Male Dancers at Wilde Lake Break Stereotypes Through Creative Expression
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By: Gabby Christopher and Khalea Conway
Walking into Wilde Lake’s dance studio, it’s easy to see the population is primarily female students. In the performing arts, especially dance, masculinity is at stake.
Ms. Estabrook, Dance teacher, has taught classes with fluctuating amounts of males, but the class with the highest amount was eight.
“I believe that societal pressures and fear of being ridiculed prevent some guys from taking the class,” said Estabrook. “In our society, it is considered unmanly if a guy does dance.”
However, male students, like dancer Alex Tummings, are breaking that stereotype.
Tummings started dancing when he was 10 years old. He was first drawn to this form of art when he wanted to “become a triple threat musical theatre student who can dance, sing and act.”
Over the years, his dancing has developed, and he is now on Backstage Dance Studio’s Show Troupe dance team. This team travels around the East Coast two to three times a month for competitions.
To prepare for these dance competitions, Tummings practices his skill 10 to 12 hours a week, excluding additional rehearsals.
“At our studio, precision is everything. You might finish a dance but take 2 months to polish it,” said Tummings. “You have to make sure you’re perfect. If you’re not performing well, you have to have punishments like pushups.”
Not only does he express himself through dance outside of school, but he is also in Dance Company, DCo, at Wilde Lake.
According to Tummings, everybody in DCo at Wilde Lake is respectful of his masculinity, but sometimes he does feel ridiculed by people who aren’t familiar with boys dancing.
“In the professional world, males dancing is a lot more common and appreciated. Everybody should be open minded and allow people to do what they love. People should get educated before they judge male dancers like me. There’s a lot of hard work that goes into dancing that people will never understand,” said Tummings.
Although some people in society may still have close minded views towards male dancers, people are becoming more respectful of the skill that it takes.