Because men can dance too

By Laura TomassiniLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

Most people still think of dancing as a rather feminine sport – even though thousands of men around the world move to music. Also in Luxembourg, more and more male athletes are dedicating themselves to dancing, thus challenging common gender stereotypes.

"Plié, tendu, relevé, posé, port de bras, penché – and the same thing on the left side!" With a mix of English and French, Moa Nunes guides his students through their warm-up program on a Tuesday night. The Brazilian has been teaching at the Dance School Cathy Moes by Li Marteling in Merl for almost 20 years and has taught many a big part of their ballet repertoire, not just to the current owner. "When I arrived in Luxembourg in 1997, I didn't know anyone here and I didn't know one single word in English. Li was very kind and taught me many things. Today I work for her daughter Cathy, who was just a little girl back then, and is now my boss", Moa says with a smile.

The former dancer now rarely does pirouettes himself, but his career bears witness to many years on international stages, for Moa's talent for movement was recognized early on. In Joinville, the largest city in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina, the Brazilian took his first steps in dancing shoes, at that time still without a vision for what he would later become. "I started dancing when I was eleven, the whole thing was not so easy at the beginning from a family point of view, because I had four brothers and two sisters and I come from a country where men still fall under the category of 'macho' and dancing is not considered a job with a future", explains the 52-year-old.

The pros and cons of being a man

Today, his hometown is internationally known as the capital of dance in Latin America thanks to the dance festival there, which in 2005 was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest in the world, but men were few and far between in the industry in his day. "At that time, many things were not as simple as they are today. I remember a company I danced for that employed 23 girls and I was the only man auditioning", Moa says. On the one hand, while this may have made it easier to get into projects, on the other hand, being a male dancer has meant having to deal with a lot of prejudice. "I've had many nasty things thrown at me and I've been called names a lot, but it always depended on where I was dancing."

At cultural or special events, people were often not used to seeing men dancing, and even his father thought his son's plan to become a professional dancer was only semi-cool at first. But Moa knew how to assert himself, and at the age of 19 he was already dancing at a professional level for the company Comdanca Brasil, with which he later toured numerous countries around the world, and in 1995 he completed his dance studies at the Universidade Federal do Paraná. He was supported by his mother, who always saw his passion as a positive thing, and by the system in Brazil, which allowed male dance aspirants' access to training free of charge in order to counteract the lack of men on the stage.

You want more? Get access now.

  • One-year subscription

  • Monthly subscription

  • Zukunftsabo for subscribers under the age of 26


Already have an account?

Log in