I was so thrilled to hear that a race horse – a female race horse at that – had come in second in the Associated Press’ Female Athlete of the Year award. Yes, thoroughbred filly Zenyatta, winner of this years Breeder’s Cup Classic, came in second, edged out by tennis star Serena Williams. A horse has never won the title.
What does this have to do with dance? Well, the fact that a horse – an animal – could be (in fact was) compared to human athletes got me to wondering…Have dancers ever been compared to human athletes? And what about our male dancers? Have they been compared to their counterparts who play other “sports”?
The other day at TDC, the kids performed in an in-house show. Julian was the only one to do a classical ballet solo. His was the shortest number as well. He danced Bluebird for all of about one minute and was just as winded as the girls who had danced for two or two and a half minutes. During his dance he did a number of “male moves” (that I can’t spell!) that involved jumping and turning. In fact, the whole solo was jumps and turns. Several parents commented on the physical nature of the solo.
I’d like to see a football or basketball player or a track star try that routine. Or rather, and more to the point, I’d just like to see male dancers recognized for the physical nature of what they do.
I’m amazed at how much strength it takes to partner a ballerina let alone to do the jumps and turns the male dancers perform. We sit in the audience and ooh and aah at the male dancers (ballet, jazz, tap, whatever…) perform, because we know what they are doing isn’t easy. In fact, it’s damn hard.
So, if a horse can be compared to human athletes…why not a male dancer to other human athletes?