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Ballet Talk for Dancers
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How did your son get started?

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ToThePointe

Well, being a ballet teacher both my sons have spent a lot of time in the studio. I didn't push either of them into it, and only the younger (10 years old) takes class any more.

 

I guess I'm lucky. My son doesn't see ballet as a girly thing. He relishes in the attention that he gets from the older girls, but again, he has grown up in it and has kind of been the studio mascot from the time he was a baby.

 

If teased about ballet by his friends, he tells them that he would rather be in a class full of cute girls in leotards than playing football and jumping on top of other boys. :thumbsup:

 

Even my stepson (no ballet/theater experience or exposure) who was out here for this last Nutcracker and played Fritz for me remarked that it was cool to be surrounded by so many cute girls.

 

Last year I took my son to his first live ballet. It was the Kirov doing Don Quixote. He loved it. He was leaping through the lobby and trying to do Italian fouettes on the balcony.

 

I don't know that he will ever be really serious about becoming a professional, but that doesn't matter. Right now he's just having fun.

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txs

My son started at 4 because I figured, at some point, he'd be talk and gawky and some dance lessons might help him ease through that awkward stage. Never dreamed he'd take to it and want to be come a professional. He started in tap and jazz. Wouldn't have anything to do with ballet.

 

One day while we were in the waiting room before his class, one of the high school boys was there and began talking with him. The older boy asked my then 5 year old if he'd thought about ballet. Nope. Well, said the older boy, do you like to jump around? Sure say young son. Would you like to throw girls in the air? Sure!! Says young son. Well, says older boy, why don't you come and watch my men's class this afternoon and see what we do.

 

So, we did, and he was willing after that to give ballet a try. 9 years later, it has long been his favorite and he wants a career.

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Clara 76

Aw!!!! That's a cute story, txs!!!!!

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sam7

What an amazing older boy txs! I think this is a fantastic story as well.

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Maggie

My DS is now 16. I started him at 3 in a Creative Movement class - which happened to be all boys. We've had ups and downs over the years with whether he wanted to continue dancing. In 6th grade he was offered the opportunity by the pre-professional company, associated with our ballet school, to perform with the company in the Spring Repertoire. After that he told me that ballet was his passion; he wanted to become a professional ballet dancer and he'd take all the classes that the ballet school told him he should take.

 

Next year he'll be working with Ethan Stiefel at NCSA.

 

I never thought that he would choose ballet as his career when I started him out, or even during the difficult years when he wanted to quit and I insisted he continue (as I knew how much he really loved dancing, but was dealing with peer pressure issues).

 

The younger boys look up to him as he is always encouraging them.

 

I am so proud of him and believe that he can make it.

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Clara 76

Congratulations, Maggie!!! What a difficult journey this is.....

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gibbon256

The decision for our son to dance came out of the blue at the age of 5 when a school teacher commented on our sons great feet and keen interest in her musical movement class. She also owned a local ballet, modern and tap school and invited him along on a Saturday to try it all out. She was always great about letting him wear what he felt comfortable in, football shorts were even OK, which I think was very smart of her. After a trial term our son asked if he could do more and more and now at aged 10 he dances 4 evenings a week is very serious about wanting to train and dance professionally. In September he starts vocational training at a dance boarding school so 'out of little acorns' and all that!

 

I think all credit is due to the encouraging relationship that developed between our son and his local ballet teacher for getting him started, as this is not something as parents of a boy we would have ever thought about initially on our own, although today as you can imagine our originally blinkered and one track minds on how to raise a boy are well and truly dead and buried! :wink:

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Clara 76

I love hearing stories like that, Gibbon!! It does remind me of the tremendous positive influence we teachers can have on a youngster.....

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Small Slipper

My very soon to be 10 yr old son, just begged to dance when he was 7.5. His older sister dances and he spent time at the ballet school waiting for her to get out of classes. The AD of the school had mentioned to me a few times about putting him in classes and finally I asked myself- why not? So I enrolled him. He was THRILLED!

 

He actuallly "gave up" his regular golf lessons (his LOVE) for a year to take ballet- there was a conflict of time. He now golfs, dances, and does "scouts" etc. His best buddy also dances with him- and they really enjoy it!

 

He has continued to dance and LOVES it. He has been "questioned" a few times by his young playmates- "why???....ballet is for girls" that sort of thing- but he handles it well. But the flip side is that he has gotten much more POSITIVE reactions then negative. He has been able to be exposed to many wonderful male dancer role models and I think it has helped him.

