As I entered the Broadway Dance Center the other day, ready to take my first ballet class in 18 years, old college
memories came rushing back to me.
A vision of Baryshnikov danced in my head
In 1981, during my freshman year at Lewis & Clark college, my friend Marc told me
we would "definitely pick up some chicks" if we enrolled in a ballet class.
All it took was one look at the school's ballet teacher a beautiful woman
with sculpted legs and long, amber hair to convince me Marc was telling the
truth. The women on campus also seemed impressed by a man confident enough in his
sexuality to wear tights.
But there was one factor I hadn't accounted for: Marc, being the school's
star hurdler, had a distinct advantage over me in the ballet-as-vehicle-for-impressing-women arena. While I had just blown out my knee running cross country, Marc could stretch his long, muscular legs in a straight line up past his head. The conclusion? He won the teacher's
I don't remember much else from the class besides a few of the basic
positions first, second, fifth and the teacher saying "Class, look at
Marc! Try to do it as well as Marc!"
Flash forward. I am now in the dance class, trying to give a "guy's
perspective" on ballet is this something a guy's guy would do to get in
shape? The editors at FoxNews.com wanted to know. Well, I'm not sure I'm a
guy's guy, but I know I wouldn't do it.
For one, it's the culture. When I walked in the other day, the Broadway
Dance Center was full of young twentysomething girls sitting in the common
room, attentively watching their well-memorized scenes from A Chorus
Line. "I want to dance! Let me dance for you!" Sorry, I
would rather go to a bar and smoke, and that wouldn't be getting in the
The class I took was beginner's basic ballet. But it definitely felt more like an advanced class, or a class for dancers. I couldn't get it. Do what when,
and how? I did work up a sweat, but it was mostly from humiliation and
I could see it being fun, but then again, why not try swing dancing for a
little aerobic exercise? Even the centering/posture/alignment benefits
of ballet could be more easily wrought from yoga or tai chi.
And is it a good place to meet women? Maybe I'm just getting older,
but the chickadees seemed a bit like hatchlings to me.