Let’s Hear It For The Boys

Tough Guys Do Dance

It’s no secret that the hot-topic and popularity of boys in dance has been on the up-and-up in dance studios world-wide over the past 15 years.

Many with a shorter memory will say it’s thanks to the unparalleled popularity of So You Think You Can Dance which exploded on our prime-time television sets in 2005.

Yes, remember those pre-Netflix days?

Others may credit the groundbreaking Billy Elliot, Adam Garcia in Bootmen, Channing Tatum’s Step Up or Michael Jackson’s Thriller for inviting men onto the stage and the dance class in record numbers.

But let’s jump back a bit further, and talk about the true pioneers who paved the way for our current generation of boys in dance. Our boys who are no longer a novelty in their studio, or a shy and undiscovered talent in their high school where males in dance were once unheard of.

“I want more male dancers because there was a stigma when I was growing up about boys dancing. It was believed that only sissies did that, and there are a bunch of tough guys out there who finally proved them wrong.”

In the tell-all biography that has been over a decade in creation, the phenomenal David Winters shares his career highlights and inspirations as one of our industry’s most prolific talents in dance and film.

David became a child singer, and dancer, who appeared in 12 Broadway shows from age 13 to 16. Perhaps most famously, David was cast as A-Rab in the film version of “WEST SIDE STORY” that won 10 Academy Awards and established David as a teenage star.He has also appeared in over 150 television shows, and earned a place in history as one of the UK’s most successful performers as a dancer, actor, choreographer, producer and singer over his extraordinary career. 

When asked what he considered to be the key factors to his success as longevity as a performer, David’s answer was simple:

“A lot of hard work, dedication and passion for the work. And work comes before everything else: I love what I do and I love the work.”

With a dancer, actor and producer resume rivaling the biggest names in entertainment, David still considers himself a dancer first. His ability to get along with his casts is attributed to shared camaraderie. He’s always gotten along effortlessly with the people he has associated with in the industry (Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Barbra Streisand, Rudolf Nureyev and Michael Jackson to name a few), which David credits to having worked his way up from the back rows and ensembles.

“When I originally wrote this book it was over 1000 pages! I’ve been blessed with an interesting life. Earlier this year I died 17 times in one day – my defibrillator and a pacemaker had saved me each time. I’m certain being a dancer has helped me with my health in life. If I didn’t have such a healthy heart from all the years of dancing, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Tough Guys Do Dance is David Winters’ fascinating and thoroughly entertaining inside look into the world of dance, acting and producing through the eyes of a ‘tough guy’. The DSOA recently had the pleasure of chatting with David about his life as an entertainment icon.

“Baryshnikov and I were the only two men in the world to do 11 pirouettes. I was very proud of that. But more than that, I want to see more men and boys breaking those records and grounds in dance.”

Of course such an expansive career hasn’t come easily or without it’s challenges. In spite of injury or adversity, David’s attitude to the hurdles that came his way are a true beacon for our young performers today as they navigate the ups and downs of this unique and wonderful world of the arts.  

“I never looked at the things I couldn’t do as a problem. I looked at them as opportunities. I just knew that this has to be done and I was chosen to do it, so I didn’t give it time to think about the negative and instead went for it. Deadlines were tight so I got to work and didn’t waste time on babying myself”

David’s advice for aspiring dancers and artists is simple:

“It all starts with a dream. Never give up your dreams. Don’t listen to anybody who says it can’t be done. Don’t listen to anybody ever that says anything negative. It’s not true. Follow your passion. That’s all. Don’t let anybody get in the way of your dream. If you have that dream that’s the main thing. It all starts with the dream”

He also shared some poignant advice for the teachers and dance studio owners who are ready to take on the next generation of male dancers:

“Do me a favor and get more boys into your dance classes! Especially in your ballet classes; we still need to get over a lot of the stigma here around boys in ballet. It’s very important to expose boys to dancing and stories of more male dancers and choreographers, and let them know what they did and when, so the boys can follow in their footsteps and take the dance world’s breath away.”

Tough Guys Do Dance by David Winters is now available for purchase online at http://davidwintersbook.com/

About David Winters.

David Winters has produced and directed over 80 feature films and over 200 television shows and TV movies, and is recognized as nothing short of an icon in the entertainment industry.

Born in the UK, David became a child singer, dancer, and actor, when his family moved to the USA, and he appeared in 150 TV shows and 12 Broadway shows from age 13 to 16. At 17 David was the very young Baby John, in the original Broadway show “WEST SIDE STORY”. He was A-Rab in the film version of “WEST SIDE STORY” that won 10 Academy Awards and established David as a teenage star.

David teamed up with Paul Simon (Simon and Garfunkle) in a singing duo “David Winters and the West Siders”. David and Paul wrote the songs with David singing lead.

After West Side Story, he opened up a dance school and taught many stars including Ann-Margret, Raquel Welch and Richard Chamberlain.



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