Musical Theatre Classes in Brighton and Hove
by Emily Dauris
14th October 2016
Do you have a child who is a natural performer? Loves to sing and dance? Then our ‘ShowBugs’ musical theatre classes in Brighton and Hove could be perfect for them!
Jittabugs’ ShowBugs musical theatre classes in Brighton and Hove teach the basic techniques and styles for Charleston, Rock and Roll, Jazz, Tap and other many more genres of dance. We also work on vocal projection for singing and learn song and dance routines. All of this is to music from top broadway shows, west-end shows and Disney musicals from Mary Poppins to Saturday Night Fever.
This musical theatre class teaches many vocal and dance skills, but is mostly about fun, confidence building and self expression.
Join us at Bird Studios in Brighton every Thursday at 4-5pm for ages 4-7 years. Or every Saturday, we are at BHASVIC theatre at 10.20-11.20am for ages 5-9 years.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book or find out more at our Brighton and Hove classes page.
Where are the Boys in Ballet?
by Emily Dauris
8th September 2016
What do you picture when you hear the word ballet? – Tutus? The Sugarplum Fairy? Pointe Shoes? Little girls running around on tip-toes? These are common images that have become synonymous with the art form and perhaps one of the reasons that still so many more girls have studied ballet in their lives than boys in ballet.
It has been 6 months now I have been a Ballet Teacher for children in the Brighton, Hove and Portslade area and I currently teach over 50 children per week from 2 – 9 years. Guess how many are boys! I’m sorry to say that not a single one is.
I was well aware when I started Jittabugs Brighton & Hove that the majority of the children in our Ballet and Boogie classes would be girls but I have been shocked to have had just the one boy attend in over 6 months. To be fair there have been far more boys attend our younger class for 18 months – 3 years, in fact often there have been more boys than girls. So what is happening as they get older that is discouraging them from ballet?
But whose choice is it really at this age? It’s not that the boys are coming to ballet and not enjoying it, it is that next to no enquiries for boys come through, let alone bookings. Do we, as mentioned in the opening of this article, just not think of ballet when we think of activities for our boys?
The release of the film Billy Elliot in 2000 sparked a rise in boys in ballet with the intake of boys into the Royal Ballet school surpassing that of girls for the first time in 2002. Actually, while this is an article about the lack of boys doing ballet, there has been a massive increase in recent years in the number of males training to become ballet dancers, and the male roles have got better too; more prominent. Although men have been present in ballet since the 14th century it is true their key role was to ‘show off the women’, even more so as tutus and pointe shoes were introduced. However, pioneer male dancers who used ballet to showcase strength and masculinity, men who when they danced with female ballerinas danced with them instead of ‘presenting them’ and others who toned down the ‘dramatic’ elements of it and focused on discipline and precision of their movements began to change the way men were used in dance. The press have also given more exposure to male ballet dancers such as Sergei Polunin and Carlos Acosta, putting them in the public eye and even marking them as potential icons for future dancers.
So why is it still predominantly girls in children’s ballet classes?
Perhaps boys come to ballet later, when they discover it for themselves? It does help though, as with sport, to start young, especially as if you did want to make a career out of it it would often be a short one. So maybe we as parents need to be suggesting ballet as an option to boys at a younger age? After all, building muscle and developing motor skills is very important for children and ballet is physically very demanding. It builds core strength and can help to burn off and tame that boisterous energy.
Dance, in all forms is also about expression which I believe is one of the forgotten benefits of dance for children. Young children are just starting to learn about their emotions and working out how to control them and taking part in activities where they are encouraged to think about playing characters and moving in ways in which show how we are feeling is an excellent practical learning tool for this.
Of course there is a stigma about men dancing, especially something like ballet which is wrongly thought of often as feminine, and we want to protect our children. Nobody wants to risk their child being teased in any way and let’s face it – it is a possibility. I went through a stage at school of being told I was a swot. As quite a keen student I was often bullied for being a ‘teacher’s pet’ or other similar jibes. I know my parents never told me to stop putting my hand up in class though, or tried to discourage me from reading for pleasure. You wouldn’t dream of it would you? So how is that any different? It’s not really when you think about it.
The other problem is that it is a catch-22 really; because most ballet classes are predominantly girls and we can’t expect the boys not to pick up on that if they come along. Then of course this ‘sea of tutus’ could put them off coming again, but then it is the same for the next boy who comes along. So we have a way to go, and that is a major obstacle. Some ballet classes, yes, are geared more towards girls as well – lots of pink, fairy wings, etc. Jittabugs try not to get ‘too girly’. We have white tutus and props come in various colours and include things such as pirate flags. However, the longer the classes go without attendance from boys, the more tempting it is to indulge the girls in more female character based dance activities.
So should we create specific classes for boys in ballet? After all male dancers do do different things to female dancers so there is a technical purpose to this too. It would be a possible solution if I could be sure that enough boys would come along.
In this modern world we are opening so many doors for our girls – encouraging them to pursue their dreams, letting them know that they can do anything the boys can. We have girls playing football, learning IT, engineering, and all sorts of other previously thought-off ‘male’ interests. Maybe because women have had to fight for equality over the years we have become more used to it and even actively seek out ways in which to break the mould, or for our daughters to. Let’s start doing the same for our boys. Maybe they will discover something like ballet at some point later on and take it up? But since we are trying them out with football, or cricket or scouts, why not give dance a go too?
Written by Emily Dauris – Emily Dauris is a Dance Teacher at Jittabugs Theatre School in Brighton and Hove, who run ‘Ballet and Boogie classes around Brighton, Hove and Portslade for 2-10 years and are actively encouraging boys in ballet.