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Ballet Talk for Dancers
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How did your son get started?

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HuckleberryDawg

zizza, congratulations to your DS! It's great to see so many years of hard work pay off! yay!

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tropicfive

Zizza -Congratulations! I love hearing of boys who "make it." Thank you for asking about my DS. He is headed to the SI without the guaranteed 2nd Co position. He also has a full tuition (academic and merit) offer to a great college that we are currently hoping will allow him to defer (both the offer and the scholarships!), if he gets a 2nd Co offer after the summer.

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Dawcett

Hi new to this forum..

I got my son into dance when he was 4. I thought it was a good way for a little boy with a lot of energy to run some of it off. Not much else was available for his age. He hated martial arts. Any way, I thought, he'll quit when he does other "boy" sports. Boy was I wrong!

I should have seen it come though, because he loved being the entertainer in the family, even before he could walk or talk.

 

Well, he did baseball and basketball. But where we live they only play for 2 months. He eventually did martial arts up to a blue belt. He had fun, but my little entertainer loved being the center of attention. No better way to get attention then being the only boy in ballet classes. He went through all the taunts at school, but I just kept encouraging him. I told he could quit if he didn't love dancing. He now encourages the younger boys and tells them not to pay attention to mean comments.

 

10 years later my 14 year is the top in our state. (unfortunately, part of that reason is that he is the oldest boy in our area dancing). It's nice because he has three dance studios begging him to perform for them. One even picked a performance, just so he could be the lead. (He has played every role in the Nutcracker). He loves dancing, especially since he is starting to partner and girls are suddenly a lot more interesting.

 

He has the bug and is seriously considering a career. He has been to a few SI's. This year CPYB. Soon, I think we will have to consider a residential program. There are a few good dance programs here, but very few classes. I guess time will tell. As long as he's having fun, I'll be in the wings watching him

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Clara 76

Glad to have you here, Dawcett!!!!

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bflo

Congratulations to your DSs, zizza and tropicfive.

 

Hi zizza,

What does this phrase that you used in talking about your son mean? I haven't heard it before and was curious.

"being assessed out of White Lodge ..."

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Hans

It means he was not invited to return for the next year of training at the Royal Ballet School.

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zizza

bflo - so sorry not to have answered your question (I'm now a moderator on a British based ballet forum and it keeps me quite busy!) - but fortunately Hans answered for me.

 

Each year (for the first 3 years) the students at White Lodge have appraisal classes around January time when a panel watches them in class and in the February half term break you hear whether they are being offered a further year's training. If it's bad news is coloquially known as "being assessed out". My son was never very flexible which was always a concern (although noone particularly helped him with that until he moved schools). Miss Stock (Director of the RBS) has been quoted in a couple of articles saying that they"assess the children out who they don't think have the potential to be classical ballet dancers - but I'm pleased to say they don't always get it right :-)

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bflo

Thanks to you both. I wasn't familiar with White Lodge either ... no now I have a sense of both.

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J66B11J06

My son watched some friends (girls) in The Nutcracker in 2009 and said "I want to do that". We thought he had forgotten, but he reminded us when auditions came up in August 2010. This is his 3rd year in The Nutcracker and he will be Fritz this year! He loves ballet and lives to dance... thanks to the Nutcracker.

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Alan

When my son was five we wanted to find a physical activity that a very energetic child could participate in, we found a local studio where he was the only boy. He received a lot of attention from the teachers and had a prominent role in his class's end of year recital. Two years later we moved to Germany and found a local studio for him. Since they only spoke German and he was not very fluent in the language he became frustrated and quit. In Germany he played soccer and enjoyed that a lot. When he was 10 years old we were living in South Carolina where a local studio was offering an all boys class with a male teacher so we enrolled him in one class a week. Soon he was taking all three boys' classes and performing in the schools productions. This was not enough ballet for him so he took classes with the girls three days a week. He is now 16 and attending a pre-professional school as a boarding student. He wants to dance professional and is working hard to achieve that goal.

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jflyte

After my DD's first Nutcracker she and I began to study the classical ballets. Her brother liked watching the DVDs, and he began to asked lots of questions. (He had declared in years past that he would never take ballet. ) He also began to want to ride with us to the studio. I kept telling him that he couldn't watch the classes, but he begged. Finally, I asked him, "Do you want to take ballet?". He quietly said, "I wouldn't mind trying it." So he went with us, and I introduced him to the director of our small pre-pro academy that teaches Vaganova. After one lesson, he was offered a scholarship, and one year later, he's a much happier kid. He's 12 now and has had several performing opportunities. He's one of only a handful of boys there, but he loves it and is improving rapidly. He'd live at the studio if he could. Thankfully, we were able to recently move close to it. He and 9 yr old DD take dance 5 days a week there.

