So I like the ballet, big deal. Guys tend to think I’m a wuss for it. Girls tend to think I’m awesome. I don’t really care who thinks what, I think incredible ballet is… well… incredible.
I recently went and watched Swan Lake, one of my favorite ballets. If you haven’t seen it done by a professional company you need to. The story is beautiful, and the dancing is awe inspiring.
Of course, the quality of the ballet to me depends more than anything on the strength and grace of the prima ballerina and the premier danser noble (the lead ballerina and lead “dude ballerina”). To watch true professionals do their thing leaves me hoisting my jaw off the ground over what they do. I mean, a lot of what they do seems like it should be impossible. They perform physical tasks that make me wince as I watch. They do freaky things like walk on the tips of their toes (en pointe). Their leaps, turns, and insane pirouettes boggle the mind.
But I think more than anything I love to just watch their bodies while they dance. Yeah I know, that doesn’t sound overly classy, but seriously, these guys are as athletic as they come. As they dance (and due to the extreme form-fitting nature of their costumes) you can just see the beauty in their muscles. As they’re dancing, their muscles are flexing and pumping and just… plain… sexy.
I remember the first time I went to the ballet. My parents bought tickets for the older kids in our family and we all went out to The Nutcracker. I was not happy to be wasting an entire Saturday night watching lame-o’s dance around for two and a half hours. I’ll admit that I went with a chip on my shoulder, determined not to like it.
I also remember how quickly I was drawn into it. I remember how, despite my best weenie-teenager attempts to hate it, I couldn’t deny to myself that it was an incredible experience. I still remember that night’s specific dancers, some of their more incredible moves, and how beautiful it was. Ever since that evening, I’ve jumped at the chance to go see the ballet.
If you haven’t been to the ballet, you should go. It’s a great excuse to get dressed up. It’s a great excuse to have a night out on the town. And guys… guess what. You too! Just try it. Be a man. There’s not a lot you can do that’s more manly than that.
My advice (that I got from my uncle), get there half an hour early and read the story in the program before the ballet starts. If you do that, the entire ballet will be 20 times more enjoyable because you’ll actually know what’s going on.
How about all of you? Do you love the ballet? Have you never been? If you do love it, what do you love most about it? Do you think it’s manly to love the ballet?
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing
Maturity helps you see past the stereotypes and help you appreciate the technique, strength and years of training that combine to pull off a spectacular ballet performance. For someone experienced in ballet, its certainly not easy and deserves respect.
I do love the ballet, but my first love is opera. Trust me - if you've never experienced a properly performed opera, you ought to.
"FOR THE ALMIGHTY MALE... THE BALLET DANSEUR"
by Dane Youssef
For me, there really is nothing more inspiring for me that when the men up there are as beautiful as nearly any ballerina.
There was a time when a man up there defying gravity and other physical possibilities was considered wrong, evil. A destruction of one's manhood.
As a male in ballet meself, it's always a challenge. Just like nearly all the others, I kept it as secret as government documents. What these people did was nothing short of incredible.
I've been taking it for about nine years now. I have danced onstage with our town's School of Dance and College. As a male who has taken ballet for nearing a whole decade (as I write this), I can honestly say... it is just a little bit harder.
Some things just never change. Like how at that tender age in the beginning, it's still just a "girl's only club" and if you're a boy there at that age, you're like an intruder. The odd man out.
Maybe all that will change someday, God willing. Hell, us willing. Boys, don't just cross your fingers. Take arms. Join together, unite and tear down those walls, that barrier that limit us all.
To the pioneers who showed what's possible with a boy in ballet--Mikhail Baryshnikov, Rudolph Nureyev, Edward Villella, Peter Martins, Patrick Bissell, Ethan Stiefel, Sascha Radetsky, Vladmir Malakov, Peter Schafuss, Nikolaj Hubbe, Alexander Godunov--and that's just the creme de la creme of the ranks.
My brothers, thank you for paving the way. And to those who are planning to follow in your footsteps... keep it all up. There is no reason to ever lose hope. Keep up the good faith.
