The Male Dancer Conundrum

Playing soccer when I was younger, I remember having a severe disdain for the idea of the coach’s son on the field. He was the player who got everything he wanted because his dad was the team coach. The spoiled brat could be on the field as much or as little as he wanted regardless of how hard he worked or how talented he was (or not as often the case was). This was merely the idea of the coach’s son. It’s partially based on the truth since so many take advantage of the situation for their personal gain but ironically being in this situation makes it harder for serious players to get ahead. Players who have this advantage have to work twice as hard in order to prove that they are not being unfairly favored over other players. This is what it is like to be a male dancer.

I don’t want to be defined as a dancer who was given opportunities when better dancers were available. I want to earn everything I get because I work harder for it and I look better doing it. The reality of the situation is that I have been given more opportunities to dance based on the fact that there are fewer men who dance. In a room full of dancers I’m one of about three people who have male genitalia and in a casting process it means that I have a much better chance at another dancing opportunity than the females in that same room. Sometimes casting calls for a duet between a male dancer and a female dancer. In that same room full of dancers, my chances of getting a part have now quadrupled regardless of my skill level. Female dancers hate me for this and I can’t necessarily blame them. I have seen many a male dancer in a duet that he had no business being in. As far as skill level goes, it doesn’t take much dance technique to pick people up while they make pretty shapes. I can do my lifting at the gym. I need to be the dancer who is better than every other dancer in that room, male or female. In casting this is not always the case. Sometimes if you need a large cast it’s better to go with a group of female dancers because there are more who are skillful. By default, you can’t always throw a few guys in there; it messes up the symmetry and the audience will expect a partnering session at some point. The alternative is that you can cast a smaller group of guys together. Although finding any group of guys that dance at the same skill level is next to impossible unless you live in a large city.

This is my challenge as a male dancer. I have an unfair advantage in dance. I need to make it work for me to help prove that I deserve the opportunities that I get. I also need to work twice as hard as my female counterparts to look as good as they do or better.

Basically- I have to Do Work