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From the day it opened, Paris Ballet and Dance has been the place where boys and young men go to learn to dance.

 

Jean-Hugues Ferey with his boys class at Paris Ballet and Dance (Joseph J. Bucheck III) 2016

 

By Karina Felix
Florida’s World of Dance Magazine
February 18. 2016

PDF edition of article with pictures (pages 18-20)

 

[Jupiter, Florida, USA] – – From the day it opened, Paris Ballet and Dance has been the place where boys and young men go to learn to dance.

Like girls who take specialized pointe classes, boys also need classes geared specifically for their needs. As a renowned former world-class dancer and superb master teacher, Director Jean-Hugues Feray has always been aware of those needs. “Though very rewarding, being a man in the world of dance can be strenuous” says Feray. “They must not only be a good dancer but they also must be strong and well trained for the stylized steps, jumps and turns that they perform. They also need to be strong enough to lift a living human body weight and effortlessly transport it across the stage and gently place it down without breaking a sweat, or so it seems.”

BOY/MEN’S CLASS

Paris Ballet and Dance has special classes for young men and boys to teach them the proper approach and execution of steps, turns, jumps and “tricks” required of any professional male dancer. These classes also incorporate training for strength, conditioning, endurance and stamina.

Paris Ballet and Dance 02

 

PARTNERING CLASS

Partnering is a separate class. This class works on “pas de deux”’ (partnering) technique. In these classes a male dancer uses the strength, agility and balance he has acquired during his years of training to finesse the dance choreography with their partners. These young men learn how to properly lift, turn and guide their partners by working with the advanced students at the School. They also get the opportunity to implement and expand their knowledge and dance experience on stage during the schools yearly performances and Nutcracker showcase.

All classes are taught by experienced teachers whom are, or were dance professionals. These classes have given the serious dancers a huge advantage when they go off to summer intensives throughout the world. They are by far better equipped and prepared for the challenge.

As the male students grow older and stronger, the classes are adjusted to suite their immediate needs and requirements to becoming more proficient in their art form.

BOYS AS TRUE ATHLETES

Serious advanced dance students (and professionals) practically train on a daily basis throughout the year, with only a few breaks. Dance training require a strong disposition, made up of talent, desire, commitment, and a willingness to work hard. With dance training comes incredible control, strength, power, stamina, agility and flexibility. These are the attributes every sport demands. In fact, many professional and college teams require their members to attend ballet classes.

With that in mind, Paris Ballet and Dance’s talented boys and young men train very hard and are encouraged in an extremely positive way. Mr. Feray and his teachers always bring out a student’s passion for dance by pushing them to be stronger and better while preparing them for the dance world. All of the boys enjoy and look forward to their special hours in the classroom created just for them!

Boys Class at Paris Ballet and Dance (Paris Ballet and Dance) 2016

 

AN UNCOMMON SIGHT

Paris Ballet and Dance has so many boys and young men from ages four to seventeen mingling within the studio walls, that the other students and parents have become pretty used to seeing them interacting with the teachers and fellow dancers. “At Paris Ballet & Dance, we are excited and proud to not only have these group of young men at our studio, but that we are able to retain them because of the superb and individual based training we have created for them”: says studio director Jean- Hugues Feray.

WHY?

Paris Ballet and Dance is the School where boys and young men dance!

Mr. Feray was a student at the Paris Opera Ballet School and the National Conservatory of Paris. He danced with the French National Ballet of Nancy, The National Ballet of Marseille and performed alongside Paris Opera Ballet dancers throughout his career.

He started as an instructor during his years at Ballet Florida teaching at the Academy of Ballet Florida, under guidance of Mary Hale, and Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach, FL. He has performed for such notables as: Rudolph Nureyev, Pierre Lacotte, Vladimir Vasiliev, Marie-Claude Pietragalla, Maurice Bejart, Val Caniparoli, Ben Stevenson, Vicente Nebrada, Norbert Vesak, Steve Caras, Sean Lavery, Peter Martins and Jerome Robbins.

To say that he has the experience and expertise to guide these young men into a successful dance career is an understatement.

Mr. Feray has taken his dream and desire of guiding the new dance generation into new opportunities in the dance field by starting a dance conservatory for the very serious dancers: those willing to really dedicate their time and efforts to make it into the dance world.

