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Ballet Talk for Dancers
Gremlin

Boys on Pointe?

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greatboys

My DS was furious to learn he wouldn't be learning pointe. It makes him very sad. He is getting over it, I have to agree with Mr. Mel on this one. I am glad that boys don't learn pointe, I am not ready to battle those battles.

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Gremlin
Let's establish the field here. When I talk of male students, I'm generally speaking of teens. An adult male may do anything with his technique training that he likes. I do not think that it is a wise idea to make pointe training a MANDATORY element of male training when they're 13-16 years old. They're confused enough as it is. They need a grounding in basic male usage in ballet before they try any additional bells and whistles.

 

I know this is an old thread, but never came back to read additional responses, so I will comment.

 

My son is almost 15 and this is his second year of training where pointe is mandatory. If you asked him today if he is "confused" as a result of pointe work, his response would be no. It is very clear to all the boys in class why they are using pointe shoes. I also feel the use of the words "bells and whistles" depends on the person and school. Some schools find pilates necessary while others don't. Some cultures find SI's necessary while others don't. Just because one does and the other doesn't, doesn't make one right and the other wrong. They have their own ideas on training. The important thing is knowing the students finish their training to become professional dancers. :thumbsup:

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Hans

I assume pointe work is only mandatory for boys who have strong technique, the appropriate physique, and a desire to learn pointe work?

 

I have a hard time with pointe work being mandatory for anyone, male or female, unless we're talking about a vocational school.

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Mel Johnson

Furthermore, I think that most 15-year-olds don't know enough to be able to discern whether they're confused or not! At age 15, the age for creative play is rapidly drawing to a close, and boys should be homing in on things that they will actually use. Pilates is not a good analogy, because you can use Pilates well into geriatry, but pointe isn't a very useful adjunct to men's studies, ever.

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citibob

I think the idea of being "confused" is a red herring. Girls don't get confused when they wear blue jeans. Or when they study science and math. Or when they play football. Or when they're into video games. Girls can try anything, do anything, be anything and still be a girl without "confusion". So why do we assume that our boys are so much more "confusable" than our girls? I think boys are smarter than that.

 

I don't think that studying pointe technique will make a 15-year old boy any more confused than he already is, no matter what his reasons or his teachers' reasons are for doing it. I'm not saying boys should or shouldn't study pointe technique, just that I don't think it will "confuse" them or "gayify" them or "girlify" them or anything else that wasn't going to happen anyway.

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Clara 76

If I may, what I think Mel meant was not that they are confused about their sexuality, but that they are confused about whether to actually attempt to make ballet a career, and to have to do pointework may send some over the edge.

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Mel Johnson

That's correct, Clara. In a roughly analogous situation, churches which use the rite of confirmation have been asking themselves, if their tradition is to confirm a candidate between 13-16 years of age, having arrived at the "age of discernment", whether that age is a good idea. Many are hewing to the earlier end of that scale, or even a little before, because frequently once they've done that at 15-16, we don't see them again until they're 27. Argh!

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Gremlin
If I may, what I think Mel meant was not that they are confused about their sexuality, but that they are confused about whether to actually attempt to make ballet a career, and to have to do pointework may send some over the edge.

 

I can only speak for my son's school where the boys have already made the decision to become professional. For the boys in my son's class, they do what is required to stay in the school. I would think sacrifice, physically demanding class schedule and experiences with teasing from others would chase a boy away long before a pair of black canvas pointe shoes. For my son, the pointe shoes are just another pair of shoes.....that are just not as comfortable as the other ones. If the issue is not about sexuality, then I don't see the issue at all. If a boy can endure pain in all other areas of the body due to ballet, I don't see why they can't handle the added pain in the feet caused by a shoe that just happens to have a different design.

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Clara 76

Yes, Gremlin. The point being that there are so many different schools across the globe, and not all are like your son's. Therefore, it can send some boys running for the hills if it were required some places.

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Gremlin

But if the issue is not sexuality (as some have said), then to me, that only leaves the inability to handle pain in the feet. I truly believe the only reason a boy would run from a pair of pointe shoes IS because of sexuality and nothing more.

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Mel Johnson

Your imagination needs some tuning up.

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Memo

Perhaps they should also wear tutus so that they can see what it feels like to turn in them. Perhaps the girls should wear dance belts to see what that feels like. There is so much work to be done to develop young dancers. Girls must work pointe, boys the big grand allegros and turns, pas de deux, reportoire, classical music there are just not enough hours in a day in a private studio to get the training in needed to help them develop fully. Why add something that is not necessary and will not be used in a conventonal career While my female dancers are working on their pointe work the men are either doing the work on the demi (developing the demi pointes and ankles) or working mens technique.

Would you make the girls learn pas de deux and do the lifting or would you you shy away from unnecessary injury and fatigue by adding on to an already very strenuous schedule for any young persons body. :blink:

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Victoria Leigh

Thank you, Memo. Those are my thoughts exactly! :blink:B)

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Mel Johnson

And your own sexuality and your perception of it is no problem compared to those of your so-called peers. Ever consider that an awful lot of boys get beaten to a pulp by roughneck contemporaries, or abused emotionally, socially, and yes, even physically by the local Mean Girls, some of whom may be his classmates? (girls attack in groups, and the first thing they do is kick "where it counts") When I was in the second year of high school, I got followed by two thugs who cat-called and gave me every name in the book, so instead of walking toward home, I started walking toward my father's workplace. Before I could get there, they maneuvered me into a dead end, where I faced a stone wall taller than I was. They decided to "mousetrap" (come at me at the same time from opposite directions) me. I dropped my books and gym bag and punched straight out from the sides simultaneously. I connected, and they both were knocked cold. As I walked away, a policeman who had been trailing us asked me what had happened, I told him, and was arrested for juvenile delinquency, assault. He didn't approve of boys taking ballet, either. They called in my father, and I think that was the first time I ever heard him swear. So I got put on trial, and my pursuers got off with broken noses and teeth. At least that stopped the kids from bothering me for the rest of high school.

 

Just as with that policeman, other adults can make life miserable for a boy who takes ballet. I had a mathematics teacher who was a retired Colonel in the Army. Didn't like the idea of boys taking ballet, either. I couldn't pass his classes no matter how hard I tried, and had to repeat classes with other teachers, in which I took honors marks. I could not go near that man without some sort of insult coming my way. It was college before most of that crap stopped, because I could say, "I have a job. What about you?" to the students, and the professors admired a working student.

 

The tactical principle involved here is, when beset by an enemy, reduce his ammunition supply, and decrease the size of the target. Less to throw, less hit; less to hit, fewer hits.

 

So, you want reasons, these are just a few.

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Memo

Also as far as feet go.

I have boys with amazing feet and with weaker feet. I have girls who do pointe work every day whose feet are not as good as the boys with great feet. There is a certain amount of genetics involved.

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