Unfair advantages to boys in dance and College Update

Note: if you are a male in the dance world reading this, sorry, but it’s all true. You better appreciate how good you have it.

Anyone in the dance world, and ballet especially being no exception, knows that boys are favored over girls. Straight to the pointe, yes, it is unfair. I’m not writing this to come to a point that tries to defend this in any way. In reality, I am here to tell you that even in college, this rule still applies.

As I have grown up learning to be a dancer, I have also learned to expect that boys are favored. In class, the boys did their combinations one or two at a time, while us girls went in groups of three to five. At competitions, we girls would groan if we were lumped into awards categories with the boys, and knew we were competing for second place if we were lucky, maybe third, but never first. With so few scholarships to summer programs, schools, and competitions, some of those I know I have no chance for because they can only be given to a boy.

Maybe my thinking was naive and I was fooling myself, I don’t know. But I had the thought that perhaps college might be more of an even playing field. But no, I was wrong. Anyone who has been reading my past posts knows that I have been applying to colleges and that I narrowed it down to Butler University and University of Cincinnati. (My post on my college application process until now can be found here.)  Well update! I have gotten good offers from both universities, but it is still not enough because since my mother is still paying back her student loans, we cannot take out that big a chunk for mine. So both universities told us to hold out to the last minute to see if some other money is freed up. So I still don’t know where I will be next year! Yay!

Back to the point. I was very upset to learn that even in college, boys have the upper hand. I am sure the same applies to some other schools as well, but I found out that Butler very rarely gives dance scholarships to girls, they reserve ninety percent of their money for boys. Of course, I found this out two days ago, and not when or before I auditioned. (And I will say that my mother and I were very impressed at how much they were up front about all their other information- but I suppose now this is why they didn’t like to talk much about their scholarships.) And the excuse from the school was the same as everywhere else: not as many boys audition as girls.

Okay, I’m sorry, that is not a good reason. When we are younger, sure, you want to keep boys interested in dance and get them past the phase where they might be bullied by ignorant youths. But at the college level? Those boys know if they are interested in dance, and in the school. They most likely have had to pay for very little of their dance training growing up. And I’m not saying all, but some of those families could probably afford the dance training. And here’s an idea: maybe some girls who want to go to these good schools actually need those scholarships to attend. Just a thought.

I’m not saying that I deserved a dance scholarship, although it was expressed to me how much they liked me for their programs. I’m not even saying that some boys aren’t deserving of scholarships. All I’m saying is that it is not right to set aside money only for boys, or only for girls. It’s sexist, just like a lot of things in the world, unfortunately. I just want scholarships to be given based on need and talent, simple as that.

To wrap this up: boys have an unfair advantage in dance, and if I ever hear a male dancer complaining about school or money or company offers or how something is unfair, I will get upset and think less of them. Also, I am not any closer to knowing where I’ll be next year: a bulldog or a bearcat.

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