What makes a man a “MAN”?
It’s a fact that young people today, are under more pressures than ever before, to excel not only academically, but socially, from the youngest of ages.
The internet has revolutionised their ability to study, giving access to learning, never before imagined, and the growth in popularity of social media sites, means that they can “talk to friends” all over the World…… 24/7. However, this opportunity to acquire knowledge and “be connected”, that the world wide web now offers, at the touch of a button, also presents a darker and more sinister side.
Constant images of “perfection” are freely available for them to measure themselves against; with numerous “apps” being created specifically to help enhance one’s physical appearance. This can have very negative results, for young people who don’t happen to fit into that stereotype of “perfection.” The relatively new concept of “cyber-bullying” is being constantly reported in the media especially, when it leads to tragic consequences, and ever increasingly, this applies to boys just as much as it does to girls. It would seem that men and boys are undergoing a gender identity crisis, and the incidence of male suicide is growing alarmingly as a result; it’s now the primary cause of death for men under the age of 45.
The pressure to look good, get a job, be popular, cope with debt, carve a career, provide for the family etc…..can often seem overwhelming and studies show that men have less of an ability to talk about such things, than women do. Young male dancers, in particular during their adolescence, often find themselves at the sharp end of this bullying phenomenon, and give up any hope, of a career in that profession accordingly.
A couple of weeks ago, we introduced you to the project, “Dance for Life“ that we are currently working on, in conjunction with Pianos, Pies and Pirouettes CIC. Its about introducing young people to the concept that movement through dance, in addition to participation in conventional sporting activities, can enhance their physical and mental well-being; but it’s also designed to help take away the stigma that its not manly to like to dance, beyond a seven year old sliding across the floor at his older sisters wedding!
That’s why we are so pleased to welcome to the stadium this Friday the young men below:-
Alan was born in the Scottish Highlands. He was first introduced to dance at age 16 after moving to Gordonstoun School. After two years of juggling both rugby and dance, Alan finally decided to train for four years at the Scottish School of Contemporary Dance, and Kingston University.
During this time he was a member of the Scottish Ballet Youth Exchange, and the National Youth Dance Company of Scotland; allowing him to perform across the UK, as well as exchange trips to Singapore, and Dance Bridges Festival in India.
He has been lucky enough to work with choreographers such as Yael Flexer, Matthew Bourne, Marc Brew, and Anna Kenrick.
Originally from Manchester, Josh began his dance training in 2010 at Pendleton College, going on to study at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. Josh joined Mapdance at the University of Chichester, where he studied for his MA in Dance Performance. During his time, Josh enjoyed working with Liz Aggis, Lee Drummer, Kevin Finnan, Abi Mortimer and Richard Alston.
Josh’s professional career began with teaching for Tavaziva Dance Company, and with the Stride project led by Dance Manchester and Company Chameleon. Josh has performed in works by Iain Stringer Works, Ruth Jones, Wired Aerial Theatre, Glasshouse, Gary Rowntree and Plan B Productions.
Josh has recently; performed in Chile with Wired Aerial Theatre, on R&D with Zoielogic and in the opera production of ‘Carman’ in Bregenz, Austria. Josh also worked with Fallen Angels Dance Theatre and toured ‘Acts of Recovery.’
TROOPER ALEXANDER SMITH
Alex was brought up in Cwmbran, Wales and started dancing at the age of six. As a child he was an associate of the Royal Ballet and Tring Park. He studied dance full time at Jason Thomas Performing Arts (Cornwall) and Northern Ballet (Leeds) before deciding to join the Army.
Alex is a Trooper with the Welsh Cavalry, 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards and is currently stationed in Norfolk where he drives a jackal armored vehicle. Alex is currently being seconded by The Army to appear in Rosie Kay Dance Company’s 5 SOLDIERS on tour in the UK, Denmark and USA.
You see boy dancers don’t always fit our preconceived ideas.
We are also honored to be entertaining representatives of State of Mind Sports and Healthier Heroes, two charities who help men, from sporting and military backgrounds cope with the pressures of modern living and to realise that it’s OK to be sad, Its okay to get depressed and feel down and ITS OKAY TO WANT TO DANCE…..Recognize the symptoms, in yourself and others, talk about it to your mates and then do something about it.