Hello everyone and welcome to the second entry of the GDANCE blog! Hope everyone is off to a good start for the term.
Today I wanted to write a little bit about boys in dance as we launch our first GDANCE ALL BOYS class (on Tuesday afternoon at 3.30 pm if you're interested or know someone who is).
Quite often there's lots of little boys dancing around here at GDANCE. But they're not in the studios! No, they are skipping and singing their way to and from the car park, they are mimicking their sisters dance moves in the corridors or they are peering through the studio viewing pane on a Saturday morning watching their sisters dance (and likely not quite understanding why they're not!)
I'm saddened when I hear our girls' little brothers get told this: "Yes I know you love to dance but Daddy wouldn't allow it!" Or some similar version of that statement.
It begs the (huge) question, WHY?
In our society I think dance is still seen as something that's not "masculine". Which means it must be feminine right? Are we still living in a society where dance is seen as "feminine"? If so, why would it be a negative thing for boys to partake in an activity that is viewed that way? Femininity and all its variants is a wonderful thing! It is not weak, nor pretty, nor less than, masculine. THIS is at the core of the issue and it goes DEEP. This IS a feminist issue and its one we face daily. See this amazing VIDEO on the topic. When did it become an insult do do something "like a girl?"
You would think that with all the dance shows on TV these days, dance is becoming a lot more acceptable for boys to do. And it sure is helping make progress for boys! But there is a long way to go before we see gender equality in dance.
There is still a strong undercurrent in our society that dance is for girls and football is for boys. Or that dance is for boys who are gay. Or more disturbingly, dance will make boys gay. There is a general feeling that hip hop is ok for boys to do, but not ballet. (Huh?) It is often the case that Mum has to "check with Dad" before allowing their son to dance (and not because of financial reasons). Unfortunately Dad's answer is usually a resounding "No".
These are the repercussions of a patriarchal society. One where men and boys are taught from an early age that they need to appear "strong, tough, heroic and gutsy" to be considered a bloke.
Let me tell you, there's nothing more gutsy than a boy stepping into his favourite dance class, week in, week out despite being subjected to the bullying and teasing that is happening somewhere else in his life because of it. There is nothing more heroic than a father and mother breaking the mould and going against popular culture and allowing their son the joy of dance even though there will be raised eyebrows by even those closest to them. There is nothing tougher than a Dad who is a feminist (whether he knows it or not) because he advocates for the equal rights of girls and boys in his decisions for his sons. He isn't bothered by anyone who has an opinion on the fact that he has a BOY that dances, he merely loves and supports his kid that loves to dance.
So today's blogpost is to celebrate the fathers, men, mothers and girls in our GDANCE community who support our boys in their dance pursuits. Those who step out of their comfort zone to really challenge society's ingrained and outdated sexist agenda. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being leaders for men everywhere, and showing us all what it means to allow your sons to truly, "follow their dreams", paving the way for boys in generations to come.
Miss Jo xx