He wants them to know dance is a way to teach complex movements and expand knowledge about themselves and their bodies.
Male dancers, says Towson University associate professor of dance Vincent Thomas, should not be teased or targeted for jokes. He wants them to know dance is a way to teach complex movements and expand knowledge about themselves and their bodies.
Backed by funds from the Baltimore County Commission on Arts and Sciences, Thomas offers a residency with his VTDance, a studio geared to middle and high school student-athletes, potential and current dance students, and coaches.
The residency includes an all-male dance ensemble and a field trip to Towson University, where male students from Baltimore County schools can take his class, “Movement Enhancement in Men,” alongside TU students.
Since February, young men from Baltimore County Public Schools have been participating in this year’s program at TU, which aims to make the dancers feel more relaxed in an all-male environment.
“I want to promote support for young men in middle and high school who want to pursue dance as a lifestyle but do not have the opportunities or means to have a studio near them,” Thomas says.
Thomas has begun preparing and choreographing a performance for the BCPS County-Wide Fine Arts Dance Festival by an all-male troupe of middle and high school students from all over the Baltimore area. The all-male troupe will also practice at a series of rehearsals during February and March at TU, culminating in a performance at the TU Spring Dance Concert.
Thomas has choreographed many all-male performances in the past, including his well-known work, “In the Company of Men,” but he is most excited about the attitude and community he has established with his classes, which have grown in popularity through the years.
“In the beginning of my class, there were only about six students, and I only taught it one semester in the spring,” Thomas says. “The next semester there were 16 people.” Now, he offers two, 30-student maximum classes that have a waiting list.
Thomas’ goal is to reach as many young men as possible who express an interest in dance. He continues his research on new and innovative ways to help them realize dance is just as manly and athletic as football or rugby while sticking to his motto, “work hard and put your heart and soul into it.”