my mum works as a teaching assistant in a public school and teaches drama classes at a dance school on the side. at the public school, she noticed one little boy (who, by the way, comes from a deprived area and once she caught him trying to tape his shoes together because they were falling apart. i’ll call him ricky) on the stairs using the railing as a makeshift ballet barre and messing around doing ballet- and the thing is, he was actually really good. like, naturally without any training, he had beautiful posture and poise.
so my mum goes and talks to ricky about her dance school and that he should try the ballet class. he firstly says that he doesn’t have the money for it, which for a primary school kid to say is heartbreaking enough already, but he said that he didn’t want the other boys to make fun of him any more for being so ‘sissy’ and ‘girly’.
she ended up coaxing ricky to this class and he’s now got a ballet scholarship there. the head of the studio who teaches the class says he has “the most beautiful hands” and is a natural. and my mum still sees him practising on the stairs, but these times he is absolutely beaming. he tells her the next day after class how good it was and everything new he learned.
even retelling this makes me feel so happy. mum will gush to me in return about ricky’s progress in ballet and i only met the boy once during work experience. i just thought this might be a nice story to tell about unlearning gender roles. don’t be afraid to do something because society says you shouldn’t.