This program has been created to cater to the homeschooled and virtual school student that can dedicate the amount of allotted time necessary for this type of training. There is also an after school option with Paris Ballet and Dance studio.

“Already in place on Saturday morning is an advanced boys class. We have enough 7 to 10 year old boys presently taking classes at the studio, that we are now able to start an intermediate class geared to young boys technique”, says Feray. You can reach Mr. Feray at Paris Ballet & Dance School and Conservatory at 861 Jupiter Park Drive – Unit F , Jupiter, FL   33458 http://www.parisballetdance.com/ 561-308-8377

 

Copyright 2016 World of Dance Magazine

The ‘Billy Elliot’ effect sees young males become the ‘crème de la crème’ of the dancing world

More boys attended Royal Ballet School than girls last year

Strictly Come Dancing judge and professional ballerina Darcey Bussell said the UK was producing more male dancers than female

Billy Elliot and TV talent shows are credited as the reason

 

Boys pictured at the Royal Ballet School in Richmond Park, Surrey (Lucy Ray Photography,The Daily Mail) 2015

 

By Antonia Hoyle
The Daily Mail
December 11, 2015

 

Toes pointed, arms aloft, the ballet dancers balance perfectly on one leg and lift the other high behind them. The delicate grace of their flowing movements is captivating. With backs ramrod straight, they smile serenely as they glide and twirl across the room. These youngsters are the crème de la crème of the ballet world. Only the best are good enough — and they are intent on perfection.

To help them attain it, instructor Hope Keelan barks instructions as they dance. The smallest indiscretion is noted and brusquely corrected. ‘Fingers and thumbs away,’ she raps. ‘Teeth, teeth! Come on! That was torture.’

It’s astonishing to watch such talent and relentless discipline in ones so young. More astonishing, though, is the fact there’s not a tutu in sight. The leotards of the dancers are blue. And their hair isn’t scraped back into buns, but slicked down in short cuts.

Sacha Barber, 12, Stanley Young, 12, and Isaac Martin, 13 are students at RBS (Lucy Ray Photography,The Daily Mail) 2015

We might be at the mixed-sex Royal Ballet School — Britain’s most prestigious dance training institute — but in this rehearsal studio there are only boys. While little girls still comprise the vast majority of those clamouring to study ballet, boys are increasingly choosing it over ball sports. Last year, there were 112 boys and 109 girls at the Royal Ballet School’s junior and senior branches.

This week ballerina and Strictly Come Dancing judge Darcey Bussell — herself an alumna of the Royal Ballet School — highlighted the remarkable rise of the boy ballet dancer. ‘Every dance school I went to there was only ever one little boy,’ said Darcey, 46. ‘Suddenly, we’re producing more male dancers. Apparently, the problem now is that we’re not producing enough women! How is this possible?’

How indeed?

Some boys have admitted relating to Billy Elliot due to teasing and bullying from other boys (Lucy Ray Photography,The Daily Mail) 2015

Some boys have admitted relating to Billy Elliot due to teasing and bullying from other boys

The ‘Billy Elliot’ effect is a factor. After the film — which charted the plight of the fictional 11-year-old miner’s son who won a place at the Royal Ballet School — was released in 2000, much of the stigma around boys and ballet was removed. That shift has been reinforced in recent years by the captivating performances of male ballet stars such as Cuban Carlos Acosta, 42.

‘Shows like Strictly Come Dancing and X Factor have also made dancing more acceptable for boys,’ says Hope, a youthful-looking 60-year-old who seems to inspire both respect and affection from her male students in equal measure. She is artistic teacher and programme manager at White Lodge, the junior wing of the Royal Ballet School. Based in Richmond, South-West London, White Lodge was created in 1955 to produce professional dancers for the Royal Ballet Company.

It is home to 130 boarders aged 11 to 16, one of whom is 11-year-old Blake Smith from Gloucester. He wanted to be a dancer at five, after watching children’s television show Angelina Ballerina.

And he harbours a true passion. He admits he initially encountered opposition to his dreams. ‘I was the only boy in my ballet class and at first my friends would tell me ballet is for girls. But eventually they got used to the idea.’

