Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers to close ×
Ballet Talk for Dancers

Son getting serious about ballet


Recommended Posts

Our son has now voiced a new seriousness about ballet. He is talking about dropping his Irish classes to only study ballet. Right now he is in a Level2-3 class of Vaganova training. This past weekend the guest artisit from Miami told him he should take some SI's. I am curious to know people's expereince with them and whether their sons enjoyed them. Also what are the pluses of some of the different programs? Any suggestions for ones that your sons seemed to prefer and why?


(we will be talking with his teacher about SI's but I'd like to see what some parents opinions are. We are in central NY region so there are several available possibilities for SI')

Link to comment

I forget how old he is, HOTW, but if he's interested in doing SIs, there are certainly many to choose from.

Depending upon his age and if there are SIs close to home, that would be one option. My son is 18 now and he always just did our home SI.


However, his friends have done both; stayed at home for a few years and then when they felt ready, gone elsewhere.


But I have also known some young ones who opted to go at a very young age and it was the best decision for them.


However, if he is 15, it is at least time for him to be auditioning to see where he stands in the overall big picture.


I think there are several things to keep in mind here. One is the mental readiness of the child to leave the nest for that length of time. Some 10 yr. olds would fall apart being away for 6 weeks, others would thrive.


Another would be that one SI might be a perfect fit for him one year, but the next, not so much. So it is really difficult to sit here and tell you, "Oh, boys should only go to X,Y,& Z SIs because ______________". What works for one kid, is the worst thing for another.


Knowing his age would be helpful from a 'teaching" standpoint, because it sounds like he's very steeped in one methodology. The younger they are the better it is to stay with that methodology until it has 'set' for lack of a better term prior to my coffee. :shrug:

Link to comment

My son is a non-dancer, but a good reason he has had for "going away" to camps and programs is that there are few boys nearby with his particular interest, and it is huge fun to get to "hang out" with other guys who share his interests over the summer. Developing a peer group really upped his interest in his activities and sport. For that reason, I suggest reading SI reviews and finding programs with a good solid group of male attendees.

Link to comment



My DS is turning 13 in March and is going away to dance for the first time this summer. For the last three years, he has done the summer intensives that are at his home studios, but this year he will be going to the National Ballet School in Toronto.


Last summer my son made it very clear to us that he needed to be with other boys who danced, and that he felt lonely being the only boy in all his classes. Being with other boys has become really important to him, and I think that is one of his reasons for wanting to go away this summer. He also wants to experience different teachers and different surroundings. I think one of the great things about summer intensives are that they are an opportunity to travel and see different parts of the world.


The other reason my DS is going away and has selected this particular program is that it can develop into a residential program for him, which he says he wants. A number of boys and girls find they need to move away from home in order to dance and finish school, and they will often choose summer programs based on that need.


What I have done to research the various summer programs is to just comb the summer intensive forums here looking for any comments about boys from parents of boys or the boys themselves. You probably want to consider his Vaganova training and look for a Vaganova-based program, and you also probably want to consider length, cost, location, etc.

Link to comment

HOTW My son is a senior in high school but he has been doing SI's since 7th grade. As a male dancer his favorite summer programs are : Rock School in Phladelphia, Miami City Ballet (I think 13 is young for that program), Ellison Ballet in NYC


He has also attended Houston Ballet Academy' SI and liked the instruction but not the rest of the SI. So many of them are so good but I am partial to Rock as a first experience for a 13 year old. They are able to dance with other male dancers, they have a wonderful caring staff, the chaperones are parent volunteers, not college aged RAs and there are wonderful field trips on the weekends so they still have some fun.


Edward Ellison is an incredible teacher but I think 13 is a bit young for that one as well. Just my 2 cents worth.

Link to comment

Son is 13. He has been at this school only 1 1/2 years but the older higher level girls comment on his ability. The guest from Miami was very taken with him as well as last years guest from Milwalkee. He only began dancing at 9. This is his 3rd school but 1st in classical training. He's quite mature for his age so we will be seriously consdiering sending him to a SI this year if we can swing it. I have heard a lot about CPYB his teacher does teach there as a guest. He is lucky in that he has a male teacher who has produced some very solid professional dancers. I'd like to know how sons have felt they got out of going to SI's. The advantages and minuses.




HOTW- I fixed your post. And do tell him to log off :D

Edited by Clara 76
Link to comment

Thirteen is a great age to start going to SIs. Find one with lots of boys and male teachers. It's really encouraging for them to take classes where they're not the only boy. Ballet is very social for the girls and I think we forget how much boys need that social aspect as well. In smaller studios they get left out because they're "the boy". Even if there's another boy they might not be friends. SIs are a great opportunity for the boys to really experience that ballet isn't just for girls.


