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Ballet Talk for Dancers
silkmaiden

When you get comments from moms of girls.....

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pasdedeuxmama   
pasdedeuxmama

Other moms aside, it is incredibly difficult for me as a mom of both a boy and a girl to see how differently they are treated. My daughter has studied longer and is better, but she is ignored while he is a 'star'. It's incredibly frustrating for all of us, embarrassing for him, and puts him in positions that he isn't ready for (hours upon hours of rehearsals for Nut his first time ever that he couldn't really handle - I would have preferred a gentler introduction). Fortunately, my son is kind to his sister about it and my daughter very supportive of him.

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Danza2   
Danza2

I also have both a son (16) and a daughter(13) who dance. It is difficult to see the difference in treatment. They are both talented and are on pre professional paths. The path has been much easier for my son, aside from some bullying and teasing at school between 9 to 11 years old.

 

As far as training at the studio and being challenged to his fullest potential, my son pretty much had an easy ride. He is featured in solo and partnering pieces because he is the only male dancer in the upper division. He also has several private lessons a week because his development is at a point where he needs to focus on men's technique and he is the only boy in the upper division so he is alone. On top of the solo classes he receives in his weekly dance schedule, he also partners and gets even more individual coaching for his performance pieces. This attention has made him improve theatrically as a dancer and has also boosted his confidence as a dancer. His little sister works just as hard and has had more consistent and stronger work ethics when it comes to her training. However, she has not been given as many performance opportunities or featured roles as her brother.

 

While I am proud of my son and daughter equally, it is difficult to see what appears to be favoritism for my son.

 

Little sister is very supportive, not jealous, and understanding. She loves to dance and dances for the joy of dance. It is her passion that drives her. And she seems to hold her own and carry herself so well through it all. I feel working harder for the reward has made her a stronger dancer and she has been so patiently waiting for opportunities that seem to be coming her way now.

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Danza2   
Danza2

Padesdeauxmama - I wish there was a "LIKE" button. My daughter is in the same situation as yours. Very supportive. My son was never given more than he could handle on stage, but he was given training at a more rapid pace because they wanted to develop him to his fullest potential, while it seemed for a time my daughter's development was being restrained. Also, big brother is very supportive of little sister. We hope to have them partnering after the holiday season.

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J66B11J06   
J66B11J06

I can handle the negative comments from the other moms - "he's a boy, of course he'll get in and get a scholarship", "boys don't have to be as good as our girls at the same age", etc. I can take those comments for what they are - frustration and jealousy. What I have an issue with is when they say it to my son directly, or indirectly. One Dance Mom informed her daughter that my son was going to "turn out gay" and her daughter shared that with the other girls in his class. Or when they walk up to my son and make comments about his dancing skills, "you still have lots of work to do to catch up with... (my daughter)". One mom even berated him after a performance saying he did something that "ruined the whole show" (in front of his guests), although the anger was actually with her daughter who forgot her part. I guess they are just more opportunities to build his character!

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Clara 76   
Clara 76

Unfortunately, bullies exist in all walks of life, and learning how to deal with them now will help with the future. It never stops.

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momtoemandel   
momtoemandel

I'm always shocked when ballet moms make ignorant comments about masculine/feminine aspect of boys in ballet. I expect it from people who don't understand ballet, but ballet moms? I've actually started getting snappy with people. It's bad enough that my almost 13 ds has to keep ballet a secret at school and with his friends, but the studio should be a safe place. He really enjoys ballet but I could see him being pushed to quitting. He's so worried about what others think lately.

 

We just moved. So he is a little apprehensive around the girls anyway. Well, he is shy around girls period at this age until he gets to know them.

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Clara 76   
Clara 76

I know. It is disconcerting to think that there may be unsupportive people in our children's lives, especially in such a supposedly "accepting" environment like the arts. But, as I said, it's not just the arts where we will find such ignorance. Learning how to handle these people with grace, poise, and a sense of humor will prepare our children well for whatever their future holds.

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finallykf   
finallykf

We have one mom of a daughter at our studio who is actually a very sweet lady and very well intentioned but also very um . . . sheltered and über conservative in the way she raises her daughter. Every time we have older guest artists come to perform in our productions she always asks in a whisper if we know yet if any of the men "are gays" because she has a religious issue with gay people and doesn't want her daughter socializing with them. She is quite a bit older and VERY old school. But as the mom of a ballet dancing boy this annoys me to death because it's like there is just this assumption that since there are new male dancers in the building they must be gay. She once actually asked the AD in front of a group of parents if she knew if any of them were gay!!

