Travis in Texas, a BalletForMen.com reader, shared his ballet experience with us. It really portrays how stereotypes about males in ballet can and do exist in children. It can be a tough road for any young male dancer…
Some of my earliest memories involve dance. My mother owned a dance studio and I used to take classes with her when I was a child. I started taking classes at about age 3. I took tap, jazz, and ballet, with ballet being my favorite. It was so graceful and the movements were fluid and beautiful. I grew better and better each year and loved going to my dance classes.
Fast forward to 6th grade. A cruel girl in my class at school was also in my dance classes. She threatened to tell everyone my terrible secret: that I was a boy in ballet classes. I begged her not to tell anyone, but she was vicious and told everyone who would listen that I was in ballet classes. I was instantly ridiculed and isolated from everyone else in the class. I loved my ballet classes but I hated the constant teasing I was getting from the other children. I remember being called “faggot” and “sissy”.
I told my mother that I didn’t want to take dance classes anymore. She was confused that I suddenly wanted to quit something that she knew I loved, but I refused to talk about it. I was ashamed that my mother and father would know that the other kids would tease me. I stopped going to dance classes and I truly believe it is one of the worst decisions I have made in my entire life. I wish so badly that I had had the strength to continue doing what I love, in spite of what other people thought. But I was young and weak-minded, and I craved the acceptance of my peers.
I never danced again until I was a sophomore in college. I started watching videos of ballet on Youtube and it inspired me to start up with dancing again. I enrolled in Ballet I at my university and began the process of learning how to dance again. I loved dancing, but in the back of my mind, I couldn’t stop thinking of how regretful I was that I quit dance. If I had stuck with it, I could have been an amazing ballet dancer. It’s uncommon for a male ballet dancer to start training as young as I did, and with my potential, I could have been a professional dancer if I had just continued my training. I’m still taking ballet classes and I love dancing and getting stronger in my technique.
The moral to this story is that if you have a desire to dance, just get out and do it. There’s no better time to start than right now. If it’s something you truly want to experience and accomplish, disregard what everyone else thinks. Mark Twain once said “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” You owe it to yourself to pursue your dream without reservations.
Thank you Travis!