Famed Royal Winnipeg Ballet ditches dancer for starring in gay porn video

Steve Mertl

I understand the Royal Winnipeg Ballet wanting to cut loose a young dancer who moonlights as a gay porn actor.

But I wonder if the Canadian cultural institution is not missing an opportunity here.

You've probably never heard of Jeppe Hansen, a 22-year-old Danish-born dancer who joined the RWB's dance school on a scholarship last September.

Hansen told CBC News he viewed his spot at the school as a big opportunity.

"My identity is built on being a ballet dancer," Hansen said.

But Hansen apparently also saw other facets to his art, including the world of pornography. He appeared in his first porn video earlier this year, viewing it as a new way of expressing himself, he told CBC News.

But officials at the RWB weren't as sympathetic to Hansen's desire to explore this particular artistic avenue.

"They told me … they didn't have any space for me because I did porn," he told CBC News.

Hansen said he was asked to sign a letter saying he was withdrawing from the school program voluntarily, though he said officials were determined to get rid of him.

The RWB would not comment but a spokesman pointed to the school's code of conduct, which includes a section stating that students in the school's professional division are not allowed to perform outside the school without getting permission in advance.

Hansen accused the RWB of treating him unfairly, passing judgment on what constitutes art.

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"You cannot be in a company or with the school or whatever because you've decided to take a different standpoint artistically — not because you physically can't do it, or because you're not good enough," Hansen told CBC News.

"Being told because you're doing something else that's interrupting with what we think you can do is really difficult because they know it's your passion, they know that that's what you live off. They know my entire identity's built on it. So it was really difficult to be told that and to be told, 'You know what? There's no space for you here.' "

Hansen left the school in March and headed for New York City, resurfacing with the nom-de-porn Jett Black. A Tumblr page under that name features Hansen in several naked clenches with young men.

His Twitter account features an underwear-clad Hansen lying in a come-hither pose. The CBC story produced supportive tweets, especially from the gay and porn community.

Toronto gay porn director Bruce LaBruce even offered to cast Hansen, er, Black in a movie.

The man behind Hansen's first video last February told CBC News he's trying to blur the line between mainstream and adult entertainment with films that have an actual plot, not just sex scenes.

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"The films are meant to be entertaining and sexual at the same time," Jake Jaxson, who owns the web site CockyBoys.com.

Hansen told CBC News he's now doing porn full time but misses dance and hopes to return to it some day.

Maybe the RWB might reconsider. After all, other porn artists, such as Traci Lords, Sasha Grey and Ron Jeremy have bridged the divide, at least in the movie business.

Dance may be a different frontier but perhaps society has developed to the point that some of the RWB's supporters might be willing to pay to see Jeppe, aka Jett, dance. Bums in seats.