Monday, 22 April 2013


In this article I particularly like how Risner used two different approaches to boys in dance. He first researched "why boys wouldn’t want to dance" before flipping this question on its head and researched "why boys want to dance".

Looking at it from two different angles gave, I believe, a well-rounded view of the subject.

The reasons given as to why boys wouldn’t want to dance were pretty much as I expected and primarily came down to the stigma attached.
One of the questions posed to the boys stated: "I think boys would study dance if..." Unsurprisingly to me, 85% of participants selected the answer "if boys weren’t teased and harassed so much about dancing."

However, some answers did surprise me. For example, in relation to the above question, 72% of boys answered "if parents were more supportive and encouraging", suggesting that parents were also influenced by the social dogma attached to male dancers.

It was also interesting to note that girls gain most of their support from parents, whereas male dancers cite best friends as their means of support.

Meaning and Perseverance - I found the way participants view themselves, and what motivates them, particularly thought provoking, with quotes from the boys like "Dance is nothing like sports, and male dancers know it", and that boys like to perform, like the physical challenge, but also that they relish the self-expression and creativity of dance.

I also found it interesting that what motivates boys and girls are similar - self-expression, performance and creativity. I had expected boys to choose the competitiveness or athleticism, but I was happy to be proved wrong.

Risner suggests that the historical method of recruiting and engaging boys by promoting dance in a more sports-like manner is unfounded.  Boys are proud to be recognised as dance artists rather than falsely dressing it up as being an athlete.

It would appear that boys struggle in dance because of cultural limitations but that if they can overcome the stigma attached they are attracted not by athleticism but by the creativity of dance.


  1. Thanks for this Betty - this looks like it would be helpful to learning about this issue - it is a good exercise to see what others have said and they be able to tell others about what they were trying to say. I just saw your comment on an older blog of mine - you know that the draft is due now - the date for feedback is up on the Libguide - so send to your adviser for written feedback.

  2. Thanks Paula, I appreciate your comment, I found it a really difficult article to review, but was so interesting.
    I have sent a rough draft in to Rosemary.