One of these things is not like the other ones …

If you are old enough, you might remember the song and game from the children’s show Sesame Street.

The game, of course, is to pick out the thing from the group that “doesn’t belong.”

In you’re a male or adult ballet dancer, there are times when you’ve probably felt that way.

As a teenager, I was the only boy in ballet and jazz classes, and for ballet and modern classes in college.

And for about three years into my adult ballet journey, I was the only man in ballet classes with women around my own age.

In those cases, it really ended up not being a big deal. And a confession, I found being the only boy in class actually kind of fun for the most part.

In the last four years or so, I’ve found myself in mixed classes with teenagers and other guys. No problem there, my perspective about classes and what I enjoy about classes has changed with it.

The notion of being one of the few adults in a class full of teenagers has been no big deal.

This year, though, has brought a different challenge thanks to a university schedule that I’ve had to dance around.

In every one of my classes the last few years, there’s either been another adult or two in class, or another guy, or two.

Except for the Monday night class I’m now taking. I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m an adult male dancer in a class with 10 to 15 teenage girls. It hasn’t been that awkward in the sense that I’ve been in classes before, or performances with all of them.

But this is the only class I have that is in the school show (recital). The rest of my classes, the one with the adults and other guys, aren’t in the show.

Performing in regular ballets has never been a big deal. There are other adults in Cinderella, just as there have been in the other story ballets I’ve been in.

I am looking forward to our recital dance at the end of May, don’t get me wrong. It will be the most challenging ballet dance that I’ve ever been in. I am for that reason probably more excited about being in this dance than being in Cinderella (and I’m really excited about being in Cinderella).

But there is one memory that I will not forget. A couple of years ago, I took a hip-hop class, and was in the dance during the school show.

A friend of mine, a younger fellow male dancer, taught the class. And up until the last few weeks leading up to the show, it appeared he would be in the dance with us, but then he changed his mind.

It wasn’t that huge of a deal at the time. There was another adult in the class, his 19-year-old girlfriend who looked a little bit older than 19.

I remembered the strange looks I got when we were going over the choreography in the hallway.

I must be crazy for doing this, I thought.

I didn’t think about it on stage. The dance was a lot of fun.

But I can’t help but remember that incident as we prepare for our dance in a few months. What will people think when the see a man my age take the stage with the girls?

I’ll be honest, this dance means a lot to me.

It’s my chance to prove to myself … and maybe to others I can really dance.

But I can’t help think there will be people in the audience thinking …

“One of these things just doesn’t belong.”


8 responses to “One of these things is not like the other ones …

  • The Dancing Rider

    Those darn thoughts! I used to have them all the time in skating, and I must admit I do get them in riding, too. But I know you will just focus on the fun. Ultimately, it matters not a bit what anyone else thinks (audience-wise). Of course we want input and critique from our instructors! πŸ™‚

  • RO

    I don’t think you should worry about this, even though that moight be impossible to do. I get it, I get it. But think about how people might react in a positive manner! What a brave man for doing that, what a good dancer he is, what an awesome performance, lovely chreo, beautiful music.. and so on! I think you are your own worst enemy here.
    We are getting a male in our Friday class for the first time since 2 years and we really can’t wait!

  • Bush Ballerina

    I understand what you are feeling, but here is what I think about these things: Other people who might think things about you, won’t be thinking back about this moment, at the end of their life. But you will. You will be looking back and remembering your amazing experience and that you lived your dream. You will be happy about this at the end of your life. But those other people won’t care either way.

    Your life, your dance — love it!

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