Dance: an inclusive sport


Sara Entezarmahdi

Last year, when freshman Rhea Karandikar filled out her course selection form as a freshman, she was forced to mark down the numbers: 2-8-1-0.

It wasn’t an option which had particularly appealed to her, but when she was given the choice between a weightlifting class vacant of any signs of girl-friends and a class which “all girls take,” it was inevitable that she would go with the latter.

Karandikar took PE Dance her sophomore year. On the first day of her fourth period class, there was a total of 30 girls, give or take a few. As for boys, there was a total of one — a Teacher’s Aid by the name of Ethan Yao.

“There’s a subconscious sexism,” said Yao when asked why he thinks there is such a high male-female imbalance. “[People assume] dance in mainly for women.”

Search up “Is dance girly?” and Google presents an array of articles iterating how dance is not a ‘girl exclusive’ sport and that boys should partake in such classes. This call to action is nothing new.

Photo used with permission of Rhea Karandikar

Although that call to action has been passed on from correct one politically article to another, the results in MVHS’ dance classes and teams barely shows progress in instating dance as a male inclusive sport.

“I think a lot of boys don’t even have the thought of taking dance cross their minds,” said Karandikar. “But there are definitely some [people] who want [to take the class or sport] but don’t [because of the feminine label it’s perceived to have.]”

Karandikar wasn’t at all surprised when her class ended up only having Yao as a male presence.

“I expected there would be [no boys] because I figured boys wouldn’t sign up,” Karandikar said.  “It’s seen as very feminine and a lot of boys are afraid of the reactions from their peers.” 

Yao didn’t think how ‘a lot of boys’ did.

“I don’t really care about what other people say,” Yao said. “Whether they say ‘guys have to do this, girls have to do that,’ I just want to do what makes me happy, so I took dance.”

“It’s important [that] guys have the ability to take dance without fear of judgment, something I think many [MVHS] students are afraid of,” Karandikar said. “They should just do what they want.”