Portraits of more than 40 male ballet dancers, by multi-award-winning photographer, Jayne Jackson, are on display in Lighthouse's Top Floor Gallery.  The project documents different interests and identities of the teen and pre-teen boys.

The work explores male identity in a poignant and positive series, where a large and varied group of skaters, footballers, musicians, tennis and basketball players are united by their love for ballet.  It challenges the toxic notion that boys interested should be limited to stereotypically male norms and behaviours, which is harmful to men and society as a whole.  In a world where ‘advertising, pop culture, and now toxic imagery is more accessible to young people through social media….young men are constantly confronted by toxic male culture and images of what it is to 'be a man'’ (Children’s Society 2021).  Positive representation is essential for empowering children to grow up and be who they want to be, unfazed by out-dated gender stereotypes.

Dance Principle, Natalie Pearl, who was awarded the 2020 RAD Project B Award for Innovation winner for teaching of Male Dance, explained ‘Here we are in 2021 how can we still be surrounded by out-dated stereotypes and stigma about boys? Boys will be Boys celebrates everything that is so incredible about boys dancing.  The power and strength of a generation of boys for whom dance is their passion on so many levels. My boys from First Position School of Dance and I are honoured to be a part of this awe inspiring and much needed project.’

The images are to be shown at Top Floor Gallery Lighthouse, Poole, from 19th October until end November 2021 as a solo exhibition, to coincide with National Boys Dance Day on 23rd October.

We know that, while you are considering booking tickets for this great show, you will be thinking about what we at Lighthouse are doing to keep you as safe as we can from COVID-19. You can find out all about our COVID-secure measures HERE. We can’t wait to see you soon.

“We believe that everybody can dance, and there should be no barriers or stigmas to prevent anyone from benefiting from being moved by dance. Jayne Jackson’s photographs strikingly represent RAD teacher Natalie Pearl’s wonderful students and how dance can be part of any of us. We are so inspired to see the personal fulfilment and accomplishment of them all displayed in this project. We join Ms. Pearl in proactively encouraging more male identifying dancers, and to increase accessibility and participation for all levels and ages.”

Gerard Charles, Artistic Director of the Royal Academy of Dance