How to Get Men Involved In Dance
For all of the sheer strength, control, and athleticism involved in dance, why is it so difficult to persuade men to join dance? According to Angel Corella, artistic director for the Pennsylvania Ballet, there is the pressure for these young men to hold some semblance of masculinity. “Bottom line, you have to be an athlete… Such athletic actions require balance, strength and poise because the ultimate goal is to make it look effortless and graceful — like it’s nothing.”
The film Billy Elliot blew the lid off of the preconceived notions of boys joining dance. Originally signed up for boxing lessons by his father, Billy begins to sit in on and mimic the ballet classes he sees until he has eventually become a performing male dancer. This is not such a farfetched story from Corella’s own childhood: “…When you love something so much — you’re willing to fight for it. I was willing to fight for my love of dancing and that was something my father came to understand.
Dance is a world where pieces depend upon male participation just as much as female. There are specific roles in ballets and pieces that are made specifically for men. “Every performance must have balance — just as in life,” says Corella. Perseverance and the reward that comes from hard work— just as in all other sports and athletic undertakings— prove just as noteworthy in the world of dance for men.