“They think it’s cool”; “They don’t really tease me about it”; “A lot of my teachers support me & come to see me in it”; It’s like a dream come true, it’s amazing”. These are the words from the young boys who star in The Nutcracker performed by The New York City Ballet this holiday season. It’s more than wonderful to see that the stigma attached to boys taking on dance and in particular, ballet has fallen and that as a result more boys are embracing the stage as ballet dancers.
The Wall Street Journal’s piece is a heartwarming audio directly from these young dancers who sound not only confident in their dance, but extremely proud of their art. Kudos Guys, let’s hope some of your friends are motivated to join you on the ballet stage! Click below to listen.
The “Nutcracker Boys Bring Change to Holiday Classic”
My daughter has never had the pleasure of having a male dancer in any of her classes in the 13 years she has taken lessons. Not one. We’ve seen a boy here, one there, come through the school, last about 1 or 2 years, then poof…gone. It saddens me. At one of the parent observation classes, a younger brother was in the audience. At the very end of the class, the teacher taught a quick routine and asked the observers to participate. This kid was GOOD! He caught the entire routine and executed it first try, no errors. I asked his mom why he wasn’t taking dance classes. Her response “His dad won’t let him”.
A large part of why more boys aren’t dancing is because of societal views on men in tights, or heck men in dance classes in general. It’s ok to learn the latest hip hop moves at home and display them on the dance floor at any party but formal classes? No way!
But some of the same reasons why girls should be encouraged to dance also hold true for boys:
- Discipline: Dance requires practice and repetition. Try and try until you get that combination right. This try and try mentality transcends outside of the studio and into life skills
- Confidence: When that combination is finally excelled? The level of confidence surpasses all the negative energy (teasing etc) that may have been hurled at them for taking dance classes
- Great balance, posture & agility. In a previous post about ballet, I shared a link of football players who use ballet as a form of cross training during the off season. If you haven’t had a chance to look at it and see the reasons why, here’s another chance: http://www.dancespirit.com/2013/09/are-you-ready-for-some-football-players-in-ballet-class/
- Have you ever seen a male dancer who wasn’t toned built? Probably not. Dance develops muscles and gives tone like no other aerobic exercise there is.
With the popularity of shows like “So You Think You Can Dance” and “America’s Best Dance Crew”, the idea of male dancers is hopefully become more mainstream. Male dancers looking for professional jobs have less competition than their female counterparts for the simple fact that there are less of them to compete. Broadway Shows like “Newsies” and “KinkyBoots” display the diverse male dance talent that exists and showcases it well.
Don’t discourage your young men from formal dance classes, root them on and show them that dance is just as powerful as any sport they could play.