Metalhead Ballerinas Rock the U.K.

Brutal Ballet slayed U.K. audiences last week with the debut of original choreography set to a metal cover of the Game of Thrones themesong.

Bridie Mayfield is a ballerina, she’s also more metal than you.

The dancer and choreographer is the founder of Brutal Ballet, a death metal ballet company. Should you harbor any preconceived notions about what a ballerina looks like, banish them immediately. Mayfield’s lean, tatted arms and her death metal dances will destroy any pink-hued visions of tutu-wearing princesses you may currently hold. She’s been dancing since she was two years old and in 2008, she finally put her two favorite pastimes—dancing and heavy metal—together.

“I’ve always kind of choreographed to metal in my head, but I never thought it would be accepted so I never thought anything of it,” says Mayfield. “I just thought, ‘oh, no one’s going to accept that!’ Metalheads are so diehard and passionate about it and they’d probably think I was just killing their art by doing it.”

And then Mayfield discovered Ballet Deviare, a New York-based company that used metal as the soundtrack to their original compositions. It inspired her to start Brutal Ballet in her hometown of Brisbane, Australia. But Australia’s audiences weren’t filling the seats, while Europe seemed to offer a bigger stage. So, three months ago, the death metal ballerina moved her company to the U.K. Just this week, they showed up at TitanCon, a science fiction and fantasy convention based in Belfast, and debuted a sensational piece choreographed to a death-metal cover of the Game of Thrones’ theme song, by the band Lizzard Wizard. GoT stars Eugene Simon (Lancel Lannister), Kerry Ingram (Shireen Baratheon), and Aimee Richardson (Myrcella Baratheon) were in the audience watching.

“They were getting photos with us, rather than us getting photos with them,” says Mayfield.

The dance has made the internet rounds—they were profiled by the BBC, and written about on the A.V. Club and io9. The Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing, an international dance instruction examination board based in London, even tweeted their approval.

“I never thought we’d be accepted by anybody from the dance world. Because we haven’t been so far. They kind of look at us go, ‘well, that one’s covered in tattoos and that one doesn’t have the perfect body parts,’” says Mayfield. “We’re kind of the rebel ballerinas.”

Mayfield says the hardest about running the company is finding dancers. It’s already difficult to find hard-working ballerinas, and dancers willing to perform to metal music are even more rare. But Brutal Ballet’s choreography doesn’t stray too far from the classical form.

“They [the dancers] have been really surprised by how classical it is and we haven’t really changed anything but the music,” says Mayfield.

Not only are Brutal’s ballerinas learning to consider different musical forms, but the company is introducing ballet to non-traditional audiences as well. Classical ballet tends to conjure elitist connotations, to the detriment of building a larger, younger fanbase. At the other end of the cultural spectrum, metal, too, is frequently regarded as intimidating and inaccessible. But combined, these two fringe cultures not only merge audiences, they appeal to people outside either community as well.

“It’s taken [ballet] away from being entertainment of the high society and it’s sort of introduced it to the general public,” says Mayfield. “People who aren’t metal heads and who aren’t ballet community people—they really like it.”

via Real Time with Bill Maher / YouTube and The Late Late Show with James Corden / YouTube

A controversial editorial on America's obesity epidemic and healthcare by comedian Bill Maher on his HBO show "Real Time" inspired a thoughtful, and funny, response by James Cordon. It also made for a great debate about healthcare that Americans are avoiding.

At the end of the September 6th episode of "Real Time, " Maher turned to the camera for his usual editorial and discussed how obesity is a huge part of the healthcare debate that no one is having.

"At Next Thursday's debate, one of the candidates has to say, 'The problem with our healthcare system is Americans eat shit and too much of it.' All the candidates will mention their health plans but no one will bring up the key factor: the citizens don't lift a finger to help," Maher said sternly.

Keep Reading Show less

There is no shortage of proposals from the, um, what's the word for it… huge, group of Democratic presidential candidates this year. But one may stand out from the pack as being not just bold but also necessary; during a CNN town hall about climate change Andrew Yang proposed a "green amendment" to the constitution.

Keep Reading Show less
Me Too Kit

The creator of the Me Too kit — an at home rape kit that has yet to hit the market — has come under fire as sexual assault advocates argue the kit is dangerous and misleading for women.

The kit is marketed as "the first ever at home kit for commercial use," according to the company's website. "Your experience. Your kit. Your story. Your life. Your choice. Every survivor has a story, every survivor has a voice." Customers will soon be able order one of the DIY kits in order to collect evidence "within the confines of the survivor's chosen place of safety" after an assault.

"With MeToo Kit, we are able to collect DNA samples and other tissues, which upon testing can provide the necessary time-sensitive evidence required in a court of law to identify a sexual predator's involvement with sexual assault," according to the website.

Keep Reading Show less

Villagers rejoice as they receive the first vaccines ever delivered via drone in the Congo

The area's topography makes transporting medicines a treacherous task.

Photo by Henry Sempangi Senyule

When we discuss barriers to healthcare in the developed world, affordability is commonly the biggest concern. But for some in the developing world, physical distance and topography can be the difference between life and death.

Widjifake, a hard-to-reach village in northwestern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with a population of 6,500, struggles with having consistent access to healthcare supplies due to the Congo River and its winding tributaries.

It can take up to three hours for vehicles carrying supplies to reach the village.

Keep Reading Show less
via Keith Boykin / Twitter

Fox News and President Trump seem like they may be headed for a breakup. "Fox is a lot different than it used to be," Trump told reporters in August after one of the network's polls found him trailing for Democrats in the 2020 election.

"There's something going on at Fox, I'll tell you right now. And I'm not happy with it," he continued.

Some Fox anchors have hit back at the president over his criticisms. "Well, first of all, Mr. President, we don't work for you," Neil Cavuto said on the air. "I don't work for you. My job is to cover you, not fawn over you or rip you, just report on you."

Keep Reading Show less