Like so many, my aim is to get more boys into the studio and onto the dance floor. Far too often I hear about boys being teased and tormented for finding enjoyment in dance, as the stigma attached to males and dance still presents itself.
Whilst writing this blog; I came across an article from 2016 where Royal Ballet dancer, Eric Underwood commented ‘being a boy can be an asset in a female dominated field’. What a great statement and one that made me think that we need to turn this stereotype that girls only dance, on its head. Boys need to be reminded that dance is a physical and an athletic activity that takes strength, hard work, patience and skill. We need to accommodate for both females and males in the studio and treat everyone equally, valuing the individual. When it comes to promoting a class, it needs to be made clear that boys are welcome too.
I met up with Actor, Andrew Fraser who has been attending my open classes for a few weeks now and I’m so thrilled to see boys in the studio! Over a hot chocolate we discussed the impact that dance has had on him and the importance of encouraging more males to dance.
He began by telling me that he was first introduced to dance when he started LIPA’s 4:19 programme. They touched upon Contemporary but as Contemporary falls under such a big umbrella, Andy had never really performed anything like my choreography before. He wanted to test himself, setting new challenges to attend dance classes and even learn how to horse ride!
Andy stumbled across my stall at LIPA’s Freshers Fair, advertising what I do and MCO Contemporary classes and took a voucher to come and try a class for half price! Everyone loves an offer! He’s been attending my Wednesday open class ever since. He then mentioned how he felt like he’d improved week by week, slowly taking baby steps but noticing an improvement. He found that he’d been more expressive during his acting classes and said how important it was to psychically and emotionally work out.
‘I have felt very comfortable during the classes and felt equal to the other females in the studio, even though I can’t get my leg as high as them! I feel I have improved and been supported in practicing technique and performance and I think more guys should try dance and see what happens – you might even enjoy it.’
I also asked dancer, Aiden Pulford if he would spare a few minutes after a long day in rehearsals to comment and reflect upon this topic. His response fascinated me.
‘Dance has always been something I’ve strived to do. Being male and taking dance as a hobby isn’t always easy and I’m sure other male dancers have all experienced some form of bullying. It’s important to me to prove to people from my past, that dance can be a masculine form. It’s important that we are trying to extinguish the words of many young boys that “Dance is only for girls”. I started dancing when I was 4 but my love of moving and music started when I was in my push chair and my mum thought it was a good idea to take me to a dance class and I LOVED IT!
Megan’s classes are so comfortable to be in, the environment is so relaxed and she has a warm friendly personality. Everyone is equal in the class as she wants the best for everyone taking part and will help anyone if they need it. To any males who want to start dancing or to male dancers who have experience and want a class to go to MCO Contemporary covers everything from beginners to the advanced.’
I hope this blog reaches out to at least one male and encourages them to pluck up the courage and take a class. BOYS DANCE TOO.