In the news recently there has been a lot of discussion around the topic of boys and dance. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, just google “Good Morning America ballet” and it should pop up.
Here’s the gist – a news anchor on Good Morning America laughed because a boy (umm..not just any boy but rather Prince George) would be continuing ballet lessons at the age of 6. She laughed and made it seem okay for her audience to also laugh at the fact that a BOY would be dancing/doing ballet. The online community has been reacting in amazing ways towards this and advocating FOR boys in dance.
I want to talk about this for a few reasons….
Most of you probably don’t know but I am a dancer. I grew up dancing, I tap danced all over the country, studied dance in college, and continue to teach dance even with two kids. When I was dreaming of having kids many many years ago, I knew that no matter if I had sons or daughters, that they would try dance.
I danced all through my pregnancies and I’m convinced my boys are more connected with dance and music because of this. The above photo I was teaching tap at 39 weeks pregnant. And I went back to teaching just 2 weeks after both my deliveries.
What I want to talk about here is the reasons WHY my boys will try dance and continue dance if that is what they wish. It is so much more than just me wanting them to do it.
5 Reasons Why My Boys Will Take Dance Class
Before we jump in, I want to talk about what dance is like for toddlers. The classes that my boys can take at their ages are tap/ballet combo classes where they do 30 minutes of tap and 30 minutes of ballet. It is typically NOT a strict routine ballet class but rather learning the basics, exploring space and movement, understanding a bit more of the genre etc. Most of the time they “freestyle” at the end and it’s a total blast! All studios teach this age differently but coming from someone who has taught this class for many, many years, I love the way we approach classes for this age group.
1. I want my boys to have an appreciation for the art of dance
My husband and I are both creatives. He is an incredible artist and is musical. I grew up dancing, have a love for the arts and music, and basically we both are thinking creatively all the time.
Dance is one of those art forms that not everyone can do. Some people “have two left feet” or don’t even give it a try. Additionally, dance comes in SO MANY forms. Tap, jazz, ballet, modern, hip hop, pointe, contemporary, african, etc.
From a very young age my boys loved to dance. They watched dance competitions, watched me teach classes, danced around the rooms all on their own. Seeing that they were interested in the art form was a clear sign that they should give a class a try.
My oldest in particular, he loves to dance. He will be taking dance class this year and is so excited for it. His favorite is ballet (thanks to the movie Leap!) and I’m sure he’ll fall in love with tap as well… just like his mama.
There is not a single part of me that thinks dance is not for boys. I just wish more mama’s would encourage their boys to try it!
Ps: Do these names ring a bell? Fred Astaire, Bill Bojangles Robinson, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Gene Kelly? All famous male dancers.
2. Dance requires so much physical strength – it’s not “dainty” or “girly” at all…
Those who dance will agree with me on this one…. HOLY COW does dance require some muscle. Muscles that come from who knows where. I remember when I was dancing 4-6 hours a day I was coming home sore in places that I never would have “worked out” in other sports or at the gym. Not only that, you are working your mental strength memorizing dozens of dances/moves/steps/combinations at a time… I have no idea how I even did it back in the day.
Don’t believe me, check out this guy:
3. Builds deep relationships with others.
The relationships you can build in the dance room are unlike any other. It’s different than sports like softball or soccer (I played softball growing up as well) because the idea behind dance is connecting with the other dancers. Its about creating a piece of art TOGETHER. It’s not about winning. It’s not about who does the best on your team. It’s about working together to bring out the best in one another. Why would I NOT want my boys to be introduced to that?
4. Dance (in any form) teaches discipline and builds integrity.
If dance taught me anything growing up, it taught me how to be disciplined (especially if I wanted to get better) in a way that no other sport or activity ever could. The thing with dance is that as much as it is a “team sport” there is also a very personal and emotional aspect to it.
Dancers who fall in love with dance treat it as a passion even from a young age. They are dancing before school, after school, in the studio, at home. It’s not something they do when they are at class at that’s it. It is being fueled from the inside and once you have that fire, it’s impossible to put out.
But dance is much more than just moving to the music. The moves we do are looked at from the tip of your toe to the end of your finger. It’s about how you breathe and how you turn your head. You have to learn from a young age that in order to be better, you must work hard. You learn how to listen when being spoken to and taking what your instructor tells you and applying it.
You learn to accept critique and allow it to build you up vs knock you down. You become a stronger person every day both physically and mentally. And even through all this, dance is fun, beautiful, and gives you so much joy when you get to perform your piece.
I saw this video by Travis Wall, an INCREDIBLE dancer, and felt it was worth sharing.
View this post on Instagram
DEAR @lara.spencer of GOOD MORNING AMERICA. I have a message for you. Wake up. It’s 2019. Get with the program. Please share and repost this so a boy who needs to see this feels supported if he dances or wants to! #boysdancetoo #ballet #goodmorningamerica #traviswall #laraspencer #bully
5. It’s a fun, exciting, and creative environment!
One of the best parts about dance is that it is ALWAYS changing. Every year is different. Every teacher is different. Every dance is different and as your body changes, the way you move and explore space is different.
Dance in general is an inviting and exciting thing to be a part of. There are dozens of styles to choose from and anyone can do it. Some choose to dance for fun and others dream to do it professionally. But regardless your goals for dance, anyone and EVERYONE is invited to try it.
If you feel the desire to try dance, do it. No matter your gender, abilities, age, size… TRY IT. Every can dance. And yes, boys dance too!
I would love to hear from other dancers or parents on your take on the conversation that has been going on. Did you dance? Do your sons dance? Did your brothers dance?
Help us change the conversation and encourage EVERYONE who wants to try dance to do it.
SHARE THIS TO SPREAD THE MESSAGE THAT BOYS CAN DANCE TOO.
WELCOME TO REALISTIC PLANT-BASED MAMA!