Last night, the ABC Family channel premiered the new series; Bunheads. In case you don’t recognise the term, it’s ballet slang for a female dancer. The girls usually keep their hair in a tight little bun on the back of their head in class and during a performance. By extension, a “Junior Bunhead” would be a female dancer twelve years old or younger.

I had come back from a late evening session at a client’s office & my wife decided to tune to the ABC Family Channel as there was nothing else on. In case you didn’t see it, the synopsis of the first episode is as follows:

  • A former ballet dancer tries a stint in Vegas as a show girl just for fun. She stays there longer than she had planned and suddenly she’s 30 and not even getting chances to audition because she doesn’t look 25.
  • This dancer has an admirer – an ordinary chap – who  comes through Vegas once a month. She blows him off each time with some excuse or other.
  • One of his visits coincides with the aftermath of the dancer’s humiliating non-audition. She gets soused and pours out her history and despair to the guy.
  • He asks her to marry him and she’s desperate to get out of Vegas so she says “yes”. They get married at a drive-though chapel and he takes her home to meet his mother.
  • Mother is an ex-dancer who – among other things – runs a small-town ballet school.
  • The usual “getting to know the in-laws” strife ensues and the dancer & mother wind up at least respecting each other.
  • Her new husband is killed in a road accident and she finds herself a widow in a small town.
  • If you know anything about dance movies, you can see where this is going. It would not be a dance movie – or series – without cliché’s and there is the promise of at least a few in the coming episodes.

All that is not why I’m writing this post.

I want to give the writers & director for this series high marks because in the opening scenes at the dance studio, there are way more than the obligatory two boys in the class. The girls are still in the majority but the boys are a significant percentage of the students. I can already tell that the series is going to revolve around the teen angst of four or five girls in the cast but I hope that the writers will give an occasional story line to the boys and not keep them around simply for window dressing.

Why am I excited about all this? Well so far, this series has shown that:

  1. Boys can dance
  2. Boys do dance

I studied ballet back in the mists of time and while I had absolutely no talent, I did come away with an appreciation of the art and the hope that more guys would give it a go.

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