 

But we live in an area where many people are openly hostile toward homosexual people so the fact that people tend to openly discuss the issue in front of the parents of the boys at our studio isn't that surprising to me. My husband has a great response whenever the sexual orientation issue is brought up. He points out to the parents of the female dancers that it's really the lesbian ballet dancers they need to be worried about, not the gay ones, since their daughters aren't undressing in the men's locker room. That usually shuts them up pretty quickly since it never occurred to them that a female ballet dancer might be gay!!!

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Thyme   
Thyme

Gosh. that is terrible finallykf. So bad on so many levels it is hard to know how to respond. Is it any wonder our young men quit? Having their developing sexuality publicly questioned! Who else has to put up with that? Young men are so vulnerable on this anyways (their sexual orientation seems to be questioned in many walks of life), having some ill mannered, ignorant person talking in this way is really THE LIMIT! Perhaps one day someone should tell her that every man in the building is in fact a closet gay. Perhaps she will shuffle off to another studio :)

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HuckleberryDawg   
HuckleberryDawg

I love your husband's response to them, finallykf. I may have to borrow that. :-)

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Redgemini   
Redgemini

I like your husband's response too. I have also been asked that outright about my son and he's far too young. I guess my open- mouthed blank stare wasn't a sophisticated response.

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cwc-od   
cwc-od

I am writing on my ds' account. He is 13 and gets the "gay" thing occasionally. He goes to a school with some hockey players who've bullied him a bit. The principle solved it by organizing a push up contest. DS smoked them! They have a new respect for the athleticism required now. Sometimes the girls feel as if he gets the spotlight all of the time during recital. If your the only boy, it's hard not to be. 1 Peter Pan and 10 tinker bells, etc

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dancemaven   
dancemaven

cwc-od, I almost removed your post because we recognize "cwc-od" as a Young Dancer.

 

On BT4D, we do not permit sharing of accounts. We require that each person have their own individual account and screen name, so that we know with whom we are conversing.

 

Please register for your own account and join in our various discussions. If you need help registering a second account on a shared computer, please check out the "How To" Forum. If you still have trouble, please use the "Contact Us" button at the top of the screen for help.

 

We look forward to you joining us with your own account. :)

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Moxie   
Moxie

The boys need all they can get in the way of support. Not coddling, but support. Especially when facing comments about their masculinity, sexuality, and going to class often being the only male in a room of 20+ girls. My guys deal with a lot of emotional, catty, clique-y girls. this may be girls in general and ballet magnifying it. Of course it isn't all of the girls, but an overwhelming majority of them at the studio.

 

Ballet does need boys. The more they can support them when they are spending that number of hours devoted to their art the better. They are often not finding the social life in ballet that other boys would have in the camaraderie of sports for example or even chess club for that matter. That is the one aspect my guys find difficult. The number of hours for academics and ballet leave no time for friends and they do not have the social life at the studio the girls do. The scholarships and good roles go a long way towards helping ease the challenges they face.

 

We used to get the little girls commenting "boys don't do ballet" and my guys would say girls weren't even allowed to do ballet for the first 100 years and who do you think is going to lift the girls? Factoid: Male dancers lift 1 to 1.5 tons of ballerinas during a performance.

 

The retort to guys when they got older "would you rather spend your time in the locker room with a bunch of naked sweaty guys or in a room full of beautiful women?"

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Tayperry88   
Tayperry88

From the moment my son started ballet he's known the importance of males on ballet. He would watch YouTube videos of males in ballet all the time, and I would read him articles and stories about successful male dancers. To be honest, I don't think he didn't realize how lopsided the numbers of girls vs boys were until he started classes lol. He was surprised to be the only boy in his class ( but got over it quickly because he's also the only boy in his 4 other dances, so he's used to it). He's never been ashamed of his ballet classes (granted he's only 7 and hasn't entered Middle school), tells everyone he's a ballet dancer.

 

One of the moms was talking to my son and asked what his favorite class was. As you can all assume he said ballet and her reaction: big gasp, she looks at me "you let him take ballet?! I would never let me son take ballet! There's no boys!!" Before I could even respond my son says, very matter-of-factly, "there are boys in ballet, I'm a boy and I dance in ballet. You SHOULD let Sam do it too, I really like my class! :)" talk about proud mama moment. She didn't have a response to him. I gave a little smirk and an eyebrow raise, but was laughing on the inside.

 

Another incident which just occurred yesterday, one of the DM's whose DD is 14 is in the middle of SI auditions. We were talking about which schools her DD was applying to, tuition, etc... I say, "I'm glad I have years before I need to seriously start thinking about my so. And SI's". Her response, " oh you'll have no problem, SI's kill to have boys in their programs, he'll get scholarshiped all the way through, plus he's black so he's got the minority card in his favor too" Wow was not expecting that.... I let it slide because it really got me off guard, and we are so far removed from SI's at this time that it wasn't worth getting into. It comes down to picking your battles...

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