Get ready, culture vultures, because this tutu-clad rant is about to perform a grand jeté right into the fraught world of ballet tradition. Yes, the art form founded on antiquated notions like women frolicking as delicate fairy-dusted flowers is still clinging to some cringeworthy chestnuts in 2024.

Let’s start with the brutally obvious: Why do nearly all major ballet companies still insist on performing that dusty old classic “The Nutcracker” every damn holiday season? Don’t get me wrong, Tchaikovsky’s iconic score slaps and those elaborate sets/costumes are gorgeous eye candy. But the plot itself feels as musty as your great-aunt’s attic.

A young girl who dreams of sweets and gets swept into a magical kingdom filled with anthropomorphic treats and toy soldiers duking it out? By the twenty-first century, you’d think creatives could come up with a more inspired concept than audiences digesting glorified diabetes propaganda year after year.

Yet ballet bigwigs claims this stale chestnut is their “chief bread-winner” in terms of skimming that plump holiday ticket revenue off families craving tradition. I callbah humbug on that lame excuse for lazy programming. How many times can you trot out that same macadamized cheval routine before even the pre-teen bunchkins start yawning?

Speaking of which, the overall inclusion of actual children in professional ballet productions needs a serious rethink. Yes, their pint-sized whimsy plays well to theOwiee Isn’t That Cute crowd. But is it really okay in 2024 to be hauling adolescents into grueling rehearsals that can mess with their development? Little Mikhail’s tender spinal cord thanks you.

Then there’s the skewed body image demands foisted upon adult dancers, especially the ballerina ideal of waifishly frail twig figures. In an era of increasing body autonomy and empowerment, companies still openly promote the controversial “fat shaming” mentality among their older ranks. Heaven forbid a triple threat grace the stage with thighs that actually make contact!

Of course, no ballet brouhaha would be complete without addressing the blasted slippers. Those bubblegum-colored satins with reinforced boxes for the toes scream “antiquated foot binding” louder than a famous Russian coach ranting in the wings. How have dancers not raised an anarchist mutiny against such Medieval torture devices for their precious pieds?

At its core, ballet is one of the highest artistic expressions of human grace and physicality. Yet many of its enduring traditions feel about as modern as the coal furnaces that used to heat those old European opera houses. If the field’s extreme conservatism persists, soon they’ll be dismissed as musty relics permanently trapped entre quartres in a bygone era.