And when I think about masculinity in dance, I think “hypermasculinity” because I constantly hear people talk about how a “man” should dance. A lot of the time I’m like, “that’s why so many of them look stiff.”
I think we live in a time where a more honest idea of masculinity can be presented in ballet. But for now, 90 percent of my favorite dancers are women just because it seems like they’re “allowed” to be willowy and fluid as often as they want, which is my favorite way to move. (See Ghrai Devore from Ailey.)
Why do I dance? I dance because dance lets me express all the things that music and writing and any other artistic outlet that I explore won’t let me say. It’s taught me a lot about myself. It has taught me that I am often insecure when I don’t need to be. I can stunt myself.
But in realizing that, it’s taught me to be comfortable with just putting things out there and hoping for the best, and watching it flourish or–in a lot of cases now–just knowing that something I do, even if it’s not exactly what I want to be, will be in some respect, beautiful, important, and valid in some way or another.
When I’m on stage, I feel like whoever happens to notice me, hopefully, is gaining some sort of perspective on the passion that we just can’t help but display no matter what piece you’re dancing, no matter the length of it, or what the feel is. Hopefully, somebody gets the emotional message that’s coming through and sees the dedication and hard work that has gone into it and admires it. And, I don’t know, in some way is inspired to carry something like that in their own day-to-day life in whatever they do.