 

Every summer a professional company is in residence in our studio for 2 weeks. There are many male dancers there and they have taken the time to get to know him and encourage him. It is a wonderful thing to see. It is a very healthy environment for him to to talk to these older (yet still young) dancers and get to watch them rehearse.

 

Many of these dancers guest at our Nutcracker and Spring performances- they always encourage and praise the 2 young boys and help the one teenage boy we have who dances. My VERY favorite DVD moment was from Spring performance 08 when many of the male and female professionals from this company came to watch our show and they literally CHEERED in support of our small band of boy dancers doing their first "tours" on stage! We are LUCKY to have the support of the professional "guys" who keep encouraging him not to listen to anyone but himself when it comes to dance!

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Maggie

I'm so excited to hear the stories of more young boys dancing. My 16 yr old son is entering the North Carolina School of the Arts this fall in their ballet program as an 11th grader. The many so many role models we've had from the Carolina Ballet, the hours he has spent looking for You Tube clips of men's variations, the hours of watching old Gene Kelly, Fred Astair, Baryishnikov and Nureyev movies as a family - all these and more are making of him an educated ballet dancer. More than this, however, I'm so grateful for his passion at such a young age. He knows who he is and what he wants. He can relate to other men both straight and gay. He can talk to adults and children, women and men, with ease. I wish more parents of boys understood that ballet was not only about the dancing but about the tremendous socialization and life lessons that are learned from the varieties of people that the dancer interacts with. AND that a child who is so involved has no time to get into trouble.

 

I'm so grateful that the one year he was reticent to continue dancing (3rd grade) I insisted he take one class amidst all the sports, not because I expcted dance to become his first love, but because I knew that he really enjoyed himself while dancing and the only reason he wanted to quit was peer pressure.

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gibbon256
I love hearing stories like that, Gibbon!! It does remind me of the tremendous positive influence we teachers can have on a youngster.....

 

Thank you and no doubt about the tremendous power a positive teaching influence can have on our children Clara, fingers crossed that he remains blessed with such positive influences as he goes through the next phase in his training years!

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Clara 76

Fingers (and toes!) crossed, Gibbon!!!

 

Keep us posted!

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aussie

Hello from Australia.

My son nagged and nagged for six months when he was six to do ballet. I was reluctant to have him start as there was no history of dance within our family. His 2 older sisters were both rep team soccer players! Eventually, he told me that he wanted to do ballet because Stephen Gerrard (his hero) of Liverpool football club did ballet to improve his flexibility.

I signed him up and we haven't looked back. He's nearly 10 now, and loves ballet with a passion.

His teacher is truly loving towards him and he loves her back. She was a career ballerina in her day and danced with some of the best on the world stage. She tells him stories of experiences but doesn't sugar coat things either. If he wants to be good he has to work. To watch her and my son together brings tears to my eyes..it is truly a beautiful thing. She takes him to the capital cities to see the big ballets and has introduced him to some of Australia's greatest dancers and organised back stage passes for him. Their last trip together was to the Sydney Opera House to see the Ballet Russes. She set up a mentorship programme for him with one of the Australian Ballet's leading soloists.

He is the only boy in our town doing ballet and we have encountered no adverse reactions (funny, considering we live in a regional industrial town) people seem to respect him for what he is doing. The girls in the ballet school treat him beautifully and often tell him to grow quicker so they can do a pas de deux with him! Presently, he has 3 classes per week- one class with the girls and 2 private classes. He has just completed his RAD Gr 3 exam and the examiner made him promise her that he would never give up ballet. He came out of the exam beaming with tears running down his face. His past exams have all resulted with distinctions.

I hindsight, it was one of the best things we ever allowed our son to do.

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Mel Johnson

And welcome, welcome to you, Cindi! :grinning:

 

We're happy you found us, and in particular, happy that you've found one of the forums especially for you and parents like you! We also have places for Parents of students under 13, where you may find generic answers to questions about what happens to your student, and of course, the forums which are open to all! Just read the introductions to the board on the first page of the site, and you can easily see which forums are for you. We're pretty self-disciplined here, as would befit a board so heavily populated with ballet people, and only ask that adults don't post to the Young Dancer forums, which are specifically aimed at teens. I hope that your DS (Dear Son webwise, here I think Dancing Son) perseveres in his study, and that he will in a few years join us on the board as a member as soon as he turns thirteen! :clapping:

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Clara 76

I am so encouraged to hear that there are wonderful, positive experiences out there for our young men. Excellent!!

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