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The challenges that young women go through in order to be successful in the world of dance are well known. However, little is known about the experiences of young men who choose to take dance classes in non-professional settings.
Dancing Boys is one of the first scholarly works to demystify the largely unknown challenges of adolescent males in dance. Through an ethnographic study of sixty-two adolescent male students, Zihao Li captures the authentic stories and experiences of boys participating in dance classes in a public high school in Toronto. Accompanied by the boys’ artwork and photographs and supported by a documentary-style video, the study explores their motivations for dancing, their reflections on masculinity and gender, and the internal and external factors that impact their decisions to continue to dance professionally or in informal settings. With the author’s reflections on his own journey as a professional dancer woven throughout, Dancing Boys will spark discussion on how and why educators can engage adolescent males in dance.