MSHSL changes rule, boys can now tryout for high school dance teams

Zach Greenwald loves to dance.

The 16-year-old from Minnetonka spends hours after school committed to his passion.

“Dance has always been an artistic and emotional outlet for me,” he said.

Lately, Greenwald has become known for something else as well. He’s part of a historic change to Minnesota State High School League competitive dance rules that now allows boys to try out for the team.

“It’s really crazy to me that I can change, go to court and change something I believe in,” he said.

A lawsuit he and another metro teen filed against the MSHSL last summer has been settled. The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in the boys’ favor in March. Just days ago, the league followed by changing the rule for all member schools.

“From the beginning, we weren’t just suing for me and Dmitri to be able to dance,” he said. “It was to change the rules for everybody, so that’s what the permanent decision reminded me of. This is officially changed for everyone.”

The teens were represented by Pacific Legal Foundation, a California firm that’s dealt with similar cases in the past and says this particular one really touched a nerve.

“The league had no reason to exclude boys here and that’s what the courts said and that’s what we believed from the outset and that’s why the boys are going to be allowed to dance in Minnesota like they can in every other state in the nation,” he said.

Greenwald is ecstatic he’ll be able to dance his senior year, while paving the way for other young men to have the same opportunity.

“It’s very surreal and just a reminder that anyone’s passion and motivation can bring them wherever they want to be,” Greenwald said.

The MSHSL says four sanctioned sports for girls don’t have a male counterpart (Volleyball, Badminton, Gymnastics and Synchronized Swimming.)

When asked if boys are allowed to try out for those activities, Tim Leighton of the MSHSL said, “The injunction is specific to the sport of Dance and is not encompassing to all of the MSHSL’s girls’ activities.”