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Doing my part


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I teach 10-year-olds in school. Today, I struck up a conversation with one of my students -- a pretty traditional and reserved boy.


"Gee, M__________, you look really flexible. Have you ever thought about trying ballet?"


The lad stammers, his friend snickers.


"Gosh," I say, all innocence, "what's wrong with that?"


"Well, um, you know ...."


"No, I don't really know. Anyway, I went to see the Bolshoi Ballet last night. They had these guys that could jump really high. And they did three or four turns at the same time!"


Silence. Then (from both boys simultaneously): "Really? That's cool! How high did they jump?" :innocent:

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Treefrog, I love it! As the parent of a ds it would have really helped him out in the terrible middle school years if someone had said anything positive about dance in his school. These boys need all the support they can get, the more boys there are the more acceptable it becomes.


Along those same lines, a few weeks ago I snuck into a school show where the Philharmonic Orchestra was playing and they had opera, dance and solo musicians. I was sitting in the first row trying to stay out of the way of all the teachers and kids when the cellist came down to talk to one of the Mom's a few feet away.


My son was doing the White Swan Pas from Swan Lake. The theme of the program was sounds of nature. Anyway, the cellist told the mom that the kids snickered when the male dancer came out and ran around looking for the white swan but the he won them over when he picked up the girl really high. That the one that was dancing today was really expressive, musical and had a lot of stage presence and she had heard the boys from prior shows talking about how it was kinda cool after the show. I think in pre-teen language that's about as good as it gets. I can't believe I was actually in the right place to hear that and wanted to stand up and say yep that's my boy! A little mom pride there.


Sure enough when ds came onto stage the boys all teehee'd but then when he started picking up the girl that was performing white swan it was a really different sound, kinda like ohhhhhh.


I really think that repeated exposure to the arts music, dance, opera or visual arts from a young age really keeps kids from deciding to hate something just because someone who has never been says its weird or other derogatory statements. It gives them a chance to make up their own minds. I have so many people tell me they would never go to the ballet because they hate it or the idea of men in tights embarrasses them. When I ask them if they've ever been to a ballet they always say no. I've talked a few people into going and when they do they love it. This includes my 76 year old uncle who just fell in love with it. The hands, he said, the hands are so beautiful how to they get them to be so expressive.


It would be great if after the school shows that the teachers could invite the performers, all the visual and performing art, in to do some 20 minute sessions in the classrooms so that the kids could ask questions about how they do what they do. Not only would they get to see the dancers jump really high and turn around many times and the musicians play cool instruments but they could also see they were just nice people too.


You know with all the violent pictures from video games and tv it would be so nice to take up some of the brain space with some beautiful pictures and sound.


I think most likely this is long enough to be a rant (sorry). :innocent:

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What is it with the tights thing? This year, while watching the Olympics, I paid special attention to sports in which men wore clothes that were essentially tights. Almost every male athlete wore them: weightlifters, track stars, cyclists, swimmers (very, very small versions of tights), and the list goes on. Nobody seems to have problems watching these men in "tights". Why can't people get over this phobia in this age of spandex? I really don't get it.

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:wink: cmtaka - your post was great, especially your last line. I love even just watching class - the movement, bodies and music combined are simply beautiful. It is a shame that more young people are not exposed to dance or music performances more regularly.


Treefrog - way to go!!!! :lol: Those dancing boys can use all the help they can get.


And the tights thing - just crazy - think of all those men watching all those NFL football games on the weekend - if the players are not wearing the tightest pair of lycra sports pants in the world, then what are they???? :sweating:

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What is it with the tights thing?

Good question Mrs. S. Let me jog off topic :lol: for a second. When my son was 14, he had a serious injury,patellar dislocation, coming out of a jump in ballet class. It required an ambulance trip to the emergency room to correct. The prep nurse had to cut his tights off of him and was kind and matter of fact about his injury. She asked if he was a wrestler and we told her, "No, a ballet dancer." She became very tight lipped and left quickly with an ice cold attitude. We had so much to worry about right then there was nothing we wanted to say or do. I will say it didn't make the visit any more comfortable.


Yay treefrog! :wink::sweating: It's those moments that start breaking down the attitudes! Way to go!

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Treefrog, way to go!


