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A plea to ballet teachers

Here is a quick plea to ballet teachers and those involved in casting children's ballet roles:

Please never cast a girl in a boy's role.

I have seen countless photos of Nutcracker party scenes where girls have been used to fill out the boys' parts. I've even seen girls playing Peter in Peter and the Wolf - a role that must surely be played by a boy.

If we are to sell ballet to boys by telling them that male ballet dancers are essential and that boys dance differently to girls (all true), how can we just turn round and use girls if we don't have enough boys?


I'm sure she dances beautifully
- but casting like this harms boys in ballet.

It is a small but very significant betrayal. Young boys see girls as a completely different species. They want to feel there are parts just for them - parts which are different. Being cast as a sailor when I was 5, for instance, when all the girls were flowers, is my first really exciting memory of ballet. Imagine how deflating it is for a boy trying to partner like a young man in the Nutcracker, to find a girl is having to 'step in' to make up the boys' numbers. (And, here's a thing, the audience know they're girls anyway, so you're not fooling anyone!)

She looks lovely
- but risks scaring off boys.
And please remember this, too: it's not just the other boys in the cast you are influencing - all the boys in the audience will pick up on it, too. Nothing is more likely to put them off trying a class than seeing girls doing the bits that should be taken by them - it makes ballet look so girly that even the boys are girls.

If you don't have enough boys there are two solutions:
1. Choose something different. Don't choose to dance Peter and the Wolf if you don't have a Peter.
2. Find some boys! Use this site if you need to, put out the word and get more boys dancing!

1 comment:

  1. I agree there is nothing more annoying than seeing a boy part go to waste, with that said it is not a sin to cast a girl as a boy in a small role. But it is quite unexceptable to cast a girl as a boy in a title role.

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