Ballet dancing is still considered popular

When boys dance ballet

Ballet demands the whole body, Mats and Richard (right) didn't imagine it that way. (Photo: Thilo Schmülgen)

Mats and Richard walk through the bright room with the large mirrors on the wall and collect mushrooms. Both of them carry a large cork building block in their hands - this is their basket. But the mushrooms they collect are not real. They are girls who represent the mushrooms. They wear white tights and ballet dresses. We are visiting a ballet lesson in the dance studio 60/30 in Cologne-Nippes, the children are practicing their dance for the big performance on the weekend. The fact that two guys are dancing here is extraordinary. We spoke to Mats and Richard.

Why are the two boys dancing ballet?

Sometimes the girls can get too much for you, but otherwise Richard thinks his group is great! (Photo: Thilo Schmülgen)

Girls dance ballet, boys play soccer. “Not true!” Says Mats. The eight-year-old has been dancing ballet for three years. He has training once a week. “My big sister also dances here and said I should come with you,” he says. Then he enjoyed dancing so much that he stayed.

It was similar with Richard (8). He wanted to dance ballet in kindergarten, but didn't start until he was six. One year after Mats, the two didn't know each other before and also go to different schools. When Richard came into the group, Mats was very happy. “Before that, I was the only boy that felt pretty alone,” says Mats. Otherwise only eleven girls dance in the group.

How about the girls

Isn't it exhausting to be in a group with so many girls? Mats and Richard look at each other, then slowly nod and admit: "Yes, the girls are annoying sometimes." The girls would be just so loud. You can also tell when the teacher Analena Schwarz discusses with the children which costumes they will wear for the performance. The two boys are given blue and white striped trousers and hats, which they try on in silence.

But when the girls see their white glitter dresses and the red hats they are supposed to wear as mushrooms, they are completely excited, squeak and giggle. Teacher Analena has to calm the girls down. Only then can they practice the dance again - this time in costumes. Mats and Richard often make different movements than the girls: first one group of girls jumps, then the second, then the two mushroom pickers crawl between the rows.

And in class?

Two boys - so many girls! How does it feel when guys do ballet? (Photo: Thilo Schmülgen)

The two boys have special roles in dance - but not in class. “We do the same exercises as the girls,” says Mats. When warming up, everyone has to cross step to the beat of the music, stand at the bar or stretch their legs. “The part on the pole is the most strenuous,” says Mats. "Especially when we have to put the leg on the bar to stretch it." Richard thinks that's okay.

“The worst part is always having to stretch your feet,” says Richard. Ballet is a strenuous sport in general, both think. "After the lesson, I'm always really thirsty," says Richard. The fact that so few boys dance ballet doesn't bother them at all. They don't talk to their friends about it, it doesn't matter. Oh and by the way: Mats and Richard also play soccer - in the schoolyard with their classmates.

The performance of the dance studio 60/30 takes place on Saturday (5 p.m.) and on Sunday (2 p.m.) in the Bergischer Löwen in Bergisch Gladbach. The tickets can be bought before the performance, they cost 17 euros for adults and 13 euros for children.

BY ANGELA SOMMERSBERG

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