Blake’s mum Siobhan, 37, was, nonetheless concerned when her little boy started ballet classes. ‘Within two months he’d completed his first competition. I was amazed and proud, but worried he’d be picked on,’ says Siobhan. ‘But Blake says he doesn’t care what anyone else thinks.’

The Royal Ballet School fees cost £30,000 per year and only the best dancers are accepted (Lucy Ray Photography,The Daily Mail) 2015

The Royal Ballet School fees cost £30,000 per year and only the best dancers are accepted

Two years ago, Blake was spotted at his local dance class and invited to audition for White Lodge. Competition is fierce. More than 1,000 youngsters vie for two dozen places at the boarding school each year. And the fees — £30,000 a year — are as substantial as the talent.

Like 80 per cent of White Lodge’s students, Blake is given a government grant. ‘Without the grant, there’s no way I would have been able to afford it,’ says Siobhan, a cleaner who split up with Blake’s father while she was pregnant.

She admits the prospect of sending her boy across the country for weeks on end filled her with anxiety. ‘I didn’t want him to go. I know it is an amazing opportunity, but I felt physically sick as I left him for the first time. I’m still struggling.’ She and Blake Skype each other each day. ‘As soon as we’ve finished speaking I cry,’ she says. ‘He’s always been focused, but I worry about how he’ll handle the pressure.’

Boys sandwich four hours of ballet practice a day on either side of their academic studies (Lucy Ray Photography,The Daily Mail) 2015

Boys sandwich four hours of ballet practice a day on either side of their academic studies

Indeed, the pursuit of excellence here is relentless.The boys sandwich four hours of ballet practice a day on either side of their academic studies. Their warm-up alone is characterised by ‘blood, sweat and tears’, says Hope, without hint of apology.

‘Assessments’ are held at the end of the year to boot out underperformers. Less than half of students will progress to the upper school, and fewer still will be accepted into the Royal Ballet.

While the boys insist the girls — who train separately because of their different physical strengths — don’t begrudge their increasing dominance, 11-year-old Caspar Lench lets slip that relationships between the sexes can be strained. ‘At the start of the year the boys and girls didn’t exactly get on,’ admits Caspar, also in his first term. ‘The girls didn’t want to be friends with the boys and the boys were a bit shy around the girls.’ Fortunately, things picked up. ‘After a few weeks we made friends and it’s not awkward any more.’

Caspar started ballet lessons at three after his mum Yasmin spotted his potential while he was playing a sheep in his nursery nativity play. ‘He smiled all the way through, showed no nerves and made everyone laugh,’ says Yasmin, 42.

Like her husband Tristan, 44, Yasmin is a doctor, and their son’s talent came as a surprise. ‘Dancing definitely doesn’t run in the family, but Caspar has always loved performing,’ she says.

Yasmin credits competitors on shows like Britain’s Got Talent with inspiring boys’ ballet dancing ambition, as well as footballers such as England star Rio Ferdinand, who have been open about practising ballet as youngsters.

What about Billy Elliot? ‘I do sort of relate to him, but feel like it was easier for me because I had my parents’ encouragement,’ says Caspar.

Yasmin acknowledges her son was lucky to only receive a couple of barbed comments from peers who described his hobby as ‘girly’. And she adds: ‘I think Tristan being supportive helped. We know of other boys who have dropped out because their dads didn’t approve.

‘I knew it would be sad for us to say goodbye to him but, by the time he was seven, he was showing such promise we had an inkling he would go to ballet school.’

Annually, more than 1,000 youngsters vie for only two dozen places at the Royal Ballet School (Lucy Ray Photography,The Daily Mail) 2015

Annually, more than 1,000 youngsters vie for only two dozen places at the Royal Ballet School

Auditions for Royal Ballet School are held at the beginning of the year, with staff scouring the country for the best of the best. Every aspiring student is invited to take part in a dance class where their talent is assessed. Caspar’s audition was at a church hall near his home city of Bristol with a final audition at White Lodge this January. A week later, he discovered he’d been accepted.

As the term started in September, he managed to maintain a stiff upper lip, despite the fact he faced weeks without his mum, with all visits pre-arranged. ‘He made it very clear he didn’t want me to cry and embarrass him,’ says Yasmin. ‘But the school prepared us for the fact the children can get homesick.’

