"I Was Bloody Mad Doing Ballet": Men Choosing to Dance

By A. W. Brian De Silva.

Published by The International Journal of Social, Political and Community Agendas in the Arts

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: April 4, 2014 $US5.00

Male dancers have to overcome discrimination, prejudice, and stereotype not only from family members, but also from society at large. They are subject to censure from teachers, students, and career counsellors, even principals who object and try to steer them away from dance. They are also subject to physical and mental abuse from their peers for wanting to pursue dance. This stigma, prejudice, and stereotype are deeply rooted in the psyche of individuals and society, being a collective of individuals, and exert a very strong conformist influence against this choice of career. The predominant heterosexist attitudes, beliefs, and values result in discriminatory behaviour(s) against the non-conformist and non-conforming behaviour. Male dancers have to struggle against internalised homophobia which exacts a strong influence on their sense of self, self-perception, and self-esteem. This study looks at the experiences of seven passionate and determined men who chose to become male dancer/choreographers.

Keywords: Male Dancers/Choreographers, Internalised Homophobia, Self-esteem

The International Journal of Social, Political and Community Agendas in the Arts, Volume 8, Issue 1, April 2014, pp.33-46. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: April 4, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 429.438KB)).

Dr. A. W. Brian De Silva

Research Associate, RMIT University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Dr. De Silva just graduated with a Ph.D. in education, arts administration. He is interested in researching the social and sexual implications of adult identity formation within individuals choosing careers in the performing arts. His main area of research focus is the genre of classical and contemporary dance, and his key areas of interest are identifying the differences in the development of heterosexual and non-heterosexual male dancers in their careers as dancer/choreographers. The major aim is to determine, identify, and manage the key variables to assist these dancers in their training and eventual transition into professional dancing and choreographing careers.