Attracting and Retaining Boys in Ballet: A Qualitative Study of Female Dance Teachers

Clegg, Helen; Owton, Helen and Allen-Collinson, Jacquelyn (2019). Attracting and Retaining Boys in Ballet: A Qualitative Study of Female Dance Teachers. Journal of Dance Education, 19(4) pp. 158–167.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/15290824.2018.1472381

Abstract

Dance provides both psychological and physical benefits, and yet many boys miss out due to societal perceptions surrounding the feminization of dance. These perceptions can lead to the bullying of boys who dance. Because dance teachers are in a unique position to engage boys in dance, it is important to investigate their perceptions. This article reports the experiences of ten female dance teachers from the United Kingdom vis-à-vis attracting and retaining boys in dance, especially ballet. Here we focus on three salient themes that emerged from the data: dancing boys in social context, parental and teacher support, and improving the dancing boy’s milieu. The dance teachers identified a number of strategies for engaging and retaining boys in ballet, such as privileging boys within the dance studio and improving opportunities to dance in schools. This article posits potential strategies to engage boys in ballet that could potentially empower all genders within the dance world.

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