In fact, says Hope, the boys are more susceptible to homesickness — or more likely to show it. ‘Girls are a bit more able to mask their feelings,’ she says, adding that despite the discipline, she would never tell a lad missing home he wasn’t entitled to feel sad.

‘We talk about their feelings. I think boys show pressure differently if they’re angry or upset. They cry or they’ll fight. I say they need to see a nurse, and we have psychology workshops.’

Caspar admits he’s found his first term heavy going. ‘When things have happened — I’ve had injuries and arguments and stuff — I’ve wished Mum could be here to sort it out and I call her and cry.’

They speak for half an hour every evening. ‘If I’m feeling sad, she will say she is hugging me down the phone.’

Yasmin doesn’t find his homesickness quite as easy to brush off. ‘I know Caspar bounces back quickly, but I still feel anxious,’ she says. ‘I worry about the pressure and how he would cope if he lost his place. I like to think he is strong, but it would be a blow for him.’

Sacha Barber, 12, Stanley Young, 12, and Isaac Martin, 13, training at school's Pavlova Studio (Lucy Ray Photography,The Daily Mail) 2015

While all the boys have a certain air of vulnerability, it’s also striking how composed they are. ‘There is an emphasis on professional behaviour here,’ explains Isaac Martin, 13, from London, who is in his second year.

Isaac, whose dad Leo, 49, is a company manager and mum Catherine, 45, a museum curator, was a gymnast before discovering ballet a couple of years ago. He admits that at the end of a hard day’s practice, everything aches, but he wouldn’t dream of complaining: ‘We’re taught to respect our elders, that we’re here to learn and not to make a fuss. It’s a good motto to live by.’

Stanley Young, 12, Sacha Barber, 12, and Issac Martin, 13, the Royal Ballet School (Lucy Ray Photography,The Daily Mail) 2015-03

And it is quite extraordinary that despite being in stiff competition with each other, the boys show no signs of jousting or one-upmanship. Are there really no squabbles? ‘Only in our dorms,’ chips in 12-year-old Stanley Young, who has also just entered year two. ‘And mostly over things like the shower rota. But it’s always sorted out.’

It sounds like Stanley, from Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, whose parents are Sarah, 49, and Steve, 45, an engineer, has found an acceptance through ballet school he previously lacked. ‘Because I didn’t like football I felt isolated and different from the other boys,’ he says. These days, Stanley shares his section of the boys’ dormitory with Sacha Barber, 12, from Eastbourne.

You always have to be better than you were the day before' is the mantra boys are taught at the RBS (Lucy Ray Photography,The Daily Mail) 2015

You always have to be better than you were the day before’ is the mantra boys are taught at the RBS

Sacha admits he is finding his second year more stressful than his first and that his dad Daniel, 48, a carpenter, is ‘still surprised’ by his love of dance. ‘You don’t get pushed as much until second year,’ says Sacha — the only boy permitted to sport a longer hairdo, because he is playing Fritz, the lead role in the Nutcracker at the school’s annual performance now taking place at the Royal Opera House. Apparently, he needs longer locks to look suitably Victorian.

But he refuses to buckle under the increased pressure of the second year: ‘I just try harder.’ And it is this which is the unspoken mantra of all the boys at The Royal Ballet School. Without exception, they handle mounting pressure with remarkable grace.

‘It is stressful,’ says Caspar as rehearsals end. ‘You always have to be better than you were the day before and I don’t always achieve that. But you have to work hard and hope for the best.’

 

Copyright 2015 Associated Newspapers, Ltd.

The London Boys Ballet School has just signed up its 100th student and has plans to open branches in Manchester, Edinburgh and Swansea

Young dancers at London Boys Ballet School, including Ross Black, at front (Teri Pengilley) 2015

 

By Karen Attwood
The Independent
September 12, 2015

 

James Anthony, who founded and teaches at London Boys Ballet School (Teri Pengilley) 2015[London, England] -James Anthony was desperate to take ballet classes at his mother’s dance school in Wales, but put his dream on hold because he was frightened of being bullied at school. He finally took up ballet at the age of 28, incredibly qualifying as a Royal Academy of Dance teacher within a few years, and has now set up the UK’s first ballet school for boys.

