Friday, November 30, 2007

But I'm Only Dancing

In my Ballet class we have four guys; three of them are even straight. The amount of males in our group is considered highly abundant, given that some ballet groups have had to borrow male dancers from us to put on performances. And the scarce supply of male dancers could have something to do with the prejudices regarding the discipline. The proportion between male and female dancers is always very uneven, and I believe there are plenty of reasons why guys would dislike this activity: Stretching always seems tedious to them, having to point their toes all the time could be a challenge, and certain positions might not be as adequate for their anatomy.

But the rest is fun; Guys tend to be really good jumpers and this is where all the excitement is: in the air! Also, because their legs are stronger, they do all the hard jumps and get to spend more time out of the ground than us girls. We, instead, have to deal with standing on pointe or getting dizzy with various pirouettes. But the only thing I wanted to say here is that guys CAN become dancers. Even guys who start out from scratch can get good as long as they have the will to put up with our training, and as long as they attain to the dress code. But here might lay the problem…

One of the main reasons why guys get scared away from taking Ballet is that they are required to wear tights in every class. No, no sweatpants or shorts; one is required to wear tights so that the teacher can see one’s legs. This is not a problem for girls usually, unless one of us is having an “I –hate-my-body” day. But men seem to resist it highly. Chris for example used to take karate and is trying Ballet now, the first time he came to class our teacher asked him to get himself a pair of tights.
“Can’t I just wear long shorts?”
“No. I can’t see your legs with shorts.”
“Can I wear short shorts?”
“No. But you can start out wearing tights with shorts over them, if this makes you feel more comfortable.”

Three months later Chris was not only wearing tights, but he was also buying leg warmers in different colors to match his shirts. Still resistant to the abuse though, one evening after my teacher had yelled at him for not stretching properly, he mentioned to me that: “First she makes me wear tights, and now I have to do the splits?!”

Some are less resistant to the tights than Chris though. Demarcus started out looking like a basketball player in sweatpants, and now he stands like a dancer and seems to really like how is body is starting to look. This morning in class he told my teacher:
“I have a new ballet outfit with new leg warmers!”
“Good Demarcus, you will probably look great.”
“I’m gonna look sexy!”

Yes, not all of the guys are bothered by the classical dancer dress code. Jonathan for example has this thing for wearing bandannas, which to me make him look like an extra in the movie “Flash dance” but to him look very cool, and Brian tends to wear bright green leg warmers that go up to his knees, over purple tights.

No, I’m not going to finish this entry by making you guess which one of them is gay. I will only say that in the end it is all about the dancing.
In the Ballet world not everything is what it seems.

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