My sons are young and not thinking about dancing professionally. My oldest boy recently turned 13. Both my boys enjoyed the SI. DS1 like the camaraderie with the guys. He enjoyed working out in the weight room. Men's class was very challenging. He benefited by being around guys of different ages. From 12-26. He noticed attributes and character traits that he either did or didn't want to emulate. It isn't that often that he can be around males of such varied ages and backgrounds. I think the experience has helped him in building his identity and confidence. I'm glad that he had so many good role models. They weren't perfect but he took away from each one something that he wanted to improve in his own life. His abilities, seriousness and focus in ballet increased as well.

Link to comment

13 is a fine age if he is ready!


The next step to finding out the answers to your questions is to start reading some SI reviews for the schools you and your son are interested in. At the top of each review it will state the posters' sex and age. There is a wealth of informations in those reviews!

Link to comment

Dancersteven has some excellent advice for you. (Next time, he'll write me since he's not the parent of a boy and I'll post it for him just as I did this time :wink: )


"Thirteen is a great age to start doing SI's for boys. Perhaps the best part (from your point of view) is that it is very unlikely that you will choose the WRONG intensive and ruin his ballet technique forever. So start thinking about what is important to you and talk to your son about what he wants in a SI, especially as far as size, cost, location, faculty ect., and read everything in the Summer Intensive forums, that's what they are there for!"

Link to comment

I've been out of the loop for a little while because of being so busy, but part of that has been the support I have been providing my protégés' dance school in its end of year presentation made last Thursday night.


Firstly, the performance was a stunning success. My 11 year old male protégé performed his first pas-de-deux and he was brilliant, winning applause when lifting and carrying his partner, setting her down light-as-a-feather. He looked strong, masculine, confident up on that stage, and both his parents and I were very pleased and proud of him.


My 9 year old female protégé (his sister) was on stage for the first time, and revelled in it. She enjoyed herself immensely and is a hard-and-fast adherent to dance from here methinks...


A newcomer to the dance school is a 14 year old boy, whose sister already danced there. He was into karate, and on the advice of someone (I don't know who), joined the dance school to improve his control and kicking. VERY shortly after he started, he recognised just how much more fun he could have dancing, and he abandoned karate to concentrate on dancing. The senior-most staff member, who has been dancing for more than seventy years in one form or another (I do not lie) spotted him and has taken him under her wing. In the short months leading up to the concert, she put him through his paces, and he danced for the first time publicly on the stage at that concert, with only four months experience under his belt. He was brilliant - he's a natural - and afterwards I was present backstage when he came up to his new mentor and thanked her profusely for helping him come to recognise the true love he has now for ballet. More than jazz, more than character, he just loves ballet.


The school is expanding as it is relocating next year, and they've recruited my services to help promote the fact to the local community. Debuting at the concert was a new run of brochures I have designed for them, one of which is directly specifically at boys. The school recognises the importance of boys amongst the ranks, and the importance of ensuring they prosper as much as the girls. Indeed, one of the school's male alumni appeared that night as a guest performer, his last appearance before becoming a full time professional with the Australian Ballet. All the boys looked up to him and saw the same potential in themselves, I'd wager, even the ones who only dance for fun.


Separate change rooms already exist (though the boys' one is actually a thoroughfare, but that has more to do with the physical layout of the premises than any prejudices); the new venue will have dedicated rooms for ladies and gentlemen. New staff are coming on board, including a dedicated male teacher for the boys. The school is on the up, and I'm glad to support it where I can.

Link to comment

I'm so happy things are going so well for all of you, Dave!!! That's wonderful news! :hyper::devil:

Link to comment
  • 3 weeks later...

Just some thoughts HOTW....

Since you are in Central NY, the NYSSSA program is an option for him. It's extremely cost effective, and he would see younger male dancers from SAB as well as older ones, and would be taught by a myriad of talented teachers. The other advantage to this program is that they attend the ballet every night. It's tiring, and the day is long, but it's wonderful exposure to NYCB. I'm not familiar with recent years in this program, so perhaps some others could jump in here re: supervision, housing (which has been at Skidmore in the past) etc.


I believe you said that his training is Vagonova based...this is somewhat different than what he would get at NYSSSA or at CPYB, but at his age, good technique is what you're looking for.


Another option in the upstate NY area is Chautauqua for which he would audition through the NCDT program.


Boston Ballet and the Rock School have programs for younger dancers with housing as well. And of course, there is the SAB program.


Good luck to him and to you!

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...