The London Boys Ballet School, in Islington, north London, has just signed up its 100th student and has plans to open branches in Manchester, Edinburgh and Swansea.“It’s clear to see that lots of boys do want to dance,” says Mr Anthony, 34. “A lot of boys start dance classes when they are younger but get discouraged when they get older. This [the school] is not just about being with other boys and the camaraderie that brings. Our image is very masculine. A lot of the other schools will have everything in pink. Our school has changed the image of ballet completely.”

Alfie Theobald, 16, travels two hours from Newbury, in Berkshire, every Saturday to spend all day at the school. He has been taking classes there since it opened a year ago, and wishes to pursue a career in dance after finishing his GCSEs. “My sister used to do ballet and I wanted to start at a younger age but my four older brothers persuaded me to wait until I was really sure I wanted to dance,” he says. After being persuaded to take GCSE dance by a teacher who saw him perform, Alfie developed a passion knew this was what he wanted to do with his life.

Alfie Theobald travels two hours from Newbury every Saturday to spend all day at the school (Teri Pengilley) 2015

However, he was reluctant to join a class with girls his own age who were more advanced because they had been taking classes since they were young. “In the boys’ ballet school, the others have also just started so we really encourage each other,” he says. My parents are astonished by my capabilities and have been really supportive. My aim is to audition for dance schools, and keep auditioning until I get in.”

Ross Black became the school’s 100th pupil last week. The 12-year-old from Dorking, Surrey, comes by train with his mother for four hours of dance and, like Alfie, hopes to make a career out of performing.

Ross started performing in musical theatre at the age of seven and began ballet three years ago but in a class of mostly girls. “I didn’t mind being with the girls as I am with lots of boys at school,” says Ross. “But I think it will be much better to be with the boys because I hope to be able to do lots more spins and jumps.”

His mother Ceri said other ballet schools tend to focus more on the girls’ syllabus. “Ross is very keen so it can be frustrating,” she says. “It’s good that he will be able to dance with other boys that he’s got a lot in common with. Ross goes to lots of auditions, and there are always lots of boys there dancing so it is clear there is a need. I’m surprised this didn’t happen before. Billy Elliot was years ago – this has been a long time in coming.”

Mr Anthony said it was “against all the odds” that he got his vocational qualifications given that he started so late. He practised for three hours a day to pass his examinations.

He knew that it was too late at 28 to launch a career as a professional dancer but thought that there must be other boys out there who wanted to dance, just as he did.

He started teaching at the family school in Wales which his mother founded and where his sister still teaches before setting up London Boys Ballet School last year. He now divides his time between London and Swansea.

“I do think there has been a change in attitude to boys dancing,” he says. “You have television shows like X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing that have had an impact. It can still be difficult outside of London, but the school started with just a few students through word of mouth and is now building momentum, so hopefully the same will happen around the country.”

Copyright 2015 The Independent

 

Read more about LBBS:

All-boys ballet school to be first in UK

London Boys Ballet School attracts budding Billy Elliots

A Man walks into a barre…he eats his words

 

balletinthecity

DSC_0001-001 (2) Ballet West principal dancer Christopher Ruud instructs young Lex at a Ballet in Cleveland all guys master class.

By Jacquelyn Bernard

Edited by Catharine Lewis

In an art form that has been traditionally defined as feminine and only appropriate for women, male dancers are continuing to reveal their aptitude and talent in the world of classical ballet. The following post is taken from an excerpt of Jacquelyn Bernard’s research paper and elaborates upon how males are viewed in dance. Bernard, a dance major and college student in Tulsa, Oklahoma, discovered Ballet in Cleveland through social media and has since connected with Guys Dance Too.

Ballet in Cleveland founder, Jessica Wallis (center) with Guys Dance Too teachers, students, and supporters Ballet in Cleveland founder, Jessica Wallis (center) with Guys Dance Too teachers, students, and supporters

Male dancers are strong, graceful, and beautiful to watch onstage, but the words that come to describe them are not of a masculine root. Maybe “strong” can be related to…

View original post 968 more words

balletinthecity

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I could feel the awe, admiration and excitement in the airwaves. From my front row seat in the corner of the Cleveland Ballet Conservatory studio, I watched young dancers get the opportunity of a lifetime: intimate instruction from ballet great Carlos Lopez of American Ballet Theatre. Carlos visited the North Royalton ballet school April 27 to teach master classes in boys’ technique and partnering, the classes presented by Ballet in Cleveland, were open to all dancers.

