This ballet class is a little different from most – it’s made up entirely of boys and young men.
Classical music fills a bright studio full of dancers. An instructor shouts “over-under…folded” and a group of graceful students practice their ballet steps.
However, this ballet class is a little different from most. It’s a class made up entirely of boys and young men.
Mick and Nancy Gunter founded Centralia Ballet Academy about 10 years ago in a small space about six blocks from their current location in downtown Centralia.
The school offers tap dancing, jazz, musical theater and ballet lessons for boys.
“When I was a kid, I wanted to do dance, but the opportunity never came. And so, I wanted to do a class like I would have wanted when I was their age,” Mick said. .
The boys-only class has been part of the school since the first year.
“We started the first year with five [male students] and then every year it just kept doubling, like gremlins or something,” Mick said.
Now there are about 50 guys in the program. And they are also a diverse group of young men; some are musical theater children, others go hunting and fishing with their fathers when they are not dancing.
“I guess I’m lucky to have grown up in a class with other guys and learned with my friends,” said dancer Joaxquyn Ruyz.
Mick said he wanted them to learn to be respectful of other dancers and build self-confidence while learning the classic art form.
“I just want them to be good young men.”