What does it mean to be a man? For Ben Young, a 9-year-old Atlanta dancer, it means being responsible.
“I think it means to have your own job. My job is here,” says Ben, who is part of Moving in the Spirit’s Men in Motion company.
When he’s not studying in his home schooling program or learning a new dance routine, Ben has another job: he babysits Sally, the dog of another Moving in the Spirit dancer. “I walk her, let her go to the bathroom and take care of her,” he says. “I have a cat too. She wakes us up at five o’clock in the morning.”
With Men in Motion, Ben is growing as a dancer, but he’s also learning valuable leadership skills that he can apply to school, work and life. He dismisses any notion that dancing is only for girls.
“Real men do dance,” he insists. If anyone disagrees with this assessment, Ben says, “Just to prove it to them, I’d bring them to one of our programs.”
Ben’s older sister also dances with Moving in the Spirit, and he loved watching her and other Atlanta kids perform on stage. “I said to my mom, ‘I want to do that.’” He started out in a Mini Steps class for beginners, and then gradually built up his skills and strength to join Men in Motion.
What does Ben love about dancing? The expressiveness, he says. “I like that it has to do with feeling. Dance is something you have to put your own style into. Sometimes, it can be tricky — I wouldn’t say hard. It’s not hard for me!”
Teamwork makes dancing with Men in Motion more fun and helps forge new friendships, Ben says. “I have quite a few friends who dance too. One of them does ballet. It’s just a lot of fun!”
You can see Ben and his classmates perform in the 11th Annual Men in Motion Show on February 22 & 23, 2014.