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 In the first class, a Guys Dance Too class (these classes are just for guys and are always led by male dancers), boys received instruction and learned skills perfecting their classical ballet technique. They stood strong and tall at the barre and on the floor as they eagerly looked to Carlos for instruction and intently watched their own reflections in the floor-to-ceiling studio mirrors.

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“At first, I was nervous, but as class went on…

View original post 289 more words

 

Guys Dance Too educates, supports, and empowers males
in the art of dance.

It frees the minds and potential of male dancers
and all who aspire to be one.

It breaks down gender barriers and stereotypes and
creates opportunities for self-expression for all through dance.

 

Guys Dance Too, Ballet in Cleveland

 

Maryland Youth Ballet Boys' Class (Maryland Youth Ballet) 2015

 

Maryland Youth Ballet’s Young Men’s’ Division is growing by leaps and bounds. There are 15 (!) more boys not pictured above. (story shared by a MYB parent)

Pacific School of Dance lands grant for free boys dance class, training them in ballet, conditioning, partnering

 

Pacific School of Dance's boys class (Pacific School of Dance)

 

By Chelsea Davis
Coos Bay World
May 20, 2015

 

[Coos Bay, Oregon, USA] – Dance isn’t just for girls — but training boys is an entirely different animal. Ten boys joined a new class this spring at Pacific School of Dance in Coos Bay. The opportunity came from a $5,000 grant Dance Umbrella for South Coast Oregon received from the Charlotte Martin Foundation.

After 16 weeks of class, the public will get a chance to see them on stage at the dance center’s annual recital May 30 at the Hales Center for the Performing Arts on the SWOCC campus.

The boys’ experience ranged from beginner to intermediate, with older boys from the Pacific School of Dance stepping in to serve as role models.

“Drew and Will (Carper), they’re brothers, and they just happened to … come into the area just about the time that this thing came into being, and they heard about it,” said Pacific administrative director Pam Chaney. “They had done a little bit of dancing with another school in Vancouver, Wash. They moved to this area, waited until they got all settled, then they heard about this program and came right over and signed up for it.”

Chaney has dubbed Will “the girl-thrower,” since his strength lends him to partnering.

The grant paid for the boys’ costumes, shoes, membership and tuition, and lasts through the end of the calendar year. “They just had to show up with a willing spirit to dance and put their hearts into it, and they’ve been really good about that,” Chaney said.

In the recital, teacher Maria Rosman adapted the barn dance from “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” which the boys will perform with girls from Pacific’s regular classes. “It should be a fun, lively piece,” Rosman said.

The biggest challenge, for both Rosman and the boys, has been adapting to the etiquette of a dance studio. “You don’t always get it,” Chaney said. “It’s not like playing sports. You don’t get to talk. It’s athletic, but it involves a lot of politeness, manners, keeping their hands to themselves.”

Rosman has also adapted to teaching a group of boys — far different than teaching the typical studio of girls. “Classroom etiquette in a dance room is a lot different,” Rosman said. “That’s probably been the most difficult part. Boys have different energy than girls — they’re a whole different species. They’re fun, but they have so much pep and zing so I need to bring their focus in.

“I find that if I keep the class moving and keep them active, they stay with me. It’s been a wonderful challenge for me to take that energy and direct it through the classroom and make it productive.”

Rosman started at the very beginning, training the boys in basic barre work, including pliés and tendus. They also worked on strength and conditioning to get ready for partnering later on.

“I had them for a very short amount of time, so it’s a challenge to put them on stage,” Rosman said. “I wish we could actually perform maybe in the fall when I could’ve had more time to get something into them. I got them after Christmas, I have them for one hour a week, so we’ve been working on coordination, articulation of the feet.”

But the parents’ feedback has been rewarding, she said. “Some of the parents after class say their sons just love it,” Rosman said. “I feel like I’m making a breakthrough.”

 

© Copyright 2015, Coos Bay World

 

Related Articles:

Dance Umbrella lands grant to support boys dance program

Like ‘Billy Elliott,’ local boy goes against grain, takes dance

 

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