This week’s 10 Questions With… features David Hunter, Owner and Editor of Ballet for Men. Take a closer look at a great resource for guys in ballet…and what went on behind the scenes before it came to the web…
My name is David Hunter, I’m 28 years old and a graduate student, working on a Masters in Teaching. I plan to teach high school social studies or english, and dance. I’ve always loved dance, but it wasn’t until I was 25 that I took an actual dance class. For some reason I never realized how much I actually loved to dance.
As a male, it was hard for me to get started. I couldn’t find many good resources for what I needed to know as a beginner. I wasn’t aware of all the opportunities that men had in ballet. I started late, but I currently dance for a pre-professional company who provides me with a scholarship for all of my classes. I take ballet classes 6 or 7 days a week and get to perform for thousands of people in 2 feature length ballets per year and various other festivals and performances.
1. What made you create this dance blog?
I started taking ballet when I was 25, and I didn’t really know anyone else who was into ballet. So finding out what I needed to know to get started was really hard. Most of the information I could find was geared toward women. I was always surprised that there was never more information for males who are interested in dance. Ballet has been great for me, and I want that type of experience to be available to everyone interested. I want my blog to help provide information to make it easier for guys to get into dance.
2. What are the top three pieces of advice you have for other dance bloggers?
1) Provide what you want. I ask for a lot of advice and suggestions, and I definitely try to provide what I think readers will want, but that advice isn’t always there. Most of the time I think about what I wish was there. I ask, “what information or resources should be available?” If I am interested in it, chances are someone else is probably interested too.
2) Do more than you think you have time to do. I always feel like I don’t have time to do anymore. But then I force myself to take on something else, and I end up finding time to do it. Having a blog requires you to keep working on making it better and coming up with new and interesting things. This takes up more and more time, but it also pays off more and more.
3) It is all a process. Rarely does anything pay off right away. It is important to recognize goals in the long term and think about the small steps that lead up to those goals. You won’t find more readers overnight, but you can do a little bit everyday to help build a following over a few months or even years.
3. What is your organizational routine when it comes to blogging (for example, do you research one day and write the next….do you post every day…etc.)?
I usually spend a while coming up with an idea for a post before I even do any work with it. I have a list of topics I want to cover. I choose one of those topics either based on what I think is important information for beginners that isn’t out there or if there is something that has been on my mind for a while. I spend more time researching and organizing the topic than I spend actually writing the post. I feel like this is really helpful for me, and hopefully the readers. There are a lot of ideas and information to fit into any one post, so it is helpful to get all those ideas and facts outlined first.
I try to write whenever I can find time. During the school year I’m a full time graduate student, dance and rehearse full time, and work, so I don’t get to update as much as I want. That is something I would like to change. I want to find a way that I can provide something to the readers several times a week, if not every day.
4. What would you say are your blog’s strengths?
BalletForMen.com provides a lot of information that is hard to find in one place, if at all. It is hard to find information for male ballet dancers, so I provide that. Also, I understand what it is like to get started later, so I understand what questions beginners might have. It is also quite personal. The blog provides a personal look at ballet and the guys who do it. This is especially true in the podcasts, but also with some of the dancer interviews we’ve got coming up.
5. Do you have anything new coming up on the horizon?
New podcasts are coming out every week. These are a lot of fun to record, and to listen to. There will be a lot of different perspectives covered on the Ballet For Men podcast. The first run of Ballet For Men t-shirts are getting printed this month. I’m releasing a free e-book for new dancers. I’ve also been talking to different people about contributing to the website. There are a ton of other things I’m working on, but these are what people will see pretty soon.
6. If you had to describe your blog in just five words, what would they be?
Showing guys ballet is awesome.
7. Can you recommend another dance blog?
I really enjoy TheWinger.com. I like being able to read posts by dancers that I also actually see in performances.
8. Who are your all-time favorite dancers?
I’m a fan of Gene Kelly and Mikhail Baryshnikov. I think they both have done amazing things for guys in dance. Angel Corella is also one of my favorites. One of my favorite female dancers is Louise Nadeau. She just retired from Pacific Northwest Ballet at 45 years old. She is a beautiful dancer and a beautiful person. Plus she makes me think that I can dance for many more years.
9. What is your favorite piece of music?
This is tough to choose a favorite, but I think one of my favorites would be the Dancepieces by Philip Glass from In The Upper Room. I saw PNB do Twyla Tharp’s In The Upper Room when I first started dancing, and it was the first piece that REALLY struck something inside of me. That dance didn’t just touch my heart, it danced with it. Whenever I hear those songs I remember why I love to dance.
10. Tell us something about yourself that may come as a surprise…
I danced in Christina Aguilera’s Dirrty music video. At the time I was living in L.A. and it was before I started taking ballet. I used to like to break dance, so I auditioned for the video. Somehow I got a part, but luckily, I’m a skinny guy behind a lot of bigger dudes, so you can’t find me in the video. But I do have the pay-stub to prove it!