Trying to end the stigma

The SHS dance team hopes more guys will consider joining


Skylar Greulich

Alex Torres (middle), Lucy Kautsky (second to right) and the rest of the dance team stand at ready position during practice in the parking lot on Aug. 31. The team hasn’t had a male member since 2012.

Dancing can be a way for people of any shape or form to express themselves. Dancing doesn’t fit into a specific stereotype, yet the SHS dance team seems to struggle with the stigma that the team is only available to girls, even though that isn’t the case. So the big question is, why don’t guys join the dance team?

“The stigma in high school is because it’s associated with being overly feminine and some guys, as much as they would love to dance, they would rather not,” SHS dance team coach Jessi Walpole said. “Maybe because they’re afraid of what their peers might say or think, because in high school that means a lot.”

Although Walpole would love to see more guys on the team, she understands that it may take time before guys are fully comfortable with that idea. With that in mind, many still hope to see a guy on the team in the near future.

“I would feel so happy if a guy would push himself and actually join the team,” said junior Alexandra Torres, a dance team member. “It would be so eye opening to so many people.”

Since taking over as head coach, Walpole has only had two guys join her team, and she absolutely loved it when they did. She said they brought so much energy, and she wishes she saw that more.

The team members agree.

“I think having a guy would add so much more to the team,” sophomore Lucy Kautsky said. “I feel like a lot of guys who don’t join would actually enjoy it if they did.”

But, Kautsky also understands why more guys don’t want to join.

“A lot of people at our school are judgemental, and they’re probably just scared to join,” Kautsky said.

When it comes to the actual dances, Walpole does understand that some of the moves are more “feminine,” but if a guy would join the team, Walpole says she would be completely open to modifying the routine as well as the uniforms.

Walpole says as the years have passed, SHS students have become much more accepting of things such as pronouns. But, when it comes to gender equality on the dance team, many lose sight of what’s important.

Walpole says students should focus on what they enjoy doing, instead of letting the opinions of others stand in the way of doing something they love.

“The cultures shifting here and there are so many things we have been accepting of,” Walpole said. “But with things like this, it seems like we’re still stuck in the dark ages.”

Although Walpole and team members would love to see more guys on their team, they understand that joining is a large commitment. The team also hopes to see more changes in the future when it comes to dance.

“At this age, what you think matters more than what someone else thinks,” Walpole said. “So if you have a passion for something, there shouldn’t be anybody’s thoughts, words or opinions that should stand in your way.”