In a Newsweek article by Sascha Radetsky, he writes, reflecting on the male dancer in today’s society, “ My business attire is a pair of tights. All right, there it is. I wear makeup onstage, and some of my colleagues are gay. Can we move on now? Can we leave behind the tired male-ballet-dancer stigma—that ballet is not a masculine pursuit—in order to move toward an appreciation of the athleticism and artistry involved in this line of work?”
He continues, “In our culture, girls are encouraged to take ballet; boys receive no such endorsement, except of course from ballet teachers or exceptionally supportive parents. The boy who perseveres in dance must have a genuine hunger for it, must be uniquely motivated and dedicated, and must develop a truly thick skin.”
Even in today’s society where social mores have been expanded and gender roles challenged, a stigma still remains for the male dancer when it comes to the public’s perception. In an effort to challenge our preconceived notions, dance photographer, Brian Mengini created a new web site Barre Boys, offering a glimpse into the world of the male in ballet, from an entirely new perspective. The site features some of the brilliant male dancers in ballet of our time, as well as a series of fascinating stories, interviews and photographs.
Bringing this site to life, Mengini in conjunction with National Dance Week, is producing an evening of men in dance. The goal of this event is to celebrate and promote the contributions and achievements of the male dancer. Featured dancers for the evening are Meredith Rainey (former soloist from Pennsylvania Ballet), Alex Crozier Jackson of Ballet Fleming, Eng Matthews (Eng Matthews and Friends), Charles Tyson, Jr (Underground Dance Works), Itolah Byrd, Tommie-Waheed Evans (Philadanco), X-Hale Dance Company, and Sergio Alvarez (Roxy Ballet).
Barre Boys “Men In Dance” will be held on April 23rd at the Performance Garage, 1515 Brandywine St, Philadelphia. Doors open at 7pm for an exhibit of images by dance photographer Brian Mengini followed by the performance at 8pm. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at danceboxoffice.com.
For more information, visit www.barreboys.com
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