Breaking stereotypes

Kyle Magennis 

Photo by: Emily Dee

Kyle Magennis Photo by: Emily Dee

Bianca Kroll

Dancers walk in on the gym floor, the audience watches as they walk in and take their positions. As everyone looks around they notice as boy dancers have taken the floor with the girls. Despite being in all the same costumes, the boys stick out from the team.

   Kyle Magennis, a former West Ottawa High School student can talk about how being involved in dance has been interesting and changed him. 

  Males are typically not known to perform on a dance team. People will look at them as unusual and something that nobody should do. They say comments that can make them feel uncomfortable or even feeling deep down depressed. 

   Magennis said he started dancing at the age of 8 years old with the Avalon School of Arts. He started in an all-boys dancing class. Dancing at a young age was definitely a fun experience. “I’m just a kid dancing,” Magennis said. Being in a class with boys, he felt as if he belonged somewhere and knew that he wanted to continue. He said how he felt in the norm with being with other boys until he finally joined the girls.

   Magennis felt interested in dancing when he was watching his sister dance in a performance. He knew when watching her that he could see himself doing the same hobby. Also going to a musical called Music Man inspired him to really sink in certain genres of dance. It helped him to discover that tap dancing was the type of dance that he knew he wanted to do. He found an interest in dance and wanted to learn. He even said that when he joined the team in high school, a boy previously on the team encouraged him. He since then has been dancing for 9 years at Avalon and at West Ottawa. 

   During the springtime of freshman year, Magennis auditioned for the dance team in the year 2018. He remembers specifically learning the dance in a group with girls in the dance room.  He also was given videos to watch at home to learn the dance and really practice hard. He practiced a lot to make sure he knew what to do. As he danced with the group of girls, he already knew what team he was gonna make judging his own performance. To his surprise when they reached his name they led him to stand with the Varsity team and not the Junior Varsity team as he thought he was gonna make.

   Of course with being in dance and on a dance team in high school, Magennis had his struggles with fitting in the crowd. Magennis said that “Yeah, I am a guy and I’m on the dance team.” Magennis always knew that people noticed that a guy was dancing with girls on the team. He was often judged by those who didn’t really understand him.  Magennis said one comment he got was “You’re on the dance team. Wow you’re gay.” With hearing comments like that he never understood why people felt that way. People shouldn’t assume a males sexual orientation based on what he chooses to do. He also had mental roadblocks of thinking that he can’t do dance and he isn’t where he belongs. “Fitting in an area where you stick out,” Magennis said, he knew that he could fit that role. Past every judgment and hardship he danced his heart out and learned to be more of himself.

   More struggles that he faced was not being able to do everything that the girls could do. “I am not as flexible as they are,” Magennis said. Most girls are flexible and are able to really move in many ways. He always asked himself, can I do the trick? or can I do this for myself? Doing particular tricks can be a struggle and a hard block in doing something for everyone. Most girls were able to do tricks when asked and knew how to do the trick. Magennis said,“The best you can do is try.”

   The team has many girls of course, meaning that there are many emotions to encounter. Magennis said that he interacted with all kinds of emotions. He interacted with many people on the team and in general. He said that many of those girls helped him to realize more and more of the world. He realized as his emotions started to change his behavior did as well. He became more with the females and judged that he understood so well. 

   Looking at charts it’s not widely known that males do dance. According to Data USA, in the year 2019 there are only 8,879 male dancers professionally. Compared to the 28,147 who are female dancers that dance professionally. It’s a huge difference and definitely shows how there really aren’t many male dancers. Also showing that maybe some males feel as if they will be judged and that they can’t dance. 

   Males who dance definitely face the conflicts of how to try to fit in. Even thinking that a male is a certain sexual orientation just because he chooses to do something that most males may not engage in. Let’s open our eyes to the world and allow males to feel like they belong. Open our minds and hearts. Pull out the positivity of everything that people do in their lives.

   Male dancers in dance are looked at and judged in all kinds of ways. May be a struggle to try and express oneself when people stereotype and think that males shouldn’t be doing dance. Let’s normalize boys and girls wanting to dance together as a group. Let’s break those stereotypes.