Why is it Still So Hard to Be a Boy in Ballet?

November 28, 2001

For most young boys in ballet class, dancing is a passion they have to fight for. Just yesterday, I got an email from a loyal reader who loves Pointe, and loves ballet more, but he never took ballet classes. He was too afraid of being bullied. And he is definitely not alone. 


Today, I came across writer Ashleigh Baker’s story of her second grader’s love for ballet on A Deeper Story. In it, she confronts not the bullies at his school, but the adults who raise their eyebrows at his choice of hobby, who ask what his dad thinks of it, who quietly question his future sexuality, who assure him that maybe it’s an okay pastime for now because it will make him stronger for when he plays football. 


Luckily, her son seems to have a one-track mind, and for now, others’ ignorance won’t stop him. Because, as he puts it to his mom, “Mama, it feels like my heart is flying when I’m dancing.” 


If you’re a male dancer, tell me, how did you deal with questioning looks and inappropriate comments about your ballet training? I know several boys out there who are dying to hear. Write to me at [email protected]—I’d love to share your story here.