By Anna Randell
Boys who dance are used to being the odd ones out. In schools around Australia, it’s not unusual to see just one boy in a class.
That’s about to change for up to 100 boys in Australia’s first boys-only summer dance school in Adelaide in January.
The Boys Dance 18 school is part of Royal Academy of Dance’s Project B, which kicked off in the UK in June, and is all about encouraging more boys to dance.
Encourage and inspire
Matthew Lawrence, from the academy, who has danced with ballet companies in Australia and overseas, says the school will be the first of many around Australia.
“This is going to be a great chance for boys to socialise with others their own age who dance,” he says.
“When you have just one boy at a school, it’s really hard for them, so we want to bring them together to expose them to new styles, encourage and inspire them, so that they don’t feel so alone.”
Hip hop, tap and modern dance
The Adelaide school will bring together boys aged seven to 18 to dance a range of styles, from ballet and hip hop to tap and modern dance.
Gabriel Lowe, 12, and Thomas Hobbs, eight, from Adelaide, have won scholarships to the summer school.
Thomas started dancing when he was six and rehearses twice a week with the South Australian Children’s Ballet Company for its ballet The Little Mermaid.
“I like dancing because I like the storytelling,” he says. “It’s very active and fun, and I like getting to try on all the different costumes.”
Born with a will to dance
Step up, boys!
Around the world, just 1.8 per cent of Royal Academy of Dance exam candidates are boys, but in upper levels that rises to four to six per cent.
Source Royal Academy of Dance
Gabriel joined a dance class with a friend also when he was six. When his friend stopped, he stayed on as the only boy in the class.
“I was born with a will to dance,” he says. “I always liked to and always wanted to.
“I like the repetition of it, doing a dance again and again until you get it right, and seeing it pay off in the final piece.
“When you dance you are both an athlete and an artist.”