All my love, tendus, pirouettes... and Merde. Endless Merde to you all. Those courageous and fearless martyrs who made being a male leaping around in pantyhose to classical music a respectable life pursuit, a noble career goal.
--Your humble brother in arms and tights, Dane Youssef
I got to play a ballet this weekend (as a violist in the pit) and it was amazing to see the artistry and athleticism on stage! I love the costumes and story and hearing the audience clap and laugh when something great happens on stage. It's probably my favorite type of gig as a classical musician!
I don't think masculinity or femininity has anything to do with liking ballet or dance in general, really. I'd say it has more to do with humanity. Dance and music and their combination allow us to express and take part in a emotional experience that escapes words. It allows us to empathize and connect in a way that words, well, frankly, just aren't usually able to. Theatre does the same thing in a different way. That's why art and art education and appreciation is so important.
I have two left feet, but both of my children, one girl and one boy, have trained in dance since they were toddlers! Ballet is the foundation for all great dance. It has been an honor and joy to share this love of dance and all things theatrical with them both over the years. From their involvment in middle school choirs and musicals, high school musicals and show choirs, pre-professional Broadway productions and dance companies, to local theatre and college productions - it has been and continues to be a passionate endeavor for us all.
Dan I hope you know you've mad a young dancer happy, I'm fourteen and have a scholarship to dance at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School and it's posts like this that keep us going and dancing, it's because people like you love the art and we feel special sharing it with you. Keep doin your thing and my advice: try a contemporary ballet! Youll love the movement and the music and the modern feel!
There's nothing manlier than a man with enough confidence to follow his heart and ignore community mores. And, as my son found in cheerleading, that's where the girls are!
On manhood and ballet: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0249462/ (awesome movie).\
I love ballet. And I have many reasons why. I wrote about it here:
I feel the same way about the opera. No one loves the opera it seems, and I just love it! Good for you coming out as a ballet lover! :)
I STILL get questions about sending my little boy (2) to ballet classes with his sister (4), also about sending them both to rugby classes. We're an equal opportunity household here and guess what....they both love them.
approxitmetly 85% of communication is through body language, so truley liking ballet is not a shock, too many people are taught not to listen to thier bodies as they get older.
Dan, you ROCK! (Or you BALLET! Or something...) I think this is awesome that you are as willing to do things that aren't the typical guy things and willing to tell us about it. Thanks!
@ Jen, my son is passionate about Soccer (sometings he's been doing since he was 2. After watching The Game Plan with him, (I think he was 9 at the time we watched it) he asked about men, ballet and sports. After I explained that a lot of men use ballet to stay limber, he's been wanting to get into Ballet to help with his soccer game. Unfortunately there is nothing around here for him :( So he's been trying some yoga.
There's nothing wrong with men appreciating beauty but perhaps calling it manly is a bit of a stretch. It's not necessary to give it that label in order to justify enjoying it. You're the voice of the brave, don't let us down now! (not that you are... I guess perhaps you really mean it... Manly may not equal blokey?)
Good post dan!
Being a single dad I think you are correct and I applaud you for liking the ballet. There is a lot of training and it is not an easy, you have to train hard and the movements are very difficult. If you ever seen the "The Game Plan" with The Rock you will see the scene where he does Ballet, also there is a Simpsons where bart does ballet. So there are many references to ballet being manly...
I comment you my friend..
Depending on production, ballet can be a mesmerizing experience or a drag. Our kids (3.5 year old girl and 1.5 year old boy) watch this production of the Nutcracker a few times per week, and they sit still for the whole 80+ minutes: http://www.amazon.com/Tchaikovsky-Nutcracker-Marinsky-Theatre-Blu-ray/dp/B001CZVVX2
You should check out Midwest Regional Ballet in Joplin, Missouri. They perform amazingly, innovative works of art. My son first performed with them in an original adaptation of NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS. They are now rehearsing for SWAN LAKE to be performed the first weekend in June in Pittsburg Kansas' Memorial Auditorium and the second weekend in June in Joplin on the MSSU campus. My son is the Parkour/Karate type, but he has been amazed at how demanding ballet is, especially working on the silks in NIGHTMARE.
