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A New Instagram Account Calls Out Bad Imitations of Ballet in Advertising

Let's start with an undisputed fact: Ballet dancers work hard. Very hard. And yet they're often underpaid, overworked and misunderstood by a society that idolizes tutus, toe shoes and a dancer's physique, without understanding what's behind it. So it's no surprise that bunheads are left feeling frustrated when clothing companies and fashion magazines choose to hire models, rather than dancers, to show off their ballet-inspired wares. Enter a new Instagram account: @modelsdoingballet.


In just over a week, this account, which calls out the worst ballet imitations in advertising, has garnered nearly 14,000 followers. The viral success reminds us of when @biscuitballerina entered onto the scene in the fall of 2017. And like @biscuitballerina, @modelsdoingballet is snarky (and very funny) without crossing the line; the account seems focused on calling out the companies behind these unfortunate choices rather than the models themselves. After all, this isn't the first time dancers have taken a stand on this topic: A Free People video ad released in 2014 led to a massive backlash from dancers.

"It started with us just as friends sending ridiculous, cringeworthy 'ballet' images in our private DMs to make ourselves laugh," wrote the two dancers behind the account (who choose to remain anonymous) via email. "Our mission is simple: If a brand is going to do a ballet or dance-inspired shoot, then hire real dancers. It takes a lifetime of grueling training to be able to pose correctly (and dare we say safely) in pointe shoes. There is an entire community of trained dancers who would love to work professionally and do us proud."

The founders can't believe the massive amount of support their account has received in just a few short days. "The overwhelming response is proof that change needs to happen," they wrote. "We're not here to shame. We're here to change the game. While also having a laugh."

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All photos by Joe Toreno. Grooming throughout by Lisa Chamberlain for The Rex Agency.

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