The first place I could be myself…

Trans ballet dancer, and RAD student, Sophie Rebecca, on what dance means to her.

“I took Grade 8 in Dec 21 with 3 other lovelies from Lynton Academy with all of us attaining Distinctions so I’ve finally gotten that little gold medal I’ve dreamed of since I was little! It’s also been a joy as an adult dancer to train with younger students, I’ve very much valued my time with my classmates and have learned so much from them. I’d like to think I’ve offered them an example of maturity in my movement and musicality in return. And of course, we’ve all supported each other and lifted each other up when we’ve struggled with our own body image which can be so common.

Dance was the first place I could be myself. I started dancing pre transition and the studio was the only place in my life where I got to be my true self. It was important to me that dance wasn’t just somewhere else I was forced to conform to a gender that I wasn’t, and my teacher allowed me to do that and with an art form I love. It really helped me find my pride and to love myself.

I’d love to see more boys in ballet, it’s a shame that society shames boys for displaying qualities that are typically associated with ballet. Often boys events fall into traps of focusing on strength and power to encourage participation when I feel the conversation should be more focused on the freedom to enjoy the dance, movement and activity. I also know of many female dancers who love the variations typically form boys and believe it’s be good for everyone if there was more freedom in the studio to dance a wider range of movement for all. I know the RAD allows students to take exams of either gender they’d prefer and wonder how well it’s known.”