Trans and non-binary dancers of the ballet company Ballez explore their place in a lineage of drag and gender-play rooted in the “travesty” productions of 1870s Paris, while wrestling with the restrictions of the contemporary dance world.

  • Courtney F Powell
  • Tate F Nova
  • Katy Pyle
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Runtime:
    26 minutes 16 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    September 4, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    25,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • WNET All Arts/Thirteen
    New York City
    United States
    February 15, 2024
    Public Television Premiere
Distribution Information
  • WNET All Arts/Thirteen
    Country: United States
    Rights: Free TV
Director Biography - Courtney F Powell

Courtney Faye Powell is a director, editor, and producer based in New York City, working in long and short form commercial, documentary, and narrative. Her work has been screened at festivals around the world and at the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Inaugural Film Festival at the Smithsonian. She graduated from Harvard University and previously worked as a Creative Director for Viacom, leading teams at Comedy Central, MTV, Vh1, and Logo. Her short documentary for Levi’s “Go Forth” campaign won a GLAAD Media award and she was nominated for two Emmy Awards for producing digital projects for The Daily Show and RuPaul's Drag Race. As a freelance director, producer, and editor she has worked for companies and brands that include Mastercard, Condé Nast, Lifetime, Chobani, Freeform/Hulu, Skydance Media, Girl Culture Films, and many others. She recently completed Travesty, a documentary about a trans and gender-queer ballet company for PBS station WNET.

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Director Statement

I was so excited to be able to work with Katy Pyle and their company Ballez to follow the process of creating a new dance work that is radical within a constrained tradition. The tension between the past and future is palpable in the show and the film, as people work as best they can against great societal pressures while exploring an unknown lineage. I am interested in making films that wrestle with the past, bringing marginalized or forgotten characters into focus and in exploring and deconstructing the idea of linear progress, using nostalgic visual textures to tell new stories. It was such a joy to watch these artists work in a playful, vibrant, self-actualized way, during this time where trans people in America are not always afforded the freedom to express themselves.