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A Nonbinary Swan, on Pointe

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nytimes.com

Ashton Edwards’s ballet dreams were dashed at age 6. Raised as a boy in the Midwest, Edwards, who is nonbinary and now uses they/them pronouns, had hoped ballet would allow them to explore their truest self. “I wanted to be one of those beautiful, ethereal people on pointe,” they said, referring to the reinforced shoes that allow dancers to stand on the tips of their toes.

But not long after starting classes, Edwards learned that only women danced on pointe. “It was crushing,” they said. “I would search and search for footage of ‘Swan Lake’ with Baryshnikov as the swan.

And it didn’t exist.” Now Edwards has resurrected that childhood dream. Last fall, they became an apprentice with Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle, where they have been dancing traditionally female roles.

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