The embodiment of fearlessness in more ways than one, Addison dons the pointe shoe as homage to the power and strength of female dancers but also to push himself and his technical mastery to new heights.
As he explains, “When I first saw the pointe shoe, I was not interested in the use of the ballerina’s arm or head. I would literally be lying on the floor looking at her shoe and how she articulates, how she rolls through, how she turns and stays in one spot. It’s just magical and I wanted to see if I could do that. And then from then on it just became an actual let’s try and understand what the women go through [decision]. It’s made me a better partner and definitely [helped me see dance from] both sides.
Even though Addison is also a member of the prolific, world-renowned Complexions Contemporary Ballet dance company, founded in 1994 by choreography and dance greats, Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson, he’s learned firsthand that, although the company he dances with embraces and encourages his embracing the pointe shoe, all members in the dance community don’t.
In fact, he vividly remembers a fellow male dancer who questioned his dancing en pointe. “He [used] many of the examples of what we’re told and how men are expected to conduct themselves and perform as men as a point of comparison. But even after that experience I wondered, ‘If I’m questioning masculinity, then where along the line is the border between masculinity and femininity?’ I didn’t see doing that as a problem.”
Whether he knows it or not, Addison is an inspiration and embodiment of a change-maker. Not just because he dared to push against a very clear boundary for men in dance but because, in doing so, he’s hoping to create long lasting change for future male and female dancers. “I’m all about breaking barriers and boundaries. So, when people see me dance, I would love for them to realize that anything is possible…
And that I do pointe work not because I want to be a woman but because I love the art of the shoe. It is an appreciation of the discipline women go through–and that’s the art form in general. It is proof that I, too, have the ability to encompass a feminine and a masculine quality in my movement confidently, and the pointe shoe is an extension of that. And that’s why I dance.”