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Why Boys Don’t Do Ballet
I want to cut to the chase with this article and explore why I think so many fathers are so totally opposed to their sons doing ballet and where the American bias against male dancers comes from. I’m not trying to offend anyone with this article, but at the same time I’ve been so criticized and encountered so much ignorance as a dancer myself that what I have to say may irritate some. I hope this will be taken with an open mind as this is a real problem and I seek to explain what the real reasons behind it are, at ground level.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve heard my friends giggling or joking at any tights-wearing man dancing on stage. In the days before YouTube and cable TV, movies could be shown in school as part of a history or civilization lesson and inevitably touched on the arts and then at some point showed ballet . As soon as the male dancer appeared, here came the jokes and giggles. As I had been doing ballet myself since I was 4, it always affected me, but most of the time no one else knew I was doing ballet, so I just sat quietly and listened to the sarcastic remarks. I have to say that while it’s not at all the same as someone being made fun of or made fun of because of their race, I think I know something of that same feeling because I have always loved ballet and I would never do that to hear people talk down something that I knew was so great and that was a part of me that was really hurt in a way that leaves you totally helpless to deal with it.
Much later in life, I finally gained the perspective of looking back to my childhood and hearing the comments again and understanding where that bias came from. What follows is my analysis of prejudice against male ballet dancers.
1) Fluid or graceful movement mistaken for 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 it smoothly and simultaneously in order to maintain balance. Virtually every sport that everyone has watched on TV since the 1950s shows athletes very heavily 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 sending a large amount of energy into a ball or into another person’s body to knock them down . Many confuse this with ballet, which makes men move like girls. Regardless of that, ballet gets men moving much like someone doing Tai Chi or Kung Fu or especially Yoga. Add to that the idea that ballet is pure creative exercise set to music, not something intended to hurt or knock another person unconscious, and you get to the root of one of ballet’s big misconceptions about men. . Oddly enough, this is also why many men find ballet extremely difficult to do and gain grudging respect later in life if they take a class their daughter might be in on a day-like event. open doors.
2) Boys don’t wear tights
Let’s examine this one. When I warned that I might offend some people with this article, that part is exactly what I was referring to. I don’t know how else to approach this, so here goes: every male athlete wears tights or much less. Swimmers? You wear lycra speedos. The wrestlers? Seriously, what’s that spandex bodysuit you’re wearing? Soccer? Lycra-spandex cut tights with extra padding and a cup. Don’t confuse the shoulder pads and top of the jersey with the fact that you’re also wearing a choppy version of the tights. And, if the boys do “girly” things when they dance, what do you call standing right behind the back of a center and putting your hands almost in his crotch before a ball snap?
3) My son will be gay if he does ballet
Now I’m a flamboyant heterosexual if you ask my wife. I know a lot of homosexuals, but many of them are sports junkies and have never done ballet. And as muscular as they are from pumping iron all the time, they would have as much chance of doing ballet as Arnold Schwarzenegger. To be honest, this one really baffles me and it comes up a lot as the reason why dads won’t let their sons do ballet. Are there gay dancers? Sure. Are there homosexuals in all professions, including sport? Yes there are, and again, as the soccer and wrestling examples above show, if I were a gay man I would do those sports because then I would be in direct physical contact with other sports rather than ballet where 99.99% of the time you dance with GIRLS! Specifically you pair girls up which involves holding them in all sorts of really awkward positions and sweating all over which no gay man wants because most gay men don’t want close contact with the women. Honestly I have to say there is simply no basis to this bias just like there is no basis to any racial bias and the answer to any bias is education that does not challenge the bias itself -even because it is based on ignorance or outright stupidity. To be brutally honest, fathers who dominate their sons too much run a far greater risk of making their boys gay than any art form, including ballet, could ever pose.
Now many children – boys and girls – don’t like ballet and don’t take ballet lessons and that’s fine, no activity, sport or art is for everyone. I only hope to trigger the premises check for anyone who holds on to this ignorant prejudice against boys doing ballet, because for those who want it, ballet can be a lifelong benefit that will improve mental health and physics, will boost study performance, almost guarantee a college scholarship for any halfway capable male dancer, and foster creativity and imagination for a lifetime. It’s hardly something you can object to.
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