Dance History Quiz | Whipped Cream Costumes

Fun facts for teachers & students


This spring, American Ballet Theatre artist in residence Alexei Ratmansky resurrected Richard Strauss’ long-forgotten ballet Whipped Cream, a bit of whimsy about a Viennese pastry shop. The 2017 ballet’s innocent-with-an-edge sets and costumes were designed by artist Mark Ryden, whose painting of a girl in a blond bob and “red” dress inspired what pop culture flashpoint?

a. The Hunger Games
b. Sia’s “Chandelier” video
c. Lady Gaga’s meat dress
d. La La Land

c. Lady Gaga’s meat dress

According to the New York Times, Whipped Cream was the first theatrical undertaking for pop-surrealist artist Mark Ryden, whose early career projects included illustrating album covers for Michael Jackson and others. Ryden had achieved a level of celebrity for his macabre paintings when, in 2010, Lady Gaga shocked the MTV Video Music Awards audience with her edible ensemble: a dress, hat, shoes, and purse made of meat by designer Franc Fernandez. Art connoisseurs quickly noted the resemblance between Gaga’s bloody dress and Ryden’s painting Incarnation, which depicts a childlike blonde in a stylish—although gruesome—dress made of raw meat. The Times asked Ryden about Gaga’s dress, which made headlines around the world. “What can I say for the record?” he said. “It’s flattering to be the inspiration for another creative person.”