Generally speaking, ballet dancers are a lot stronger and more flexible than other athletes. Their flexibility and strength encourages good posture and teaches them to be more aware of their body which in turn helps to prevent injury. Fast ballet footwork and endurance also helps to improve physical performance in all other sports. Each of these benefits can cross-over into other aspects of life and so every boy could really benefit from everything that ballet has to offer. The physical demands of classical ballet are particularly beneficial for boys of any age who are very active as it allows them to focus their energy on learning and performing and is a great way to use excess energy productively.
In the last decade dance has become the second most popular form of physical activity for all youngsters behind football. This is great news because previously ballet was considered more as a hobby for girls and was therefore typically seen as feminine. This is far from the truth because of course male dancers have always been an important part of any professional ballet company. The 2000 hit film Billy Elliot has had a massive positive effect on boys and inspired them to study classical ballet. It brought ballet into the mainstream and since then there has been considerable progress in challenging the stereotype that ‘boys do not dance’. Thanks to stars such as Carlos Acosta, Sergei Polunin along with the male stars dancing on Strictly Come Dancing and Britain’s Got Talent this exposure has given dance even greater recognition demonstrating to boys that ‘it can be cool to dance’.
At Regency Ballet School for Boys every boy is surrounded by other like-minded individuals who have the same interest in dancing. We want boys to enjoy dancing and have the confidence to try because studying ballet is great for them whatever their age. It’s important that boys start dancing as men right from the start and having a male dance teacher can also help to inspire them as a role model. We feel it can be really beneficial for boys to be taught in a male environment where they can learn and compete together knowing that they’re not ‘the only boy in a class’.
Studying ballet helps to develops an understand of movement as a means of artistic communication alongside the knowledge and skills required to perform. Ballet offers a superb all round education in culture, sport, social awareness and mental and physical discipline, while enhancing an expression of the self. Ballet may look very graceful and easy on stage, but the amount and skill required to perform is huge. To be a successful dancer certainly takes energy, commitment, focus and above all, a passion, and a drive to succeed. We’re hoping to see a new generation of boys getting into ballet, but even if a boy isn’t destined for a career in dance, studying ballet is not only great fun but an enjoyable, challenging activity that teaches many useful life skills.
The future for boys dance looks bright
In our culture today it somehow seems less important for men to dance, preferring instead to celebrate ‘Dad Dancing’ as opposed to encouraging them to train seriously. We want to celebrating quality dancing and regardless of one’s age everyone has the ability to dance to some degree.
The biggest obstacle for any man wanting to dance, is to walk through the studio door for the very first time. It is possible though; I managed to do it many years ago, and it was the best decision I ever made. So why not come along and have a try. Classes are available for men, just contact me
Countless men have been influential in the development of classical ballet over the last 400 years including dancers, technicians, composers and choreographers A few influential men in the world of ballet include:
Akram Khan, Dancer and Choreographer (Giselle)
Sir Anthony Dowell, Dancer
Arthur Mitchell, Dancer
August Bournonville, Choreographer
Carlos Acosta, Dancer and Choreographer (Don Quixote)
Christopher Wheeldon, Dancer and Choreographer
Edouard Espinosa, Dancer and founder of The British Ballet Organization BBOdance
Sir Frederick Ashton, Dancer and Choreographer
Frederico Bonelli, Dancer
George Balanchine, Dancer Choreographer and founder of New York City Ballet
Igor Stravinsky, Composer for George Balanchine
John Cranko, Dancer, Choreographer, and founder of the John Cranko Schule
Kenneth McMillan, Dancer and Choreographer
King Louis XIV, Dancer and founder of The Paris Opera
Marius Petipa, Choreographer (The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty etc)
Mark Morris, Dancer and Choreographer
Sir Matthew Bourne, Choreographer (Swan Lake)
Merce Cunningham, Dancer and Choreographer
Mikhail Baryshnikov, Dancer
Peter Tchaikovsky, Composer for Marius Petipa
Richard Alston, Choreographer
Rudolf Nureyev, Dancer
Sergei Diaghilev, Founder of Ballet Russes
Sergei Polunin, Dancer and Actor
Sergei Prokofiev, Composer for Sergei Diaghilev
Steve Macae, Dancer
Vadim Muntagirov, Dancer
Vaslav Nijinsky, Dancer and Choreographer
Wayne McGregor, Choreographer
Wayne Sleep, Dancer
William Forsythe, Dancer and Choreographer
Xander Parish, Dancer
Ballet Boyz, All male ballet company
Ballet Trockodera, All male ballet company
Countless men have been influential in the development of classical ballet,
including dancers, technicians, composers and choreographers
Locally trained in classical Ballet, Stephen McCullough has been teaching classical ballet for several years, both syllabus and non-syllabus classes. Stephen completed his teacher training with BBOdance (British Ballet organization) in London, gaining his Diploma in Dance Teaching. As a response from parents looking for local dance opportunities for their boys Regency Ballet School for Boys has opened in order to provide an environment where boys don’t feel like the odd ones out.