Male dancers often risk stigma, even though Gene Kelly, Mikhail Baryshnikov and a host of urban street dancers have proved that men add a lot to the art of dance. In Seattle, Against the Grain/Men in Dance shines the spotlight on male dancers and offers positive inspiration for up-and-coming male dancers.
"Being a male artist takes courage, conviction and a persistent drive in order to engage in an art form that is not often supported by the dominant culture," says Ray Houle, who co-founded Against the Grain/Men in Dance with fellow choreographer and dancer Gérard Théorêt in 1994.
Today the organization produces an enormously popular biannual all-male dance festival. Taking place over the first two weekends of October 2008, the festival will feature works by 16 choreographers, both male and female. Men of all ages will perform dance styles ranging from classical to contemporary.