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Ballet Talk for Dancers
Guest prism

Parents of boy dancers?

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Guest prism

Hello,

I just found this board and excited to see such an active forum for parents of dancers.

I have a 7yo son in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, and Performing Troupe. He also had the opportunity to do a little Hip Hop and Modern over the summer. He started dancing at 3.5yo and Ballet continues to be his favorite.

 

More about that later but for now, I am wondering how many parents here have boys in Ballet?

 

I am also wondering how many parents have been faced with very limited choices for dance schools where they lived and what did you do about it?

 

Thanks. Looking forward to meeting everyone and getting to know you.

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gbna

My 14 year old son dances, and has for about three years. We had two good local studios, who prepared him for the eventual move to a pre pro studio in a boarding scholl situation.

 

Great to have more boys!

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Guest PAmom

We were lucky to have a local studio that not only then offered but still offers classes for boys. I now work as an administrator at this studio. Boys classes was the deciding factor in our first studio choice almost 10 years ago, we were fortunate they also provide excellent training. My son, when he turned 15, went on to train at a year round school and currently dances professionally with a ballet company.

 

t :)

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Guest momto2.5dancers

I have a boy who dances also. He is not a serious dancer like his sisters are. (That's why he's the .5 dancer in my name.) He's 16 and loves partnering the cute girls.

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Guest prism
My 14 year old son dances, and has for about three years. We had two good local studios, who prepared him for the eventual move to a pre pro studio in a boarding scholl situation.

 

Great to have more boys!

Hi!

Interesting that he started at the age he did. What caught his interest? Did he start out in Ballet or another discipline?

 

You are fortunate to have two "good" schools. We have "two", period. This is starting to become a problem for us.

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Guest prism
We were lucky to have a local studio that not only then offered but still offers classes for boys.

PAmom, it sounds like your son has had some great opportunities! The studios where I am would have to get really creative to bring more boys in. Right now I'd settle for a good male instructor willing to guide him in the male components of ballet.

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Guest prism
I have a boy who dances also. He is not a serious dancer like his sisters are. (That's why he's the .5 dancer in my name.) He's 16 and loves partnering the cute girls.

:rolleyes: I always thought boy dancers were a lot smarter than their friends who think dancing is stupid for boys. They know where to find all the girls!! :P:shrug:

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dancemomCA

:wink: Prism - glad to hear that your son dances!!! I think that a major obstacle for boys in dance is the general lack of boys taking dance at studios and a lack of male teachers. My son danced at two local studios with a very small number of boys at each studio and no dedicated boys' classes which is a real drawback. He has been dancing since the age of 9, but decided at 12 that he really wanted to focus on ballet and had to audition for a full-time program to receive the necessary training. This was not an easy decision to make, but we felt we had no other option available in our community.

 

The big eye-opener occured at this first SI when he encountered his first boys' class and male teachers. Once he had experienced that world, he did not want to come back to his local studio. I firmly believe that boys need male teachers especially as they progress to higher levels.

 

To make a long story short, he now attends a full-time program 2,500 miles away from home. I would say that PAmom's experience is the exception not the norm with boys' ballet training (in Canada anyway). There are a few studios across Canada with large enough male numbers for boys classes, but these are mostly in the larger cities. But, my recommendation is that if your son wants to focus on ballet, (depending how serious he is) then he definitely needs dedicated boy's classes and eventual partnering experience.

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Mel Johnson

But remember, this is a seven-year-old we're talking about. The dedicated men's classes and partnering won't start until about the same time that a girl would start pointe. Until then, he can just have fun with the hard work of taking technique class, building gradually the important grounding he will need for the hard work to come, which, the good lord willing, he will also find fun!

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gbna

Prism

 

 

They were good in the fact that both were run by well trained ( a male teacher from SAB, and two women one from Ailey and the other Europeon) professional dancers.The man was a student of Balanchine. He had a lot of good basic training, and because he was a boy he got a nice discount. in price!

