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Dance project challenges stereotypes for young men

  • Date: 15 August 2014
  • Artform: Dance
  • Area: Midlands
Six boys floating in the air in a line Working on the dance for Hanger, Mark Anderson infuseDANCE, Boys Dancing Shropshire County Council project

Dance artists were commissioned to work with young men in schools, youth centres, after school clubs and prisons as part of the Grants for the arts funded Boys Dancing project.

Boys Dancing aims to prove that young men can dance and that dancing is exciting, fun and challenging. It requires physical strength and discipline and provides a great workout for both body and mind. Over 2,500 young men across the West Midlands have been involved in the exciting project to date.

It was initially supported by the Legacy Trust and Arts Council through grants totalling £100,000 as part of the Cultural Olympiad during 2012. Boys Dancing received an additional £100,000 through Grants for the arts. This built on the success of previous projects in Shropshire and got more young men dancing.

Funding also led to a dance film called Release Date, shot at Stoke Heath Young Offenders Institution. The film explored what coming out of prison would mean to them. It gave those less comfortable at verbally expressing themselves a safe way to share their feelings through dance about their time in prison.

One young man who took part in the Boys Dancing project said: 'Dancing is my passion. It's the best thing that's happened to me. Being a lad, there's not enough opportunities for dancing. But with this project, all different styles and all different types of boys can come together and start dancing together, and meet new friends.'

Alexa Pugh, Arts Officer in Shropshire said: 'Schools now have an even better understanding of dance, the role it can play within the national curriculum and in developing the skills, confidence and experience of young men and boys.'

Boys Dancing project aims to promote this model, practice and ethos, to boys and young men across other English regions in the future.

To find out more about this exciting project, head to the Boys Dancing website

For more information about Grants for the arts, see artscouncil.org.uk/gfta

For further advice, phone 0845 300 6200 or email enquiries@artscouncil.org.uk