Tag Archives: boys in ballet

Here’s to the dance moms who support their sons

It couldn’t have been easy for her watching her son dance in a purple unitard that matched the girls he was dancing with on stage.

That was probably the worst costume ever for a teenage boy performing with his jazz class back in the 1980s, especially in the South, where boys play football.

They don’t dance.

But to be honest, I was in pure bliss dancing the choreography to the song “Shout” by Tears for Fears.

I don’t know if I truly believed my mother when she told me she liked the dance.

She was at best a reluctant dance mom. My sister dancing, that was no big deal.

But I think me asking to take dance classes, don’t think she was really all that thrilled.

I played baseball, and sucked at it. I also played high school football.

But the notion of her son asking to take ballet and jazz, well I know it through her.

My father wasn’t thrilled, that’s for sure.

But to her credit, she let me do it.

I know she was worried about what other people thought.

No one question’s a boy’s masculinity or sexual orientation when you play football.

But back then, taking ballet or any other form of dance. That’s another story.

My mom’s a great mom, don’t get me wrong.

When I returned to ballet as an adult, she seemed excited when I invited her to whatever performance I was in, whether it was the Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet or Billy the Kid.

 

I do wonder, though, what it would have been like to have had a mother who fully supported me earlier. But I’m not complaining.

I’ve know other guys whose mothers flat out did not let them dance.

That’s why I truly admire the moms of the few boys at the schools where I’ve taken class.

While I think its more culturally acceptable nowadays, the stigma still exists and is a reason parents don’t encourage their boys to dance.

It takes a truly courageous mother as well as son to embark on a dance journey.

I’ve heard some say they’ve had to put up with snide comments. Others fear, and legitimately so, that their sons will be bullied.

But still, I’ve observed mothers and parents in general, who have given their support through hours of classes, rehearsals and performances, with words, money and even put in hours helping with costumes, props and other things backstage throughout their career.

I am thankful with Mother’s Day tomorrow for the moms who have encouraged their sons when their sons have wanted to dance.

They play a vital role in the dance world.

Advertisements

That awkward moment when you are called out in dress rehearsal …

for not wearing makeup.

I admit it, when I first performed in Nutcracker in 2007, I was like, “seriously? I have to wear that?”

I’ve somewhat gotten used to it as an adult male recreational dancer who happens to perform. Can’t say that I’m entirely comfortable with base, blush, lipstick, eye liner … Not that anybody can really tell on stage.

But still, I guess it’s the not wanting to let loose with the man card in me who tries to get away without makeup when I can get away with it.

Can’t do it when you’re a party dad in Nutcracker. Or playing the somewhat effeminate hairdresser in Cinderella. But I was able to accomplish the feat when I was a cowboy in Billy the Kid … and when I’ve played a priest in Dracula and Firebird in performances past.

Not this time … even though I’m only on stage for three minutes during Firebird … even though I’m wearing a priest hood with the robe.

The artistic director points out I look too pale. Tells me I have to wear it tomorrow night.

Darn it.

Which leads me to an “only in ballet” moment.

All the guys share a dressing room … which happens also to be the storage closet.

Preteen boy dancer to teen dancer: “Which do I put on first, the eye liner or the mascara?”

That conversation, if heard outside the dressing room, would probably give a father a heart attack if he has a son who wants to take ballet.

I’ve reached the point where I find that really funny … rather than well .. disturbing.

Which brings me to another “only in ballet” moment: Going through a drive thru between performances while wearing makeup.

“Why yes, drive thru lady, I am wearing makeup … don’t judge me!”

Seriously, ballet is really fun … and if you’re a guy and you want to take class … makeup is not required for class.

But if you end up in a performance, beware … you may be told to pick up some Max Factor, tan 2.

Did I mention, sometimes you really need a sense of humor if you’re a guy, and you happen to take ballet?

#maledancerproblems


The TV show that inspired me to dance

I was the same age as the boy in this ABC Afternoon Special called “A Special Gift” when it aired a long time ago. The acting is cheesy. I couldn’t believe someone found it and put it on YouTube. As bad as the acting was, it did accurately portray the issues I faced when I started ballet at 16. I don’t know why it struck a chord with me that long ago.


‘What I won’t tell you about my ballet dancing son’

What I won’t tell you about my ballet dancing son

Found this online today. Very thought provoking.