Meaning of “Dark Ballet” by Madonna

This song is deep on a number of levels. It is loosely based on the story of French heroine Joan of Arc (1412-1431), with Madonna specifically taking on the role of this historical figure during the bridge. But her relating to the Maid of Orléans is an allusion to the overall narrative of the track. And what’s the track’s overall narrative? It is basically about the Queen of Pop going at it with society as a whole. And the foundation of her tiff with the system is that she perceives it as one that is based on “a beautiful dream”. She sees it as a fantasy, which amongst other things compels individuals to conform. But of course, she is not about to go that route. 

Rather Madonna is going to stand up for what she believes in and, in an even greater sense, what she understands to be the will of God due to her personal relationship with Him. So what this all basically boils down to is the singer adopting an attitude whereas she “won’t give in” to the flow of the mainstream.

Lyrics of "Dark Ballet"

Music Video

Gay, HIV-positive rapper Mykki Blanco plays the lead role of Joan of Arc in the official music video to “Dark Ballet”, which owes its direction to Emmanuel Adjei. The video specifically centers on Joan’s execution.

Madonna chose Mykki to star in the video due to her identifying some of the trials he has faced as “a modern-day analogy” for the story of Joan of Arc.

Video’s Message

According to Mykki, the specific issues this video is designed to address are ‘stigmas’ against the HIV-positive people, “systematic oppression”,  “institutional racism”, “misogyny, transphobia and homophobia”.

Madonna supported the idea of making Joan of Arc (1412-1431) as the central character of the piece due to the strong discrimination and treachery she dealt with and perhaps most importantly the fact that Joan “feared nothing”.

Mykki Blanco’s relationship with Madonna

Blanco first met Madonna in 2018. Their meeting occurred while in an IKEA store in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. He went on to befriend the Queen of Pop and even helped present her with the Advocate for Change Award at the 30th GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) Media Awards on 4 May 2019 in New York City.

Some Quick Facts about “Dark Ballet”

This is the fifth song that was dropped in advance of Madonna’s project Madame X. It came out as the last promotional single from that album on 7 June 2019.

Madonna teased the release of this track way back on 17 May 2018, after singing a snippet of it at the 2018 Met Gala on 8 May. At that time, “Dark Ballet” (a term that is never actually mentioned in the lyrics) was instead entitled “Beautiful Game”.

This song heavily samples “Dance of the Reed Flutes”. The aforementioned track is an instrumental from Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s classic 1892 ballet “The Nutcracker”.

Madonna wrote and produced “Dark Ballet” alongside her regular collaborator, Mirwais Ahmadzaï.

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1 Response

  1. Alex says:

    And the video were shot in Portugal 🙂
    At Cabo Espichel and Mosteiro da Batalha

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