Boys who do ballet are gay. That's the stereotype that filmmaker Scott Gormley goes toe-to-toe with in his new documentary, Danseur.
The film follows several male dancers, some gay, some straight, and sensitively unfolds their relationships with that stereotype and others.
Gormley also confronts the extreme level of bullying that they face. He shares why it was important for him to deal with this issue:
"I’ve spent the last two years creating a documentary about the struggles that young men face when they choose to dance ballet ― when they choose to thumb their nose at what boys “should do.” While directing and producing Danseur, I’ve seen over and over again the clear-cut lines we draw as a society around what boys “should” and “shouldn’t” do. I’ve interviewed more than two dozen dancers, and their stories are heartbreakingly similar. Verbal abuse. Physical abuse. Assault. Researcher Doug Risner of Wayne State University found that nearly 96 percent of all boys who dance have faced verbal and/or physical assaults from their peers, ultimately driving many young danseurs from the studio.
True happiness, we’re so often told, comes from doing what you love. That’s the advice we get from buttons, T-shirts, memes and the self-help industry. But in my son’s case, that advice should come with a big disclaimer: Doing what you love may cause you to be a social outcast, called a 'faggot,' physically assaulted by your peers, or generally ostracized by family and friends.
The boys who choose ballet really know what they love and want to do for the rest of their lives, and they have to fight to get it. It is inspiring to witness. We should all be so lucky."