor was mine, and I own the flaws in it. But, fact is, it is flawed: there is a difference between sex and other human activities when they enter the public arena and porn is a VERY public arena, as is being a ballet company, and, yes, people treat it differently. If you disagree then by all means feel free to show hardcore stuff to kids on your ipod and find out if the local constabulary and judiciary are as openminded as you.

I don't think folks in the position of the RWBS are wrong to want people to look at them and their dancers and think "ballet" and not "porn". The world has a lot of talented young dancers who don't present the Board and Executive and Staff with a worldwide porn story. Right now people are scrambling there: they have a flow of cash out to lawyers, to human rights consultants, to PR consultants as they try and manage this. They are documenting everything like mad, and trying to manage the calls from pissed or curious donors and that too costs time and money. As one of the most gay-friendly industries on the planet they are going to be fielding accusations of homophobia.

I can't speak for the RWSB but if I were there I'd probably be shaking young Jett and screaming, "you fucking INFANT! You mental MIDGET! You had to know this was going to happen if you had even just two goddamned brain cells in even reasonable proximity! And so I we have to spend tens of thousands of dollars in staff costs and disbursements to sort out the mess that you have put us in!"

Frankly, I think he's a little narcissist who started the day as a nobody in Winnipeg and now is a hot story. The fact that a charity was embarrassed and troubled? I don't think he cares, but I do. I don't think that being pro-gay and openminded means that I'm obliged to bend a prestigious arts institution around this guy's career path and accept that everybody but him must bear the consequences of him being a special little artistic flower. He's a grownup and grownups gotta own the obvious implications of their choices.
Posted by seeker6079 on July 9, 2013 at 8:42 PM · Report this
lolorhone 38
@37: Frankly, you sound hostile. And I maintain my point that if "morality" in the public sphere is such a big issue for them, it should be written into the contract or code of conduct. Otherwise, this is just bluebloods getting the vapors and doing much more damage to themselves trying to do preemptive damage control. This wasn't a capital-S Story until they kicked him out and tried to get him to say otherwise.
Posted by lolorhone on July 9, 2013 at 9:31 PM · Report this
Yup. I am hostile. I have had to deal with damage control for a crucially important local charity when an employee got their head up their fucking ass, and, frankly, my sympathy is with the organization and the people it serves and the community that's richer for it, not with the one jackass who expects the world to revolve around him.

I've got nothing against porn. Hell, I'm highly in favour of it if I'm not asked to watch the gay stuff. But a porn actor shouldn't be permitted to be a public face of an organization that wants nothing to do with porn. It's not prudery, or bluebloody, or the vapours to say so. Indeed, I question even your premise -- shared by others on this thread -- that this is about "morality". I don't see that an organization with one image is obliged to keep on an employee who has made them the focus of worldwide attention for something else.. The RWBS wants to be all about ballet, and now all people want to talk about is their now-fired vid-twink. One can be "yay porn!" all one wants, but that doesn't change the fact that (regrettably) doing porn isn't the same in the public eye as doing jazz and choosing to do porn will have social and professional consequences that jazz (sadly) does not.

On occasion I actually write or contribute codes of conduct for organizations. I'm pretty sure that we don't need and shouldn't have to spell out, "oh, and by the way, don't suck cocks on film for money because that's not exactly our thing". It should be obvious. And, frankly, I think being socially liberal pro-gay pro-porn types here has blinded some folks to what an entitled ass this guy is being.
Posted by seeker6079 on July 9, 2013 at 10:52 PM · Report this
lolorhone 40
@39: The school's only exposure came after they kicked him out, so how did he "[make] them the focus of worldwide attention for something else [other than ballet]"? I'd say they did that to themselves, especially when they attempted to have him sign something stating that they did not kick him out. And I'd say that a ballet school is not a charity (ballet is an art, not a cause), Hansen never was and never asked to be the public face of their organization, and that your hostility is blinding you to the fact that none of us would be talking about cocksucking ballet dancers had the school left him alone.
Posted by lolorhone on July 9, 2013 at 11:40 PM · Report this
@ 39: Can you think of an analogous image-derailer that doesn't involve sex?

I have, in fact, seen pretty explicit sex scenes on broadcast television at exactly the point in time at which kids are home from school while their parents were at work. But this was in enlightened Scandinavia, not the pathologically sex-phobic monotheistic countries, and contrary to Christian expectation, kids there didn't turn into demons, they just didn't find it very interesting.

I'll agree that it was pretty stupid of Jeppe not to realize that he was in shark-infested waters. But it's also pretty stupid that we put up with these sharks in the first place, and it's unfortunate that people raising money for cultural institutions even have to worry about them.
Posted by Chase on July 10, 2013 at 4:32 PM · Report this
Fortunate 42
What @40 said. If the school was concerned about image they are the ones who's actions made it generally known that one of their students had done porn once. At that point literally once.

If they didn't want a porn actor being the face of their institution then they shouldn't have acted in a way that shouted to the world that one of their students was doing porn.

If that really was their concern they should have called him to the Dean's office and informed him that he could not do any more porn while a student at the school, and then left it at that.

That one porn clip he did, under an assumed name, would have been just one of millions out there. I don't think that the cross section of people who are into ballet and gay porn is so large that many would have been familiar with that one clip out of millions, and happened to recognize this guy while he is on stage dancing.

Everyone knows about it now because of asinine way the school decided to handle it. They could have just told him to not do it again and no one would have known about the connection between porn and the school. Now everyone knows because they had to over-react.
Posted by Fortunate on July 11, 2013 at 7:47 AM · Report this

Add a comment


Want great deals and a chance to win tickets to the best shows in Seattle? Join The Stranger Presents email list!

All contents © Index Newspapers, LLC
1535 11th Ave (Third Floor), Seattle, WA 98122
Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Takedown Policy