Why don’t boys do ballet

I want to get straight to the point with this article and explore why I think so many parents are so strongly opposed to their children taking ballet and where the American prejudice against male dancers comes from. I am not trying to offend anyone with this article, but at the same time I have received so much criticism and have come across so much ignorance as a dancer that what I have to say may irritate some. Hope this is taken with an open mind as it is a real problem and I am trying to explain what are the real and basic reasons for it.

For as long as I can remember, I have heard my friends laugh or prank any man in tights dancing on stage. In the days long before YouTube and cable TV, movies could be shown at school as part of a history or civilization class and inevitably touched on the arts and then at some point they would show ballet. As soon as the dancer appeared, the jokes and giggles came. Since I had done ballet myself since I was 4 years old, this always struck a chord with me, but most of the time no one else knew that I had taken ballet, so I would sit quietly and listen to the sarcastic comments. I have to say that while this is not at all the same as being made fun of or made fun of by someone because of his race, I do think I know some of that same feeling because I always loved ballet and would never do more than listen to it. people look down on something that I knew was so good and was a really hurt part of me in a way that leaves you feeling totally powerless to deal with it.

Much later in life, I finally got the perspective of looking back at my childhood and also hearing the comments that were made again and understanding where this prejudice is coming from. What follows is my analysis of prejudice against male ballet dancers.

1) Smooth or graceful movement that is confused with moving “like a girl”.

Many, many men never fully appreciate the value of being able to have a wide range of motion for the body and the ability to move separate parts of the body at the same time and smoothly for balance. Virtually every sport anyone has watched on television since the 1950s features athletes highly conditioned to move in a straight line as fast or powerfully as possible. Male ballet dancers MUST move in a different way because a dancer’s goal is to maintain balance rather than to impart a large amount of energy onto a ball or someone else’s body to bring them down. Many confuse this with ballet that makes men move like girls. Apart from this, ballet actually makes men move a lot like someone who practices Tai Chi or Kung Fu or especially Yoga. Add to this the idea that ballet is a pure creative exercise with music, not something meant to hurt or knock someone else unconscious, and you get to the bottom of one of ballet’s great misconceptions regarding men. Interestingly, this is also why many men find ballet extremely challenging and grudgingly earn respect later in life if they ever take a class their daughter might be in during an open house type event.

2) Children do not wear leggings

Let’s examine this one. When I realized that I might offend some people with this article, this part is exactly what I was referring to. I don’t know how else to approach this, so here it goes: all male athletes wear tights or much less. Swimmers? You wear lycra speedos. Fighters? Seriously, what is that spandex bodytard they wear? Soccer? Cut out lycra-spandex tights with a little extra padding and a cup. Don’t confuse the shoulder pads and jersey top with the fact that you guys are also wearing a cut out version of leggings. And, if the boys are doing “girly” things when they dance, what is it called being right behind the rear of a center and putting their hands almost to their crotch before a snap of the ball?

3) My son will be gay if he takes ballet.

Now I’m a flamboyant straight if you ask my wife. I know a lot of gay guys, but a lot of the gay guys I know are addicted to sports and never did ballet. And despite their body build from working all the time, they would be just as lucky doing ballet as Arnold Schwarzenegger. This one really puzzles me to be honest and comes up a lot as a reason why dads don’t allow their kids to take ballet. Are there gay dancers? Safe. Are there gay men in all professions, including sports? Yes, there are, and again, as the soccer and wrestling examples given above show, if I were a gay man I would do those sports because then I would be in direct physical contact with other athletic types rather than ballet, where 99, 99% of the time you are dancing with GIRLS! More specifically, you are dating girls, which means keeping them in all kinds of very difficult positions and having them sweat all over you, something that no gay man wants because most gay men don’t want close contact with women. Honestly, I must say that this prejudice is without foundation, just as there is also no foundation for any racial prejudice and the answer to any prejudice is education, not arguing the prejudice itself because it is based on ignorance or outright stupidity. To be brutally honest, parents who dominate their children too much run a far greater risk of making their children gay than any art form, including ballet, could represent.

Now many children, boys and girls, do not like ballet and do not take ballet classes and that is fine, no activity, sport or art is for everyone. I just hope to provoke the verification of the premises for anyone who has this ignorant bias against children who take ballet because for those who do, ballet can be a lifelong benefit that will improve mental and physical health, stimulate academia. performance, almost guarantees a college scholarship for any dancer of average ability, and fosters creativity and imagination for a lifetime. This is not something to oppose.

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