Eugene Ballet Academy is now offering free classes for boys and young men thanks to a generous donation from the parents of an Academy student.
Sara and Nadine Batya’s son, Rafael, has been a student of Eugene Ballet Academy for several years and his success and enthusiasm inspired them to support a boys program for others in the community.
“Our son developed a love for dance because of his engagement in music and musical theater,” Sara Batya said. “Seeing how difficult it is for our son to be one of a very few boys doing dance, we hope to open the door to more boys who want to go down that path.”
Sara and Nadine hope that by creating a boys program that is more accessible, it will interest boys who would stay with it longer.
Initially, three classes will be offered: Beginning Ballet for Boys on Fridays, Intermediate Ballet for Boys on Saturdays, and Advanced Ballet for Boys/Young Men, also on Saturdays. Beginning classes for boys ages 8 to 13 require no prior experience. Intermediate (ages 10 and above) and Advanced classes require faculty approval.
“We’re extremely excited about this opportunity to support young boys in their pursuit of dance,” Eugene Ballet Academy’s Executive Director Sara Lombardi said. “A Boy’s Program is essential in attracting young males to the field and not only provides a safe and supportive environment for young boys to learn, but helps to break down barriers and stereotypes of the male dancer.”
Classes begin this week and will be taught by Eugene Ballet Principal Dancer Mark Tucker and Eugene Ballet Company Dancer Yamil Maldonado.