A huge THANK YOU to Mel Cooper and the TELUS Victoria Community Board for their generous donation to the Boys Can Dance program!
VAB Down Barriers of Dance Education for Boys
Victoria Academy of Ballet is opening their doors to encourage dance education for boys. Thanks to a bursary program from the Victoria Academy of Ballet Scholarship Society and the generous support of the TELUS Victoria Community Board, boys ages 7 to 11 partake in a free boys class.
The “Boys Can Dance” program was created by Mr. Andrew Pronger, a former professional ballet dancer with the Queensland Ballet in Australia and Principal of Victoria Academy of Ballet. He hopes to inspire the next generation of male dancers by encouraging athleticism, strength, artistry and the joy of movement in the Boys Can Dance participants. The class is a mix of ballet, contemporary and jazz in an energy-filled engaging hour. Mr. Pronger hopes to bring in senior male students to the class to act as role models for the younger students as well.
“I actually started dancing because the studio in my home town of Bunderberg, a small country town, offered a free dance class for boys. There were 8 of us in the class and 4 of us ended up eventually going on to professional careers in dance.”
While the stereotype of dance being effeminate still exists today, this stigma is slowly dissipating. Many hockey and football players train in ballet to help with flexibility, coordination and agility. The public is beginning to see the strength and athleticism that is required by male dancers to leap, turn and lift their female counter parts in the air.
Victoria Academy of Ballet has the highest number of male students in the Victoria area with boys ranging from age 4 to 24 with the hopes of growing that number in the years to come.
Do you know a future Baryshnikov who might be interested in the Boys Can Dance program?
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“Our 11 year old son is an avid rugby and baseball player and certainly enjoys his sports activities. However, he also is passionate about his dance program at VAB. The inclusive and supportive environment significantly impacts the development of his self-esteem and leadership ability. Dance lessons influence him in so many ways: physical activity which is both dynamic and fun. We are very pleased to enthusiastically support the Boys Can Dance program.”Kanne and John Boehme