There is a pandemic besides Covid-19 in South Africa. Gender Based Violence - or GBV.

There are many socio-economical reasons for this but I’m not an expert, so I won’t comment. With the movement called #MenAreTrash or #AllMenAreTrash, women are calling out men (especially the #MeToo movement) and saying that we are all responsible for what other men do; if it’s truly a pandemic, then we should all know someone who does it and therefore, we can address it as well as speak out and act against it.

What I’ve decided is that I will contribute to a more positive narrative around this and that I will actively do something in my area of influence to combat this scourge on our society.

One of my major areas of influence is the Dance Industry.

Not only was I a dancer for decades, but I also teach and choreography dance and run a dance studio - with other males influenced by me. Not as many males as I would like, mind you, but every one of them is special to me. I see every student (and teacher) as my offspring and try to be a positive role model to them at all times. We speak about these ‘taboo’ topics and we address them head on because I believe that things that are hidden or secret are not always positive. So, we bring them into the light and we discuss them openly.

There is a stigma attached to males dancing. It is thought that boys or men who dance are effeminate. That is entirely untrue. Creativity and expression should not be confused with sexuality. Throughout human history, men AND women have expressed themselves physically through dance. Men can move with women and experience a moment, a connection, a dance and enjoy it - without it becoming a sexual expression. Touch is one of our senses. Dancing engages not only touch when dancing with another person, but sight, hearing - but smell should perhaps be left off the dance floor - unless it’s a lovely fragrance. I will not comment on taste…

Modern society has given couple dancing a ‘bad rep’ to some degree. Just a few decades ago in South Africa we had dance parties - where gentlemen and ladies dressed up and cavorted with each other in the age-old tradition of seduction. There are countless movies and references to reference if you need proof thereof. In my opinion, we need to get back to those days - where we can train up young boys and men to enjoy what the body can do in a fun, respectful way. And, by extension, enjoy what the opposite gender can do with their bodies - without sexualising it.

All cultures have both men and women dancing, but there is nothing quite like couple dancing. There is almost an ethereal experience when all stars align and you dance with a great partner. Nothing compares to a moment shared on the dance floor. To this day, in many cultures, couple dancing is an art form like no other: think of Salsa, Argentine Tango, Kizomba, Ballroom, Sokkie

Who doesn’t appreciate Antonio Banderas doing a sensual and passionate Tango in the movie Take The Lead or get mesmerised by Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez doing the Waltz in Shall We Dance? Derek Hough, as a Latin dance specialist, has become quite a revelation as a male dancer on Dancing With The Stars, USA and World Of Dance television series - don’t get lost on YouTube watching him move ;-)

What women wouldn’t love her guy to grab her and live out her fantasy of putting on music and dancing in the kitchen? Your grandparents probably did it…

To bring it closer to home and to reality, many parents nowadays don’t encourage their sons to dance. Why this is, is beyond me. They can do it for the social skills and interaction, the exercise, a means of expression, and for many other reasons. I know of few parents who wouldn’t want this for their boys (instead of staring at screens during their recreational time). As far as careers go, there are many men from South Africa who have gone on to be very successful in their dance work. Dance doesn’t have to be your career, mind you, but I am pointing out that it is a feasible and viable option. Male dancers from South Africa who have amazing careers are Gregory Nqoma (Contemporary), Andile Ndlovu (Ballet), Iain MacDonald (Ballet) to name but a few. From a Latin and Ballroom industry perspective, there are World Superstars from South Africa. Do yourself a favour and look up Johannes Radebe, Cameron Lombard, Keoikantse (Keo) Motsepe, Darren Hammond, Dylon Daniels and many more…

We will be featuring a Male Dancer on our social media channels over the coming weeks so watch out for some wonderful interviews and insights from our home grown talent.

I am looking forward to welcoming more boys and men into our studios this year because it is one way that I can make a difference to positively influence not only current culture, but the future generations. Come join us on this journey.

Thank you for reading, Quintus Jansen

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