Empowering Boys In Dance

EMPOWERING BOYS IN DANCE is a new initiative of the Vail Dance Festival in partnership with Arts In Society, a project of Redline Contemporary Art Center. It aims to encourage and empower young men to discover and express themselves through the art of dance. As we have witnessed in news coverage, there remains a stigma about boys who dance. Through youth outreach, storytelling, empowerment work and a choreography challenge, the Vail Dance Festival intends to raise awareness and encourage youth to “be you!” and follow their passion.

The 2021 Vail Dance Festival Artist-In-Residence, Calvin Royal III of American Ballet Theatre, will play an instrumental role in encouraging boys in the arts to follow their passion and talent regardless of social pressure. In addition to Calvin, American Ballet Theatre’s James Whiteside and tap phenom Dario Natarelli will support this exciting project. The components of the project are as follows:

  • Festival Artists will teach FREE online master classes in the coming weeks.
  • A choreography challenge for young men to explore self expression
  • Festival Artists will work with dance programs in the front range prior to the Festival
  • In-person community discussions on the topic of social pressure and mental wellness during the Festival
  • Work in partnership with The Hope Center and local mental health institutions to inform and assist with the mental health aspects of this work.

More details on the master classes and choreography challenge below!


Join Calvin Royal III, Dario Natarelli, and James Whitside for FREE online master classes! Each artist will teach one master class via the Vail Dance Festival Instagram or Zoom in the coming weeks. ANYONE is welcome to join!

Thursday, May 6 @ 3pm MT
Master Class with Dario Natarelli
In case you missed it, WATCH IT HERE.

Thursday, May 13 @ 3pm MT
Master Class with Calvin Royal III
LIVE on Zoom

Link to Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 929 5692 9741
Passcode: 117311

Thursday, May 27 @ 3pm MT
Master Class with James Whiteside
LIVE on Vail Dance Festival’s Instagram


Young men ages 8-18 are encouraged to enter our Empowering Boys In Dance Choreography Challenge! Using the video above as inspiration, dancers and choreographers are invited to create an original dance and submit it for a chance to win. One winner will be chosen to come to the Vail Dance Festival! May 31 is the deadline to submit choreography. 


  • Information form must be completed in its entirety.
  • Upload the original choreography video to YouTube and provide a link to the video within the form mentioned above. Make sure the video is visible for viewing. It cannot be set to private. More on video requirements below.
  • After submitting the form and video, we ask that the participant post it to Instagram with hashtag #vaildance and #artsinsociety and tag @vaildancefest
  • May 31 is the deadline to submit choreography. 




  • Non-professional dancers, ages 8-18, who identify as boys (a participants age is determined strictly as of January 1, 2021)
  • Professional dancers are not permitted to compete. A professional dancer is defined as anyone who is employed as a full-time dancer (Apprentices are included) with a professional dance company on a yearly contract that engages the dancer at least 26 weeks per year. This includes dancers who are not currently employed under such a contract, but have been in the past.


  • Participants to use the video above as inspiration and create an original dance that expresses their personal stories and experiences
  • Choreography must be safe and age-appropriate (suitable for youth audience).
  • No dangerous props allowed.
  • Must be original choreography by the individual
  • Participants may select a piece of music that inspires them.
  • Dance must be no longer than 2 minutes and 30 seconds


  • Dancers age 10 and under are strictly prohibited from performing en pointe.

  • shoot in landscape (with sound on) 
  • Video must be uploaded to YouTube.
  • Video link must be provided when entering the Choreography Challenge.

One winner will be chosen by a panel of judges including Calvin Royal III, Dario Natarelli, and James Whiteside. The winner will receive:

  • Travel voucher of $500
  • Opportunity to perform at Dancing in the Streets with Festival Artists
  • Opportunity to interact with other Festival Artists to further develop their dance training during the Festival
  • Lawn pass for two to all Vail Dance Festival performances at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater

  • The form must be completed in its entirety.
  • Participant must meet eligibility criteria to be considered
  • Participant must present engaging choreography that correlates with the overall Empowering Boys In Dance project
  • Choreography must be appropriate for family viewing.
  • Each entry will be judged by a highly qualified panel of judges. All judges’ decisions will be final.

The winner will be contacted via phone or email.

By participating in this challenge, participants and their parents and/or legal guardians give their express permission for Vail Dance Festival to use any such photo/video recordings (including those containing their name or likeness) for promotional purposes (including any uses in print, online, or in social media). 


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