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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Exam discipline for small boy?


dianec

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My son's teacher would like to enter him for Grade 1. He'll be 8 in July. Although he's doing just fine at the dancing and enjoying it, he's very resistant to wearing anything other than ordinary shorts and t-shirt (I think this is a reaction to the sea of little pink leotards and skirts in his class, where he's the only boy). He also doesn't see why he should stand quietly in the corner when he's not dancing and is inclined to run around being an aeroplane or some such. I don't really mind whether or not he takes the exams but on the other hand he will need to get to grips with the discipline in the end to make progress. Does anyone have similar experiences they could share with me? I'm very unsure about whether to enter him or not.

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Personally, I wouldn't push him. It's hard enough on boys who want to dance. I don't know your child but from what you are describing, I would guess that entering him into a more disciplined level may be enough to push him out of ballet alltogether, and perhaps even leave him with a bad taste in his mouth.

 

 

As I hear more of these stories, I wonder if we dance teachers aren't failing boys....in other words, boys learn differently than girls, especially at those young ages. Perhaps it is time for a major shift in how we look at creating male dancers.

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Hi dianec - I agree with Clara 76 - don't push your son - he is still young and full of energy. Sounds like he is not quite ready for the discipline of an exam class. You don't want to turn him off ballet. My DS didn't start ballet until 9 and he didn't do an exam until 11 - I think - can't quite remember the exact years. I remember his first ballet class - the only boy in a class of young girls in pink tights and little pink skirts. He was so serious though and persevered much to my surprise. I think having a jazz class at that time with a male teacher helped him immensely too.

 

Boys want to run around and jump and leap - one of the ballet schools in our town has a dedicated boys class which explores all of these energetic, large male movements - it is not a traditional, structured ballet class, but the teacher gets many boys. It is a loud and boisterous and fun class. And some boys, not all, pursue more ballet classes after this first creative dance experience!

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I agree with the previous posts that you shouldn't push your son. Boys do learn differently than girls and they are different in so many other ways. What is important is that he loves it. Nurture that.

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As the mom of a 7 year old son, I often wonder if these early ballet classes are set up with girls in mind (or at least, the teachers have much more experience in teaching girls). I really think the girls have an easier time standing still and listening to the teacher than do the boys in the class. Fortunately, sometimes his teacher sees the boys fidgeting a lot and has the girls sit down while she practices leaps and jumps with them (they're not really ready for these moves, but they have a fun time trying!). This doesn't happen as often as I would like.

 

A friend of mine told me of a dance class at place she used to live (before she moved to my town). She said it was for boys 4-8 and they didn't call it a *dance* class-- it was a "Superhero" class. The boys were encouraged to wear superhero costumes to class (she encouraged tights and capes, but they could wear other costumes as well), and they did danced and jumped to superhero music and familiar orchestral music like Star Wars. She said they even did their superhero dance at the end-of-the-year recital and it was a huge hit. The hope was that the boys would decide to stay at the studio and enroll in traditional dance classes when they outgrew the class. She said it was a new class so she doesn't know if it had the intended effect or not. All I know is that it sounds like something my 5 and 7 year old boys would LOVE!

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I think it depends on the personality of the boys. Some are quieter and some are more figety just like the girls. I wish I could have a separate class but there is often not enough boys to do it. I do things like, let the boy dance with every group. Have them do some special exercises. (RAD already has them built into the syllabus) If you are working on individual stuff have the boy work the stereo. Keep them busy busy busy.

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