Razmik Marukyan is 19. Like most Armenian men his age, he is serving his mandatory two years of military service. But, unlike the other young men in his unit, Marukyan has a second career – he is a ballet dancer at the Yerevan Opera and Ballet Theatre. The other soldiers do not understand Marukyan's love of ballet: in Armenia's conservative society, ballet is perceived as something for girls, not boys – and certainly not for soldiers. But Marukyan is trying to break through that stereotype. The commanders of his military unit have allowed him to continue dancing in the ballet while he serves his two years in the army. His friends also support him, attending his performances even if they do not understand his love for ballet.
Masculinities, April/May 2019