Ballet In the City wants the community to know that it’s OK for guys to dance, too.
The nonprofit will provide Master Ballet classes Feb. 12 for both male and female dancers, along with Guys Dance Too class. Guys Dance Too classes are exclusively for males of all age or ability and are even taught solely by male dancers. Dance styles range from traditional ballet to hip hop.
Jessica Wallis, founder and executive director of the organization, says that boys are reluctant to dance. They can’t relate or might be teased because dance and ballet are commonly accepted as female-oriented.
Male-exclusive dance classes are growing in the nation. With increased attendance, Ballet In The City is experiencing growth in the organization’s own Guys Dance Too classes as well.
Ballet in the City, headquartered in Cuyahoga Falls, arranges for professional dancers from all over the nation and the world to come to Northeast Ohio and other regional areas. These top-dancers both exhibit performances and teach professional dance classes, or Master Ballet classes, to youth.
On Feb. 12, both a Guys Dance Too class and a Master Ballet class will be held at Kent State University. The Master Class will take place at The Kent State University Center for the Perfoming Arts, 1325 Theatre Dr. in Kent.
The dance classes are taught by professional dancers and are separated into two sections: ages 8 through 12 and ages 13-plus.
For info on classes, visit www.balletinthecity.org/programs-and-events.html.
In addition to providing professional dance classes, Ballet in the City, collaborating with The American Ballet Theatre, also annually awards two $400 scholarships to African-American dancers. These scholarships provide an opportunity to attend the American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensives and are now given to one male and one female dancer.
“It is important that everyone can feel like they can do ballet,” Wallis said.
Applications for the scholarship are accepted through March 1. To support the scholarship, a special coffee blend may be purchased on their website, and all proceeds go toward the scholarship.
Ballet In The City was founded in 2012 and moved to the Akron area in April of last year.
“It probably was the best thing we could’ve done,” Wallis said. “It felt like coming home.”
Wallis is an alumni of The University of Akron and lives in the Akron area. Even with the move, she said that it is challenging to keep the organization going.
“We’re proud to have made it five years, and we’re looking forward to the years ahead,” she added.
For dance class tickets, scholarship applications and more information, visit balletinthecity.org.