Not long ago, I had the “yippee!” moment of discovering a new dance blog. And within this blog, I found a great link to an audio interview with three male dancers in which they discussed their experiences growing up in dance, their thoughts on Billy Elliot, and more.
I found the interview very encouraging. Overall these men, who dance with Mark Morris Dance Group, began as children taking ballet and other dance styles, and received much support from not only their families but people (and other boys) around them. I’ve always felt strongly that boys must be offered a place and space in dance schools that would allow them to feel comfortable, thereby encouraging young men to dance. However, I believe my interest and concern about male dancers increased when I became the mother of a young son. He is still a toddler, having been born not long before I “birthed” this blog, and is therefore not old enough to even know what a dance class is, let alone participate in one. When he is old enough, I hope to find a dance program in which he can explore creative movement. Later, if he wants to continue in other dance styles or forms, I would of course be overjoyed but I have no desire to push my child into dance or any career, for that matter. And I would not refuse his desire to play sports, start a band, or be his own person.
Anyway, it is a great interview, and I highly recommend clicking here or downloading the mp3 to listen to this discourse. Just for your information, the interview is over 20 minutes long, but definitely worth the time!
Want to encourage boys to dance at your studio?
**Unfortunately, I had a bit of a buzzkill regarding attitudes toward men in dance today. I wrote a large rant which I decided not to publish here on Dance Advantage. Why? Well, mostly because it doesn’t reflect my goals to keep this blog a positive space and a resource of quality information on dance. I realized that my tirade would not necessarily bring enlightenment to anyone reading the blog and that I did not really need affirmation that most of you share my views. I also didn’t feel that the source of my discontent deserved any further credit. In looking at the content of my post, however, I do think that some interesting points for discussion on bigotry, parenting, and gender issues are present. Therefore, I will tell you that if you are interested in reading the other side to the “boys in dance” story you are welcome to visit my online portfolio. I won’t link to it here, but there is a link to my portfolio available on this website. I’m not trying to be difficult, but I’d prefer only those truly interested to have a look.
Nichelle Suzanne is a writer specializing in dance and online content. She is also a dance instructor with over 20 years experience teaching in dance studios, community programs, and colleges. She began Dance Advantage in 2008, equipped with a passion for movement education and an intuitive sense that a blog could bring dancers together. As a Houston-based dance writer, Nichelle covers dance performance for Dance Source Houston, Arts+Culture Texas, and other publications. She is a leader in social media within the dance community and has presented on blogging for dance organizations, including Dance/USA. Nichelle provides web consulting and writing services for dancers, dance schools and studios, and those beyond the dance world. Read Nichelle’s posts.