There has long been a sense of sexuality to ballet, what with all those sculpted bodies gracefully moving against each other. But now, the art form is being openly compared to pornography.

The charge comes from Tamara Rojo, the new head of the English National Ballet. Reports the Daily Mail:

Ballet is like pornography because it is often choreographed by men, the English National Ballet’s new artistic director has said.

Tamara Rojo wants more female choreographers for her company, after saying that because of the many male directors in dance, "Like in porn, it shapes the way you look at things."

The original comments were made in Time Out. They include Rojo saying that men favor "a more physical approach" to dance — as, presumably, to the sex featured in pornography.

If Rojo was trying to get attention, it certainly worked. The Guardian lamented that the porn references occluded the more serious issue of gender disparity in professional ballet, before going on to concede that the "connection between porn and dance isn't entirely random, of course." In other words, it's not about sex. Except that, actually, it is.

Continues Judith Mackrell, who is The Guardian's dance critic:

The puritanism of British and North American cultures means there is a lingering, prurient perception that scantily clad men and women making a frank display of their bodies must automatically be sexual.

It probably doesn't help that a Danish dancer was booted from the Winnipeg Royal Ballet (that's in Canada, by the way) for acting in porno flicks as Jett Black. After that fiasco, one critic argued that "you just can’t take sex out of ballet."

Googling, as we have done in the name of journalism, "ballet and porn" brings up what appears to be a rather robust selection of ballet-themed pornographic videos. These are not the sort of thing, we suspect, to make supporters of the dance form proud.