Matthew was the only boy in ballet class, the only boy in tap class and the only boy who willingly attend choir practice. The girls flocked to classes and sang lines with gusto. Matthew was more agile than any of them and had a wider range right up until his voice broke at fourteen and his dreams began to take off.
At fourteen Matthew’s choirboy voice quavered and wobbled and settled into a deep baritone, edging towards bass. His ability to hit a note was pitch-perfect. His chest capacity was large and growing, so he could hold notes longer than any of his contemporaries of either sex. There was a maturity far beyond his years to his sound and he became sought after.
But Matthew only wanted to dance. The singer in him needed to stand still and hold his hands at his sides. The dancer in him had slippy feet and jazz hands that wouldn’t stop.
Matthew continued to grow as he got older and dancing toned his muscles into a powerful sculpted physique. He liked his body more as it grew harder and leaner. So did the females in the ballet classes and the battles for casting in prima roles was as often so they could dance with him as for the prestige of the position itself.
Boys his age just didn’t go in for dancing so his friends had little concept of what he did or why. Some would have bullied him or maybe taken him outside once or twice, but Matthew was bigger and stronger than most of them so they didn’t. Instead they laughed behind his back and except for his closes friends, didn’t invite him to parties.
It was television that changed things for all of them. The guys realized that dancing could get you on TV and that women would fancy you if you could make it look good. Just look at the women Strictly’s Brendan managed to pull. And Matthew realized he was better than any of the contestants as the usual talent show fodder, and that girls liked boys in bands even more than boys who could dance.
Matthew switched from dancing to singing, the boys switched from avoidance to cultivation and the girls switched from friends to lovers. Jazz hands became wandering hands, pliés became plastered and Matthew became Matt.
And his dance-toned legs came in handy more than once for running away from irate boyfriends.