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Boys only company targets shortage of male dancers

(Photograph) - Danny Smith knows he has a battle on his hands to persuade boys to take up ballet.

But Danny, 17, (pictured above practising for a performance of Swan Lake at the Specialist Schools Trust's arts conference earlier this month) has founded a company with 17 other boys to do just that.

Danny said: "It's amazing to see the pupils' enthusiasm after just two hours with us."

The Homewood Boys Dance Company, was formed from pupils from Homewood school in Tenterden, Kent, two years ago.

The school helped to set up and finance the company. The company believes that it is important to target boys when they are young - and without the "embarrassment" of girls being present.

So it has set up two-hour workshops for Year 5 and 6 boys at around 10 neighbouring primaries.

The pupils do stretching exercises and are introduced to dance moves and techniques. At the end of the session, the boys perform a choreographed dance routine based on popular themes, such as Star Wars.

"We hate dancing with girls but I did not feel embarrassed just with boys," said Kieran Doody, aged 10. And his friend Zak Owen, also 10, said: "It was great without the girls."

Other pupils who took part in the classes and are now at the secondary school have continued to enjoy dancing.

Alex Hellyar, PE co-ordinator for St Michael's primary, Tenterden, Kent, said: "There is a national shortage of male dancers. To solve this we need to get them involved from a young age."

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