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Ballet Talk for Dancers

New-Boys only Dance Class!


ksinkc

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I will be starting a new "Boys Only Dance Class" soon and would love to hear success stories from parents and teachers. I have several boy themed ideas for exercises and movements across the floor, but want to be "armed" with as many ideas as possible! Any help would be greatly appreciated.

 

This class is 40 minutes long and for 4 to 6 year olds. I am planning the movements to be more boy oriented jazz/hip hop and basic marches, skips, gallops, leaps, etc. and not really any ballet. Thanks!

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4-6 year-olds are more or less unisex in vocabulary. Pre-ballet is pre-ballet. RAD has its little girls waving scarves. They stock little (British) flags for the boys in order to encourage bolder arm movements from the ground up. Jacques d'Amboise had things he did with slightly older boys to encourage jumping, like make a pile of jackets and coats (soft) in the middle of the floor, then take a charge at it, and jump over! I like to play "Simon Says" with my first-year boys on things like body positions, foot positions and arm positions. But even that's a little much for the 4-6 crowd. You can figure out other things to put there, e.g., simonsaysfaceleftsimonsaysfacerightsimonsaysfacefrontfaceright. Wrong, wrong wrong. You have to show me a pointed foot, then we'll start again.

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I'm sure this sound so totally obvious, but please don't forget to have them bow. My DS did a pre-ballet class. At the end, the instructor made everyone curtsy. DS didn't know any better and didn't care, but still...

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How many boys are enrolled? Just wondering.

 

Anyway, 4-6 is a huge age range at that level of development, not that it can't be done, but getting as much early childhood training under your belt would help as well. You may already have a degree in it, for all I know! Just a suggestion as I don't know you. Another thing I thought of is incorporating some martial arts movements, and maybe even some stage combat.

 

If you want to stick with ballet, I do highly suggest RAD as Major J. said above. They have a really comprehensive curriculum for little ones, and do take gender into account like with the flags.

 

Good luck!

Clara 76

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My daughter's dance teacher has run a "boys only" class for 5-7 year olds for two years, and then an older boy's class as well. Not sure what the older boys do, but the younger ones do pretty much pre-ballet exercises, with hardly any time at the barre. They do a lot of conditioning - push ups, sit ups, stretches, and skipping, jumping, leaping and turning games. Pretty much they stay moving the entire time. Mostly they seem to practice on maintaining personal space, learning to form lines and stay in the line while doing various movements, bowing, and learning the positions so far. She also spends the first five minutes of class showing them a clip of videotape or dance mag pictures of male dancers doing something, has an older boy come in and demonstrate the move if one is available, and then focuses on pre-skills for that movement, a tour, or whatever. That way they see what they are working towards, and why they have the specific exercises.

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Last year my son was in a boys class that wasn't strictly a ballet class, but incorporated ballet, jazz and I think some hip-hop moves. They did lots of leaping and strength-building exercises, some stretching, and worked on choreography to pop music and I think a song from Westside Story. The teacher also inserted educational blurbs about their bones and muscles whenever he could, which I really appreciated. He didn't talk down to them or assume they were too young to understand what a metatarsal was, and my son learned a lot! It was great.

 

Something they did every week was play follow the leader around the studio. That might be a fun game for the little ones!

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Thank you for all your suggestions and insight!

 

The first class was Monday and the boys responded well to the exercises and were absolutely enthralled with our two teachers. As a studio owner for years, I do know this high attention level will change after the first few classes, once the boys get more comfortable! They obviously needed assistance remembering to stay in their spot and learning where to go after their turn across the floor, but I was very proud of all the boys and the instructors!

 

Thanks to a very enthusiastic MOM, we have about 10 boys ages 3 to 6 and all but two of the youngest participated the whole 40 min.

 

Our class basically consisted of:

Stretching (crow instead of butterfly)

pantomime-blow up a bubble

martial stances

marches like a soldier

skips

emboites

chasses

grand jetes (over a big sword)

 

My worries of it being too "girly" were unfounded as the teachers did a great job of describing the steps in a very masculine way.

 

Next week, we plan to add a few very basic Hip Hop steps, one of the teachers uses in a beg class at another school.

 

Thanks again to everyone for their ideas.

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