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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Little Boys and Ballet


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Over the holiday weekend my husband and children and I met my husband's mother's fiance's family. Wow, now that's a mouthful!


During a conversation about the kids, my DD's "dancing" was discussed. Future stepfather, went to a professional performance that she was in last year, but was appalled by the men in tights. He refused to ever go again, unless it was strictly a children's program. So, anyway, he and his son started spouting off all of the stereotypical comments about men and boys in ballet. :sleep:


While I tried to set them straight, DD walked off and started crying. I never realized how much all the negative talk would effect her. I was so very angry! This man is going to be her uncle, and she's already not liking him very much. As far as she's concerned, if you don't support boys dancing, then you don't support her either! She's definitely a team player!


When she walked off, my husband chased after her, and I advised future stepbrother that he needed to stop. He said he was sorry, but in the same breath said "But how many of 'them' do you know who are married?" :D


I personally know of two who teach at DD's studios. And, I know of many more, mostly through my research. And then I asked him if it really mattered if they WERE indeed gay (because this is what he was implying)...I mean really...does it matter? Of course, he had no answer....but I think by then he was afraid to speak. It's all very strange to me, because up until that point, I was really liking future stepbrother.


Some of the things he was saying were awful...things I had never heard before. Because I realize there are youngsters (both boys and girls) who might read this thread I won't mention specifics.


I'm angry, not only because of what he believes, but because he thought it was appropriate to discuss it in front of my 10 year-old DD, without consideration for her feelings. I'm actually glad she ran off, because she missed the most colorful remarks.


On another note: Mom of a boy at my DD's SI said her son only recently started to dance again, because a few years ago, he was at a BOY'S ONLY CHOIR CAMP, and got teased by the other boys when her son's male dance teacher was hired by the camp to teach the boys some "moves". :blink:


Maybe it's just me, but I thought boys in a choir, boys in gymnastics, and other boys in predominantly "girl" activities would be more sensitive to boys who dance.

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Mel Johnson

Just goes to show you, beauty may be skin deep, but ugly goes clear to the bone.


To boys in a choir camp, they might just decide that vollleyball was declassé. Kids make pecking orders no matter what. But your daughter did what was right for a child. She left. But she has to be informed, "Dear, Uncle Archie is a bigot. Don't engage him in conversations about topic X." X being ballet, which will inevitably lead to males in ballet, which is his trigger. Problem is, Uncle Archie is clearly a hostile/aggressive and is just likely to bring the topic up unbidden. In that case, she's perfectly free to rebut what he says, if she can, or even tell him off.

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What is this problem with "men in tights" that some people have. Is it because tights are somewhat "revealing"? If so, at least male dancers wear dance belts. Do these people stop going to or watching the cycling, swimming, rowing, running and other sports that have men garbed in simliar apparel and don't wear some type of undergarment?


I think it's a sad reflection of some parts of our society where a person's worth is judged by whether they are gay or not, married or not, wear tights or their career. As long as you are good citizen, do the best that you can, try to be fair, accepting and treat people with kindness and acceptance what does it matter if you wear tights, dance or whatever.

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Mel Johnson

My favorite rejoinder to the tights-haters is, "Watzamatter, afraid you wouldn't 'measure up' if YOU had to wear tights?" And my usual comeback to the assumption about sexual orientations runs along the line: "You must know quite a few male dancers quite personally in order to be able to make such a conclusion. How many DO you know?" And then don't let them go! "Well, I've heard that..." "No, that's not what I asked, how many do you know personally?" "Everybody knows that..." "I don't know that, how many do you know personally?"

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There is a very narrow definition of what is manly in this country. I just spent time with my husbands family, at which during an adult only dinner the men were razing the parents who's son plays soccer... "real boys play football." The father of the newborn was saying "no son of mine will play soccer". Blah, Blah, Blah. One slight was made in my direction about my son, who is a martial artist. Men from this family play manly sports and major in engineering or math.


My father was a writer, a poet, a painter and a musician, although he went into business. My son is following in his footsteps. He definitely will not be a math and science guy. At one time my son expressed interest in taking ballet. My husband was opposed, at which I was very surprised. He is very admiring of the male students at our ballet school. In the end he said it had to do with "what people would think", which again surprised me. However, this past week I got a very clear view of "what people" he was talking about.


We have about 12 male students at our dance school, ranging in age from 7 to 16. Of the 12 I think 10 of them have at least one parent born outside the US.


