LET’EM MARCH?: Are We Ready For Males On College Dance Teams?

There is nothing more “traditional”, to the college game day environment, than the marching band. Throughout the decades college bands, like all american institutions, have held close to societal norms and broadly accepted gender specific roles. These gender based roles have trickled down throughout music education for years and, unfortunately, exists today in quietly accepted circles.

tubistAs a secondary level music educator, I find it difficult  to convince boys to play clarinet or flute while it is equally as difficult to convince girls to play tuba or percussion. There are no gender based instrumental requirements that influence this way of thinking, but rather our culturally accepted gender specific roles in society. These roles infer that women should be “dainty” and should play smaller, more feminine instruments while men should be strong and play more masculine instruments. Thankfully, today’s secondary school students are destroying the gender based instrumental roles by excelling on instruments that society discouraged them from playing just 40 years ago. But what about dance?… clarinetist

Should males be allowed to participate on college band dance teams?… The dance teams with such monikers as “The Dancing Dolls”, “The Champagne Dancers”, The Golden Girls”, etc… I guess it depends on who you ask. I am not naive to the religious and political views on homosexuality and the LGBTQ community but even in the most conservative states and cities this role, once reserved for females, is now being pursued by males. And just like with gender based instrumental roles, the change has started at the secondary level…  For years males have been allowed to become members of high school auxiliaries (dance and flag lines) and females have been allowed to become drum majors, a role once reserved for males as the counter part to the female assigned “majorette”. There have been a small number of stories about female band members ascending to the role of drum major on the collegiate level. However, there are very few, if any, examples of male dancers in today’s college bands.

In this time of girls becoming boy scouts and females becoming college drum majors, are our famed college bands ready to give males the opportunity to dance? Are fans ready to see male dancers featured in the likeness of women? Let us know your thoughts…

Published by Ernest Stackhouse

-Music Educator -Marching Band Show Design -Musical Arranger -Adjudicator -Fine Arts Administrator -Band Director -Writer

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