When we think of sports considered rigorous, intensive, and masculine that sculpt and chisel the body into unstoppable pillars of manliness, dance is often considered last on the list. And although some styles of dance have managed to carve out their own little piece of the manly man pie, many male dancers still have to defend their positions as men.

So often forced to wear hypermasculinity and dance to the beat of society’s drum of cultural expectations and stereotypes, male dancers are forged in the heat of battle between who they are and who they are expected to be. The result: every fearless leap, combo, isolation, and routine act as silent prayers, hoping for acceptance and appreciation without judgement.

Through the #WhenMenDance campaign, I’ve partnered with fashion photographer Alexey Kim and visual storyteller, Linneah Anders, to share the fearless stories of male dancers and choreographers around the country, not only revealing their own complex relationships with masculinity, but the transformative power of dance as a vehicle to reimagine themselves and the world around them.

Over the next year and a half, we’ll travel the country meeting and connecting with diverse movers and shakers as part of one of the largest national marketing dance campaigns solely focused sharing 150+ stories nationwide. And in the process, we hope to continue the conversation of how male dancers help redefine masculinity on their own terms and how we can all work together to create new pathways and resources for aspiring male movers of all ages.

Believe in the power of #WhenMenDance? Do one or all of the following:

–> nominate dancers
–> apply for the campaign and/or
–> spread the word and this link

For the full experience, including awesome images and stories, check out the campaign page.

Tremendous love, gratitude, and thanks to the following movers and shakers for sharing their fearless stories:

Wave 1 – New York City

Josh Martina, Devon Louis, Gabriel Hyman, Wendell Gray II, Kelly Marsh IV, Addison Ector, Gregory Blackmon Jr., Nicholas Katen, Cole Mills, Matthew Perez, Nathaniel Hunt, Andre Drummond, AJ Libert, Christopher Bráz, Vivake Khamsingsavath, Michael Lubbers, Juan-Pablo Alba Dennis, Quinton Guthier, and Dwayne Cook Jr.