Boys Dancing addresses the notion that boys shouldn’t be involved in dancing and has led to a significant change in the perception about dance. By making training opportunities accessible, the project has increased boys’ confidence about taking part and helped reduce embarrassment around it. It has engaged a large number of boys of all abilities, backgrounds and from all communities. They are given the chance to discover the joy of a creative art form, to have fun and to develop the discipline and teamwork needed to perform with others. It has also increased their physical fitness.
The project has a long-term impact on those who continue to dance as a hobby, develop their skills further through the mentoring scheme or are taken on by Boys Dancing as dance leaders. It has also had a positive influence on the wider community who see that dance doesn’t have to be just for girls.
As well as schools, Boys Dancing also worked with Shropshire’s Stoke Heath Prison, making a film of inmates performing which is available online.
Schoolboy Dylan has been involved in Boys Dancing for three years. He says: “Usually, the dance clubs were for both boys and girls, but you’d think ‘oh that’s for girls’. But this was just boys doing it, so there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. To start with it was a challenge because I didn’t have any dance skills. But the choreographer got me into it. Now it feels like boys can dance, it’s not just for girls.”
Dylan recognises that dancing has helped him in many ways. “Dancing makes me feel great and makes me do more exercise than football. It’s made me a bit more confident in class, I put my hand up a bit more because I got more confident in dancing. In dance lessons you can see how something can become something else – and that makes me think differently in class as well.”
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