Battles of the Ballet Boys

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The harrowing lives of the men who dare to love dancing instead of spitting in the dirt and scratching their balls in public


Celebrated dancer and theatre maker, Ignatius Van Heerden, grew up on a farm in the rustic countryside of Ohrig stad, situated in what was then known as the Eastern Transvaal. As a young boy, Ignatius demonstrated an evident desire to express himself artistically, being particularly keen on dance.

With his mother having been a ballet teacher at the time, Ignatius persistently nagged his parents for him to join her classes, but his parents, being part of a conservative community, denied him his desire as they viewed dance to be inappropriate for boys.
In primary school, in spite of peer pressure and teachers’ expectations for Ignatius to join the rugby team (and accordingly being saluted as a “real boy”), he was contrarily drawn toward artistic activities…

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