By Lisa Mayoh
The Daily Telegraph
June 08, 2015
[Sydney, Australia]- Gone are the days of 20 girls and one lonesome boy in a Sydney ballet class — burly boys are kicking up their heels with the best ballerinas.
Tanya Pearson Classical Coaching Academy artistic director Lucinda Dunn said it was becoming much more acceptable for young boys to enter the competitive industry, with the St Leonards-based academy having its own male class for full-time students, taught by a man.
“At this time in our lives I don’t think ballet and the arts is going to become equal in the prestige that sports hold for boys but ballet is more acceptable,” Ms Dunn said. “We all need male dancers to survive and, while there is a way to go yet, I am so thrilled to boast so many full-time boys at this academy.”
She said there were eight full-time male students aged 15 to 19 among 300 females, as well as 10 boys from the ages of five to 15 who danced part-time. “It’s certainly an improvement on past years and we are one of the academies that have a healthy number of males attending daily, which is wonderful,” Ms Dunn said. “We also have boys only classes where male teachers teach the males — it’s no longer one boy in a class of 20 girls.”
She said ballet was beneficial for strength, flexibility, confidence and creative expression. “Billy Elliot was a big inspiration at the time and gave us a boost and so were all the dance shows on television,” she said.
An Australian Ballet spokeswoman said boys dancing was a national trend. “As part of the Australian Ballet’s audience engagement programs, we’ve been running dedicated Boys’ Days for a number [of] years and these generally sell out,” the spokeswoman said.
“Boys’ Day takes the format of a class led by a current male dancer with The Australian Ballet, with the chance to ask him questions afterwards and also watch the full company taking their daily class.
“Last year we held six Boys’ Days across four cities and 123 boys participated in the program which has a maximum capacity of 24 boys per day.”
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