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I'm a Manly Dancer.
Or Is That an Oxymoron?
By William Tolan   Fox News
NEW YORK — 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. .

Photo
Andre Vieira/Fox News Online
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 heart.

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 exercising spirit!

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 frustration.

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.