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How the only boy in ballet class battled stereotypes to achieve his dream

Strong and silent, emotionally unavailable, full of bravado ... these are traits often associated with typical Scottish masculinity.

However, a new documentary, The Ideal Scotsman, suggests that the traditional idea of the Scottish man is changing.

One man who doesn't conform to type is Christopher Harrison, the first Scotsman to hold the position of principal dancer with Scottish Ballet. The first steps in his ballet career were taken in his local dance school where he was the only boy in attendance.

"There's the stereotype – boys don't do ballet," Christopher explains.

'Boys don't do ballet'

Christopher Harrison battled stereotypes on the path to success.

As his love of ballet continued into his teens, Christopher found it marked him out as different; that both men and women thought he wasn't a 'proper' man.

He recalls, "You'd be at a party, you'd meet a girl; you'd say that you do ballet and you'd see them judging.

"That really upset me."

Despite the views of others, Christopher remained committed to dancing and his dedication paid off. He rose through the ranks to become principal dancer of Scottish Ballet in 2013 and performed on his biggest stage at the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Working with dancers from around the world has given Christopher the opportunity to compare how men from other countries behave.

"Scottish guys, we don't like to show our emotions as much as other cultures," he says. "[In Scotland] to be strong is to be silent. We're very good at bottling things up and maybe not dealing with our emotions which is detrimental, I think, to your health."

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