Get boys comfortable with dance – inspired by Motionhouse

I love dance. So much so that I’ve set up my dance blog to get the word going and try and encourage other people who debate about starting dance but don’t dare. My route back to dancing is a little sporadic during the summer – having a husband who works all hours 7 days a week during harvest and a 5 year old who needs babysitting, isn’t conducive to dancing twice a week. But it’s my passion and it’s great to be back to it.

breaking down dance barriers and inspiring boys - Bubbablue and me

The one thing that makes me think it would have been nice to have a girl (other than the presumption that N will be going into farming), is seeing other parents little girls going off to ballet class. I loved my dancing lessons as a child and it would have been great to take a daughter to dancing (presuming she took after me and enjoyed it). Obviously boys can dance, but if I suggested dance classes to the OH or to N, I’d probably get looks of horror and refusals.

This goes against N’s love of dance. But then he enjoys swimming but wishes he didn’t go to swimming lessons. N loves to move. Mostly it’s bottom wiggling and shuffling round to rock music in the living room. But if he hears music while out and about, I’ll often spot his legs or hips moving to the beat.

dancing in the water spray at watermouth castle
Dancing into spraying water

I want him to grow up feeling comfortable to dance and move to music. And to understand that it’s not bad if men dance. He’s never seen me dance ceroc before – I think he’d be surprised to see me dance with men other than his dad – but partner dancing, and an easily accessible one at that, should help break down any barriers that men can and do dance. And it makes them look good if they can swirl a girl around the dance floor without it being grinding in a nightclub. There’s definite pulling power for a guy who can move well and dance well.

I’ve always taken N to theatre shows – a regular trip at Christmas, and making the most of Kids Week 2 years running. Many of those have dance in. I’ve not taken him to the ballet – that might be a little too much unless it was part of a wider show, or a more character themed show. I remember my brother being dragged along to La Fille Mal Gardee when he was young which was a reasonable story for boys not that interested in dance, but he was more keen on watching the live orchestra. But recently our local Mill Arts Centre had an open day and performances as part of their dance season which I wanted to go along to.

I’ve seen Motionhouse dance theatre pieces before but wasn’t sure how N would take to them. Let’s face it, unless you’re keen on dance, contemporary dance is a bit like modern art. You either get it or it’s just way too out there. I’ve only started getting into it myself recently, despite having danced and been interested in the art form since I was 4 years old. But in the end N was just excited to be going out before bedtime, so he was keen to come along.

I’d not told him much about the performance, just that there was a show going on outside, that it was free, and it would be around 30 minutes long. When we turned up, the big cage provided enough of a talking point although he didn’t go to climb on it like other children were doing. We grabbed some chairs and sat down to watch.

Inspired by Motionhouse dance
Absorbed

Motionhouse put on a good show. With 4 dancers, it was just the right number and size for N to be able to watch all of them, and the music used was strong and powerful. Quite rocky in places which obviously N loved.

Motionhouse dance theatre performing Captive

Captive by motionhouse

He kept talking to me throughout, asking questions, but mostly proclaiming how strong the dancers must be do dance the way they did. And hanging and dancing off the cage. It was a good way to show children how strong and fit dancers are, and therefore that dancing can be for strong people. I think it was a great performance piece to show people how to appreciate the training and discipline that dancers put into their work.

The end of Captive by Motionhouse

Motionhouse’s Capture obviously wasn’t suitable for all people as with any art form. A friend with a 5 year old daughter had said she was scared of the performance. Maybe it was the angst and the music which was a little dark in places. It’s interesting how different children react. N’s a wuss when it comes to mannequins in historical tourist places (he’s getting better now though), but he didn’t give this dance a second thought.

Days later I was going through the photos and videos from the performance, and N spotted me. He was straight over wanting to watch the videos again. He really did seem inspired about how unusual it was, and how strong the men and women were.

Hopefully he’ll still be open-minded about dance in future. He’s never been interested in watching videos of the type of dance I do. I must get an up to date video of me dancing so I can show him that. I’d love to teach him a few moves when I’m older. As far as I’m concerned, a guy is on to a winner if he can do a few basic dance moves and able to lead his partner and make her look good.

Do you have a boy who dances? What are your thoughts on encouraging dance as a unisex activity to encourage more boys to try it?

 

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2 thoughts on “Get boys comfortable with dance – inspired by Motionhouse

  1. Interesting post – and that show looks great, glad it’s captured his imagination. I think often men don’t dance because they don’t feel able to and then it’s a kind of spiral really as boys don’t dance because their dads don’t. And all us girls want is a partner that dances! Hopefully they’ll work it out (with some help!), thanks for linking to #PoCoLo

    1. I totally agree, so much is dependent on their fathers. I think streetdance and pop culture has probably helped a bit, but it’s still quite often seen as only for effeminate men.

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