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It takes dedication and hard work to make your dreams come true. It also helps to see people like you succeeding in your chosen field — whether you want to be an astronaut, an artist or a ballerina.
For boys who want to dance, there has always been a lack of representation in children’s literature. But John Robert Allman’s new picture book, “Boys Dance!” (available on Amazon for $16.19), is helping to redress the balance.
New York-based Allman told HuffPost that his lifelong love of the stage inspired him to write the book, which features beautiful illustrations by Luciano Lozano.
“I wanted to make sure that boys would be able to see dance as something they can — and should — get into if they want to,” he said.
“So little in media when I was a kid made that case, showed you a role model, or made it seem OK to be excited about dance the way I was. But it’s something guys have always loved and excelled in, so they shouldn’t be at all hesitant to try it.”
In September, Allman tweeted about the book’s release, alongside a photo from the ’90s of himself as an overjoyed little boy sitting backstage at “The Nutcracker.”
Just a little dance lover backstage at The Nutcracker in the ’90s…@ABTBallet’s “B is for Ballet” and “Boys Dance!” are out today – with incredible illustrations by Rachael Dean and Luciano Lozano – and he could jeté for joy! pic.twitter.com/zRodbWpr3P
— John Robert Allman (@Johnny_Allman) September 22, 2020
Allman wrote “Boys Dance!” in tandem with his second alphabet book, “B Is for Ballet” (his first, “A Is for Audra: Broadway’s Leading Ladies From A to Z,” was published in 2019), to coincide with American Ballet Theatre’s 80th anniversary this fall.
“B Is for Ballet” (available on Amazon for $16.86) is illustrated by Rachael Dean.
Despite American Ballet Theatre being forced to cancel or postpone much of its programming due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Allman hopes his books will bring pleasure to anybody who misses the stage as much as he does.
“Maybe there are boys or girls out there who are using this time to learn something new and feel inspired to try a Zoom barre or hip-hop class,” he told HuffPost. “Either way, it’s nice to flip through a book and experience the feelings of watching dance or theater at a time when it’s not something we’re able to do.”