 

 

My son started in Kung Fu, and was qute good at it. He went to China to perform with his Grand master, in a very traditional form

 

His local teacher stopped teaching, and he kind of gravitated to dance. He had done a few plays with me, and liked tap, so he started with just a tap class, added Jazz for theater work and was "sweet talked" by the teacher and girls in the class to help them out with the nutcracker one year. He was hooked. He was always tall, so he got advanced parts because he just looked older. It kind of "forced" him up.

 

At 7 though, make sure he is still having fun, Kids change.....and get burned out.

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tsavoie

My son is 16, started dancing as a 6yo. We travel about 60 miles to his ballet program,as we live in a rural area without ballet for even the girls. He had female teachers exclusively until he was about 11. Seems to have worked well for him, he learned his basic technique well. He now has half his classes with a man, half with a woman. Unfortunately, he is the only one in the men's class. I have struggled for the past couple of years with this issue. He gets great men's classes every summer. He also gets great teaching from his home teachers. He misses out on the give and take of working with other guys. This year we contacted a professional company who have allowed him to sporadically take company class as a supplement to his regular schedule. Maybe as your boy gets older this could be an option for you. Get videos from the library for him to see the roles danced by men. When partnering begins, he will be very popular. The ratio in my son's partnering class averagea about 15-1. I fyour basic instruction is good, he should be fine where he is for a few more years.

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dancemomCA

:pinch: Yes, Major Mel - I understand your point about the age of 7. However, I would think to say that most of the serious ballet boys on this forum have had to eventually leave home to study by the age of 13/14 - PAmom, Tango49, gbna, etc. And, yes Prism's son does have many years up until that point to have fun in dance. I fully agree with you there. And if the training is sound then he has many more years at that studio. And as gbna stated, kids get older and their interests change.

 

I guess the point that I was trying to make is that at least in our city, if a boy wants to make ballet a career, he must leave home as there are no studios capable of training him to say, a company apprentice level. One very good ballet school has no boys, another has a few, another one always imports RWB company male leads for their Nut prince. So far, she has rarely been able to keep boys past the age of 15 and they also place big emphasis on competition. We have many comp studios who offer the whole gambit of dance, but never produce any quality male ballet dancers.

 

And there is something to be said for more than 1 boy in a boys' class. As to one boy in a studio, you are a big fish in a small pond, but go out to an SI and you become a small fish in a big pond. Then you get to see and look at other male dancers, challenge yourself, as tsavoie stated - participate in the "give and take" of class- it only helps you become a stronger dancer. Girls experience this give and take daily, some boys rarely or not at all. And, I think that this is a real stumbling block, as well as negative social sterotyping, but that is a whole other issue which I will not get into here.

 

However, I do believe that the boys who stick with dance are brave, STRONG souls, who persevere through so many more obstacles than women. Now many would argue that point and say that boys have it easier because there are so few in ballet, but at least from a training point of view I think that boys who want to train in classical ballet have a more difficult time with far fewer choices. Example - tsavoie who has struggled with this issue for the past few years. In many cases, you have to make do with what is available and supplement during the summer or during the year with master classes, etc. At least the female to male ratio is definitely in the boy's favour!!!

 

I could go on, but won't!!! :)

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Mel Johnson

Well, if they don't burn out on hockey, why should they burn out on ballet, eh? :pinch:

 

A sometime denizen of Prescott, ON,

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dancemomCA

:pinch: Ah, but Mel, hockey is Canada's most treasured national activity and all boys must play the game, it's de riguer you know, even at the age of 45 in the non-contact league followed by Canadian beer in the dressing room.

 

Prescott eh - not too far from Ottawa, where we are at a balmy -13C today - feels almost tropical after our week of -47C with wind chill!!!! Good news, the canal is open for skating - 7.2 km of frozen ice and frozen limbs to match!!!

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Mel Johnson
7.2 km of frozen ice and frozen limbs to match!!!

But I thought that was why God created Molson's! :pinch:

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