Monday, November 10, 2008

Ballet in the White House

Ballet classes may be coming to the White House. You may have heard that President-Elect Barack Obama's daughters study the art. "No matter where he is on the campaign trail, Barack Obama has made it a point to return to see every one of his 9 and 6 year old daughter's ballet recitals," writes the organizer of the "Ballet Dads for Obama" group.

Obama has also chosen a former ballet dancer as his chief of staff. Rahm Emmanuel, who is also said to be the inspiration for the West Wing character "Josh Lyman," danced for a year at Sarah Lawrence after turning down a scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet School; as a freshman, he appeared in a modern-dance piece called “Desire.”

Katia Bachko, while editor of Dance Teacher Magazine, once tried to interview him on the subject of dance, but her attempt fell flat. (She wrote about it in the Columbia Journalism Review)

Ron Reagan, Jr, the President's son (left), is apparently unimpressed by Emmanuel's dance chops: “I’m not trying to knock him or anything," he said, "but, O.K., it’s like if I’m a well-known actor—not a big star, but I appear in movies—and you’re talking about someone who was in the drama club in high school.”

In this clip (below)from a political roast from 2005, Barack Obama describes the value of ballet for a career in politics.