My hubby and I went to see The Nutcracker one Christmas. He too was in awe of the men's strength, musculature, and flexibility. He would be our sons' biggest supporter if either showed an interest :-)
laugh at the 'girly' male ballet dancers until you see the size of their leg muscles. then cower and beg forgiveness.
Guys that think guys that go into ballet are wusses and aren't real men forget that while they're off hanging out with "The Guys", the ones practicing the ballet are lifting girls off their feet.
I love just about anything to do with the theatre arts. Ballet, Broadway, even listening to a good musical performance (orchestral). Rock on, Dan!
I love you for writing this post! I've been a dancer (of all kinds, including ballet) for most of my life and would love to meet a special someone who could enjoy the beauty of dance along side me. I encourage you to find (and watch of course) performances of other dance styles! Also, the tv show 'So You Think You Can Dance' has some absolutely amazing dancing on it. (It's like the American Idol of dance) Don't know when their next season starts though... :)
When I was little I was completely obsessed with ballet -- the easiest way to keep me quiet was to put on a ballet tape and I would sit there, enthralled for two hours. My parents would take me to see The Nutcracker every Christmas and by the time I was six I knew all of the major ballets by heart. One time we were at a performance of Swan Lake and when the wedding scene came up I stood up on my chair, all six year-old curls and attitude, and shouted, "The prince is about to marry the wrong swan!"
To this day, still one of my mothers' favorite stories.
In conclusion, ballet is awesome.
I love the ballet. The Dallas Ballet Company was the resident dance company for several weeks when I was in college. WOW! These folks were the best athletes I'd ever been near. I learned all about ballet and have loved it ever since. Real men love ballet!
Every year the fifth graders in my school district go to a shortened version of the Nutcracker. These are kiddos from woefully underprivileged backgrounds who have never seen a tutu let alone know what en pointe means. Every year, it is the boys who are absolutely SPELLBOUND. It is so fun to watch them watch the action on stage.
I adore ballet and love going with a date. The physicality of ballet is amazing. I took ballet for 2 years in college and for about 3 years as a kid. I miss it. It truly is incredible.
If you ever get a chance to see Ballet Jordon, go! They're amazing, and very different from a lot of ballet! I think it's like world class or something. I forget how far they're touring, they might come your way. (Also, my friend's in it)
i love ballet i actually dance at a dance studio and im one of the only guys there i do jazz ballet tap and lyrical and im 100% straight it takes alot of endurance to be able to do ballet :D
I love ballet. By the time I realized it, I was "too old."
Would be interesting to know now if getting into ballet when I was a little thing would have helped stave off my fibro-possible-rheumatoid-arthritis (finally diagnosed at 29 years of age, after years of getting worse, having to stop working and scrambling for an answer), or just made it hit me sooner.
It makes the artist parts of me really happy. I love seeing the anatomy, and how everything just seems to impossible. And, it's been incorporated into a REALLY interesting, manga/far-too-short anime series called RideBack. ... Which also has robot motorcycles. Totally works, imo. :D
My son (10 years old) was in ballet for several years. It is definitely NOT for the faint of heart. It is just as brutal, full contact and potentially disabling as any sport, and far more physically demanding.
I LOVE that you did this post. Thank you for making it "cool" to go to the ballet. I love it, myself. I also love the opera. I was enchanted at a young age by it...and people still scoff at me for attending them. I was over the moon when my partner accompanied me and ended up loving it TOO...what a beautiful world. He gets made fun of for liking it...he couldn't GIVE a damn...LOL!!
I too love the ballet and for the same reason. I love watching gymnasts also but really think the men could take some lessons from ballet dancers.
I too love the ballet and for the same reason. I love watching gymnasts also but really think the men could take some lessons from ballet dancers.
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My son is 12 and is the only male dancer at his school. He is really good and loves it! We don't know if he is straight or gay yet and really don't care. I love to watch him dance. I need to take him to an actual ballet.
@dynamicdancer I had a male friend in high School that did ballet and he went on to dance with the Royal Ballet of Winnipeg. trust me he was straight and married a female dancer. You real should take him to see a ballet!!!!!!!!!!!!!