Dancers sending out SOS for male partners
ANKARA - Anatolia News AgencyTurkey’s competitive dance teams are struggling to enter contests due to a lack of men willing to partner with female dancers out of a deep-seated cultural prejudice toward the sport, according to leading dancers.
“It is hard to change the ideas of people who have come to a certain age and who received a certain education,” Anatolia news agency reported Star Dance Sports Club President İpek Yavuzer as saying Jan. 3.
There are 3,100 licensed dancers in Turkey, 1,625 of whom are women and 1,475 of whom are men. As a result, 150 female dancers are regularly unable to compete at competitions for want of a male partner. The reason for the lack of male recruits is the traditional Turkish family structure, Yavuzer said.
“Our families do not encourage boys to dance in Turkey because of the prejudice against it,” she said. “That’s why we have hard times finding proper partners for our girl students.”
Yavuzer, however, said the increasing popularity of shows like “Dancing with the Stars” and other similar TV-based dance competition shows was increasing interest in the sport.
“Seeing famous people dancing on the stage may change the general idea but we are still having hard times finding partners,” she said.
“When dancing with a partner, the elegance of women is revealed with the look of the male partner. This is a dance which should be made with two people,” said Yavuzer, who was also the champion of Turkey’s Adult Dance Competition 2011.
Noting the wide gap in the numbers of dancers from the two genders, Yavuzer said, “This is problem and our Youth and Sports Minister Suat Kılıç may start new initiatives and projects to encourage men to dance.”
An alternative solution could be to begin dancing courses in schools as this might end ingrained prejudices, she said. “At least we can make a new generation love dance,” she added.
“As dancing clubs and teams, we make exclusive projects to attract men to the sport of dancing. We try to tell them that this is a sport right off the bat. We visit schools and we try to make them love dancing,” she said but noted the increasing gap between the genders each year.
“It is hard to change the ideas of people who have come to a certain age and who received a certain education,” Yavuzer said.
“Dancing is sport both for men and women. This is a sport such as gymnastics or football. Dancing may lead to a healthier body and social development of a child,” she said in a call to families.
Way of socializing
Noting that if families should nurture a love of dance if they realize their children have an aptitude for the sport, Yavuzer said: “We, as dancers, work out at least two hours a day. This will also develop the physical condition of a person.”
Dancing also has a social part, she said. “When two people dance, they also socialize. This is a sport which needs a lot of patience and physical conditioning.”
Architect Yiğit Dündar, a dancer at the Star Dance Sport Club, also commented on the subject, saying most Turkish families led their male children toward football.
“However, I have been dancing for almost seven years now, and I realized that there are few male dancers. However, the families should know dancing is the only sport which combines sports and aesthetics together. This is sport and an art at the same time,” he said.
“This is a cultural issue,” Dündar said. “Our families and culture create this trend. However, if they try this sport, they will see that there is no such prejudice in terms of dancing.”