Boys can dance – from a female perspective
Ian wrote yesterday about both his experiences as a male dancer as well as why we need more men taking part in dance sport. I thought I would add a female voice to the discussion.
As a girl growing up in dance classes, you get used to there not being many boys in your class. I originally started to train in ballet and there was ONE boy in the entire dance school. We are all well aware of the assumptions around male ballet dancers, but yet these are in the main stereotypes. I can only imagine how he must have felt in a room full of leotarded girls in pretty pink slippers – a lone figure in t-shirt and shorts. But what we didn’t really recognise at the time was what this ratio meant for performances. We ended up doing twee scenes without baddies or any dramatic tension (other than that created by the music and on stage mishaps). Lifts were a no-no, and we all missed out on the opportunities to perform pas-de-deux at any level. While boys can dance, sadly too few are put off by stereotypes that are not always true.
Moving into my teenage years, and due to injury, I had to alter my dance pathway. I moved into Ballroom and Latin, where you would naturally expect a more equal ratio of girls to boys. However, sadly this was not the case. Yet again, there was 1 boy (though thankfully at a higher level – that boy can dance!) to the entire school. Needless to say, this would lead to arguments and some friction between female students of the school as he tried to spread himself thinly throughout the classes. Even when dancing competitively, he could easily change his partner at any point as there was always a queue waiting in the wings. This poor boy is now my husband, however even to this day he is frequently approached as a potential dance partner.
Reasons for boys to dance
Gene Kelly once said he didn’t learn to dance not because he loved dance, but because of the easy access to girls. He wanted to be a sports star instead. Yet there is such a large amount of support for the boys and men who choose to dance within schools and classes, that they often grow to outshine the girls… While the girls work ten times harder as the men have so many partners to choose from. Boys can dance.., and flirt, and switch when they get bored.
It’s also a great form of exercise – building agility, stamina and coordination. Boxers and footballers alike have all previously used dance as a form of training.
Dance can also help to build your confidence as you gain pride in your abilities and talent. You will also develop a thicker skin and learn to handle setbacks and criticism.
Nine times out of ten the men have the easier steps! While you focus on maintaining your lead, the lady often has the “twiddly”steps.
Finally it’s FUN! You’ll never be laughed AT in a class, however you’ll always hear giggles of laughter as you learn new steps and each person gives them their own memorable name (we all do it). Plus all the endorphins you release will leave you feeling brighter and cheery even on the dullest day.