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bluemountain

My son is still starting in ballet, but yet we already have a few dancing years to look back at and think about. He was born dancing and leaping, just as many other kids. We tried ballet at five, but there were no other boys in class and he was too shy to join the girls. A friend of ours invited us to a ballroom studio show and our son got hooked on it. We waited, however, for two years before we moved close enough to the studio to bring him in. He started his ballroom training at seven, he still loves it. Teachers are calling him gifted, telling us that he is dancing smartly (which means he knows his body very well and understands the nature of dances). A couple of years ago we added ballet to correct his sense of balance, etc. Since then we kept ballroom as his primary style and ballet as the secondary. But things started to change this summer.

We always try to encourage our son to watch great dancers, to practice independently, to try to choreograph small pieces based on his current knowledge. He loves doing that, but he always needs that first push. That is when we talk about ballroom. When we talk about ballet we have to stop him. Starting this summer, he is constantly dancing ballet at home. He is learning about great ballet dancers, watching their videos. He is learning their dances, compares different interpretations and creates his own ones. He just asked for one more ballet class a week. He dances in his sleep. He teaches ballet to everyone he is lucky to catch in our living room. He is excited about new variations he might dance in future…

This switch to ballet from ballroom is very new and somewhat shocking to us. We still keep ballroom, but had to move it to the back burner for now. It’s hard to tell where he will be in a couple of years, knowing what he can do, once motivated. Yet, we don’t want him to burn out and try to keep the whole situation under control. There is also school and other activities that require his attention as well.

Well, this is how it all started :)

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chel

DS was born with some health challenges. As one small piece of his very complicated puzzle he would not cross the mid-line of his body with arms, hands, or legs. He would move a crayon from one hand to the other instead of drawing across a page, he would not kick a ball across the other leg, nothing. We put him in a creative movement class at age 4 because his older sister was in dance, he liked music, and quite frankly, it was cheaper than occupational therapy co-pays on our insurance. For DS, it was love at first step. He skipped and leaped and twirled like he was born to it. It took almost three years before he would cross the mid-line of his body but his limitations never slowed down his enthusiasm for being there. To look at him at the barre at age 11 you would never guess how far he has come. I am amazed at his journey over and over again.

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Alan

chel, that is a great story about your son. Thank you so much for sharing. Best wishes to your son for where ever his future will take him. Performing arts can really be healing.

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pasdedeuxmama

My son's dad is from Argentina, so he has always been encouraged to dance at home. He and his younger sister loved to tango together (well, their interpretation of tango anyway). He also loved soccer and basketball. When his sister had her first tech rehearsal for Nutcracker, I noticed how riveted he was to the whole thing. This year, he actually got upset with me when we didn't attend every single one of her performances and I had to buy last minute tickets to placate him.

 

When asked if he'd like to dance, he would always respond 'no thank you.' After two seasons of this, I started to get annoyed. He obviously wanted to dance, he seemed to be very interested in it, and I kept catching him leaping and playing 'toy soldier' in my living room, but he just hadn't worked up the courage to try it.

 

Around Christmas this year, I mentioned in passing that I didn't think the boys in our Nutcracker actually even had to take a class. His sister piped up that in fact, one of the boys this year had actually been a girl. He looked me dead in the eye and said, "Oh mom, I expect to do bigger things than that. If I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it well" Still refused lessons, though. (And I nearly died choking back my laughter.)

 

Finally, finally, finally...one very late night, after I picked him up from soccer practice....

 

"Mom, I've decided something. I want to take a ballet class."

 

I nearly drove the car off the road, I was so surprised. I kept waiting for him to tell me that he has changed his mind, but he's very insistent. We observed a boys' class at his sister's school. He practices with her at home. He's very upset that at our school he has to wait until September to start classes.

 

We had a little heart-to-heart about being a boy in ballet classes. He'd be a pioneer, kind of like I'm a pioneer in my STEM career - often the only girl at the conference table. "Mom, I'm not worried. I'm UNIQUE."

 

Yes, yes he is.

 

I hope that ballet lives up to his expectations. I hope that he stays as unique and confident as he is right now. I hope that he survives the middle school lunchroom.

 

It's great to have found a place where people understand what special guys we have here!

Edited by pasdedeuxmama

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