America... where men are men :)

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Mel Johnson
America... where men are men :)

And sheep are nervous! :sweating:

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I just spent the morning watching boys in speedos playing water polo, much more revealing than tights I might add. It was really funny too when my son was comparing his workout with my daughter 's pilates and stretches how similar the things that they do are. :D We are very lucky that the men in our family are polite enough to keep their comments to themselves. It is so hurtfull for a child to hear such comments :yes: It makes me mad!

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I'm on the faculty at the Clara R. Noyes Academy of Ballet Internationale-Indianapolis (breath) and two semesters ago, we started a program just for boys and called in Athletes In Motion. You would freak out if you saw the room full of 25 young boys ages ranging from 5-13. It was unbelievable. The following semester I headed the continuation of the class called Boys Dance where I started to hint ballet at them. It is amazing what a few words could and can do to change a young boys perception of ballet. I only have about 5 of the original 25 while many of the others decided to stay In Motion, but these are the boys willing to take that extra step to say screw you, I'm dancing.

Hope my words weren't too crewl. The mothers are so happy with their boys and are keeping them in the Boys Dance class and have signed them up for another semester. I hate stupid people!


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Mel Johnson

Gotta love the methodology! :angry:

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Guest Chedva

I just returned from my DD's performing arts camp (not an intensive). It's musical theater, voice, instrumental music, etc. as well as dance. In a "half empty, half full" kind of way, I was pleased to see that there was a boy this year in the ballet pieces, and a different boy in the modern piece. Of course, I was also disappointed that in a performing arts environment, there was only one boy in each of them! It was, however, a great experience, and in the musicals, you could clearly tell the kids who had ballet from those who didn't, even when they weren't dancing. The stage presence was remarkable!

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My non-ballet daughter is in a musical theater camp last week and this week as well. There are 60 students, of which I'd estimate 1/3 are boys. Ages range from 12-17. I was pleased to see that many boys, but because my younger DD has no boys in her ballet school, it makes me wonder about the stigma of boys dancing in ballet.


Why are there less negative remarks to spout when a boy is dancing jazz or modern? I'd hate to think this is all over a pair of tights! Maybe we can call them "Full-Length Opaque Muscle Enhancing Jammers". :wink:


Combine that with Stinger784's Athletes in Motion, and we might be on to something! :o

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  • 3 months later...

knock knock ballet student here.



In my previous ballet studio we used to have over 150 students of all ages and levels but hardly any boys. One time we were performing Rossini`s fairytale ballet "La Boutique fantastique" and in one of the pre primary classes (age 3-5) there was a boy dancing together with the little girls. He was placed in front of the flock of girls (all were in bees outifts, the girls had black yellow tutus, black camisole leos and soft yellow wire antennae, the boy was wearing black cloth pants, a yellow shirt and a black hat with antennae- soo cute!) and acted as the leader of the whole bees flock. Obviously had a lot of fun and a good sense of movement and musicality. He was the star of the show :-)

OK shortly after that performance he quit.

Why did he quit?

Basically for two reasons:

There were no other boys in the class and he felt a little bit lonely and I know the little girls of his class were mocking him telling him that he is a boy and "boys dont belong in ballet!" (my studio is serious and gender neutral - you really have to search for any pink tutus- the pre primary class girls uniform is a light blue leo and white tights, from level one up its black leo and pink tights, for boys black pants and white shirt through all levels)

It is sad that certain images and gender roles already appear in 4 year old girls and my studio did certainly not provoke them so I wonder where those images come from. Parents? Barbie`s Nutcracker movies? :unsure::shrug::wacko:


Oh by the way similar things even happen in other art branches as well such as for example music.

My religious education teacher used to be a quite talented violin player when he was 10. He stopped playing it at age 12.

Part of the reason was he got busy preparing for his bar mizvah and part of reason was that actually in school the other boys started to mock and tease him, calling him a "sissy boy" (and other things I do not want to write on a family board :thumbsup: ) just because he was playing the violin!!!

Now at age 58 he does bitterly regret he did not pursue it.


So can you tell me what is wrong in our society which claims to be sooo open minded and tolerant???


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I really don't know, but if you find out, please tell me so that we'll both know!

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All right in case I ever should find out or anybody EVER finds out I know who to tell first :unsure::wacko:


Oh just notice this is my post #100!! yay!

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