Most teenage boys do not think that dance is for them. The physicality, competitiveness and energy of street dance, breakdancing or capoeira are attractive to some, and together show the popular face of dance for males, but generally the perception of dance amongst teenage boys is that it is the realm of girls.
Boys Dancing proves to boys and young men, through inspirational practice, that dance is most definitely for them.
Project partners recognise the massive balance towards girls’ participation and wish to provide the counterweight. They see clearly the undoubted benefits to boys of skill development, creative thinking and doing, teamwork, increase in self-esteem and self-confidence, decision making and the ability to co-operate.
Boys Dancing has clearly shown that when given the chance to tackle the physical, aesthetic, emotional and intellectual challenges of making dance, boys grasp the opportunity.
The Quiet Man Suite was the culmination of the Boys Dancing project resulting in the making of six dance films with young boys and men from across the region.
The Quiet Man Suite aims, through inspirational practice, and working closely with artists acting as confident and skilled male role models were to explore issues of masculinity, strength, sensitivity, independence and cooperation, and to challenge stereotypes, to prove to boys and young men that dance is most definitely for them. More specifically, and continuing the Boys Dancing themes, The Quiet Man Suite continued to promote the importance of social justice to young men, asking them to reflect on injustices throughout the world and consider what is right…what is wrong….or whether it just depends on which side of the window you look through. The boys had the opportunity to “speak out about the social injustices in the world today and consider the impact that a single person can have in prompting social change”.
Dance for film is a strong and growing art form but the making of dance films with boys in the community is extremely rare. The Quiet Man Suite placed the boys of the West Midlands in the forefront of that activity – hopefully inspiring others to follow their lead. Many people saw the films. Locally, each Local Authority partner mounted one large scale premiere screening for participants and families, each boy received a DVD copy for showing at home, each partner school or YP Centre received a DVD copy for showing in assemblies, websites, prize-givings, parents evenings and on lobby plasma screens. More widely the films were placed on the project microsite, partner websites, Vimeo and YouTube.
Boys Dancing hope that others working with young people in dance will be inspired by The Quiet Man Suite and will follow suit in giving boys and young men the chance to express themselves through this particular artform.
Boys Dancing, a Dancing for the Games project led by Warwick Arts Centre, reached 2,500 boys and young men.