I teach preschool gymnastics, and one of my lessons involves taking a CD player and scarves, and my students "free form" dance. I use a lot of classical music as well as other types, and offer short explanations ("This is a march", "This is ballet music", etc.). In one particular class, the boys would sometimes actually refuse to dance to the ballet music ("Boys don't do ballet"), and I would have to gently explain that, yes, they do. Last week was our "music and scarves" week, and when I put in the ballet CD for this one class, one of the boys (the boys' little ringleader) very enthusiastically said, "Boys do ballet!". Yesssss...a small success!

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K8smom, have you considered showing your students Born to Be Wild - The Leading Men of American Ballet Theatre? It ought to knock their socks off. :thumbsup:


PAmom, maybe you can send that nurse a copy of this DVD with a current ABT roster enclosed. What an ignorant person she proved herself to be. :)


Treefrog, thanks for sharing that excellent replay! :D

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Guest justthedriver

Don't you mothers of DS's just wish we could clone Ethan Steifel and send him to every middle school in the country to show the boys that it's cool to dance? My son found the ABT video so supportive and inspiring. I wish he could watch it every day, to help give a little balance to all the "Hey, ballerina!" ap-cray he has to endure daily. Middle school really is the seventh ring of Hades.

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  • 2 months later...
Guest petersdance

(I'm new to the progam so hope I do this correctly.) This is a great forum. My son is 14 and in 8th grade at a middle school. He dances 1 hour away because that ballet school specializes in classical ballet and the schools here in town are more "recreational" dance. His middle school teachers are pretty supportive. We invited them to DS Nutcracker performance and 3 of them attended! They were impressed! His friends from the "recreational" dance school also came to watch. So far we've been lucky that both teachers and fellow students recognize the work and dedication classical ballet requires. :)

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(I'm new to the progam so hope I do this correctly.)  This is a great forum.  My son is 14 and in 8th grade at a middle school.

Hi petersdance. I am glad you posted on the Parents of Boys board. I agree that it's a great forum. Along with many great messages to read through on all of Ballet Talk for Dancers there are some terrific people here to offer their perspectives. It's not that easy to find a place where you can tap into the experiences and knowledge of such a specific slice of the ballet world. I am glad you can join in. :thumbsup:

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  • 2 months later...

During this year, my senior year in high school, I was on the grid iron and received a concussion during a punt. The next week I quit football and started ballet. The funny thing was, if I would have started ballet sooner; my punting would have been all-conference. I think any high-school sport WOULD benifet from ballet a few hours everyday. I haven't even got hurt in class yet (except a minor minor case of achilles tendonitous <sp?>)


Just my two cents.


ps. If anyone ever makes fun of a male dansuor, just be like "Barry Sanders danced!" and he was, in my book, the best running back of all time.

Edited by team-green32
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Guest PAmom

Hi team-green32 and welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers. It is exciting just how fit and balanced you can become as a ballet dancer. Have no regrets about not starting sooner; you can enjoy its benefits from now on. :clapping:


I see you have been enjoying some of the other forums. Don't forget to check out The Men's Forum. I am sure they have a lot of experiences common with yours (and will know Barry Sanders for sure). :flowers:

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When parents come with their children to register their daughter for dance, I always add "Perhaps your son could register too" They are always appalled by the idea! I think I should give them all a gift of the Born to Be Wild DVD to show them what it means to be a male dancer today. It's just plain ignorance of course. As someone said why does no-one make a fuss of sportsmen in tights - why only ballet dancers? Ballet dancers are often fitter and stronger than athletes. They have beautiful muscular bodies and their physical feets are amazing - the height of their jumps and the number of turns and the way they lift the females as if they weigh nothing - why should all this be considered wimpy?


I performed Onegin with the ballet company here when they gave a special children's performance. It was for kids from regular schools. They started off very very noisy during the first act and laughed quite loudly when the male dancer came out in white tights. However, we could feel them getting caught in to the drama and the appeal of the dance almost against their will. By the end of the ballet they were totally silent and the applause when it was all over was deafening. If everyone could be a little open-minded it would definitely help.


I always explain things this way - a boy might be more drawn to dance if he's gay because possibly he'd be more sensitive to the artistry involved , but if he's straight and is drawn to dancing for whatever reason, being a dancer certainly won't make him gay. He is who he is.

Edited by Hamorah
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PAmom, I have been looking at this board since x-mas, but was unable to post because of the free email rule. Sure am glad I can post now.

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