By Holley Calmes
The Gwinnett Daily Post
December 03, 2015
[Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA] – The growing popularity of dance is evident throughout our culture, and ballet is not just for little girls in tutus anymore. The increasing number of young men participating in the wide world of dance is seen everywhere in all forms of media.
This growing male presence is evident in Gwinnett Ballet Theatre’s upcoming production of “The Nutcracker.” When the curtain rises on the Infinite Energy Theater stage for GBT’s annual holiday offering, 13 young men, all GBT students, will be performing.
The nonprofit dance organization has been presenting “The Nutcracker” for 34 years. In the past, male participants have been very scarce or have consisted of hired soloists to play Cavalier to the Sugar Plum Fairy. This year, a strong male presence will run throughout the show, from Party Scene lads to Soldiers to Polichinelles and leaping Russian dancers.
Artistic Director Wade Walthall is a major reason the school has begun enlisting more guys. His commitment to the school acquiring its own stable of male dancers has been a major goal from the beginning. “It is wonderful to see that parents of young men are seeing the value of dance training and encouraging their boys to attend Gwinnett Ballet Theatre,” says Mr. Walthall. “The program and enthusiasm is growing almost daily, it seems.”
Another reason is the growing realization in the public perception that dance is highly athletic and a great physical outlet for all that male energy. From only a couple of young men in GBT’s classes, suddenly there were boys wherever one looked.
Young men who participate in dance at GBT enjoy a well-rounded curriculum of classical ballet, and as they grow older, jazz, hip hop and modern instruction. Students progress in physical skills common to all athletic endeavors: strength, endurance, agility, flexibility and coordination.
Dance also develops a sense of teamwork, commitment, respect, time management and more. And although occasional injury happens in dance as anywhere else, major injuries such as concussions and broken bones are, unlike some other sports, very infrequent.
Whether a young man is interested in a dance career or wishes to enhance his participation in another sport through honing certain physical skills, dance training is a valuable and very fun activity. The “fun factor” is one of the best aspects.
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