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I wanted to share a recent experience with you that aptly demonstrates how difficult it is to find a truly creative, progressive adult ballet class. I am a mid-career type, and hence typically A-type driven on any assignment. This mission impossible I have designated: "Looking for the 'perfect' ballet class for adult men". I have an array of 3X5 cards on which I have written the candidates and it will (of course) require personal visits to the more promising ones. I have found some of the classes either oriented toward girls and women or very young students only. And here in Florida, a fair number are actually “ballet exercise” classes incorrectly labeled as “ballet instruction for adults”.


But yesterday I made an initial contact with a local studio and talked to the owner. I inquired about an “adult ballet” class. She was quiet for a moment and said, “Well, you know most of the students are girls in that class.” I said simply “fine”. More silence followed during which I was beginning to feel like a pervert. :wink: Then she asked, “Have you ever had any ballet training before?” “No,” I replied. “How old are you?” was the next question. After I repeated my age, there was a considerable pause and then she asked, “Are you sure you don’t want our ballroom dancing class?”


That series of answers told me just about everything I needed to know. It let me in on the philosophy of the studio and the amazing array of ideas toward adult men in ballet – even among dance studio owners!


But – dearest fellow adult ballet dancers - my quest is just beginning. We’ll see how it actually turns out…

Edited by Trysden
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Aw...I'm sorry you had to endure that. It never fails to amaze me that even women who are in our profession can be so anti-male dancers. Good that you didn't take it personally and keep on trying.


Try bigger studios too as they will be more likely to have adult male dancers. Keep us posted on the journey! :wink:

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Thank you so very much for that word of encouragement! Evey little bit helps at his rather vulnerable point, I can assure you!!

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Well, if you ever get sick and tired of all that beautiful weather, sunshine, and fabulous sites, you'd be welcome to come up here to Ohio where the skies are always grey and it's cold and hot, and then cold (and that was just in the past 30 seconds :o ) and you'll develop asthma from all the pollution and allergies from Hedoubletoothpicks, but there are male adult dancers up here!! :bouncing: Several, at least, and you'd not be questioned about your motives. :wink:


I'm sure you'll find a place down there..... :shhh: It just sounds like it's going to take more legwork (Haha! Get it?? I'm so funny I crack myself up. :P ) and a tough skin.


Perhaps take a look at a school's website, and see if there are any male faculty members like a school director, that you could e-mail first. It upsets me to have to even say that, but unless you're dealing with a larger organization that is familiar with adult ballet students both male and female, it appears that you may have to start in this manner.


Also, be sure to have a look at how to choose a good ballet school. We have guidelines in Stickies at the top of some of our forums. Now, I can't tell you where exactly to look at the moment, because I can't rememb....uh, because I want you to do your own research ( :blushing::P ) but they may help you to make a choice.



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After I repeated my age, there was a considerable pause and then she asked, “Are you sure you don’t want our ballroom dancing class?”


Trysden, do you think that maybe she just has never come across a middle-aged (sorry! but I'm there too! :grinning: ) man who wants to learn ballet properly? Not that she's prejudiced, just that she was startled?


Anyway, good luck, and I hope you find a class (or two or three or 40) that suits you. But maybe it might be fun to just jump in and try a few? One of the things about ballet as an adult is that we need to leave our A type personalities at the studio door in certain respects and just go for it!


Good luck!

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Urgh. I'm sorry you had that experience. Hopefully the other studios you find are better!!!


I'm always glad when we have male dancers in the class... recently, there's one 50 year old that started dancing again, and it's such a pleasure to see him execute triple pirouttes so gracefully, though afterwards he'll mutter about how the combiinations were too hard for him. I'm especially fond of grumpy old male ballet dancers. :grinning:

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My initial reaction is that any studio who is reluctant to have men in an adult class is one where you wouldn’t want to take classes anyway. To me, it indicates a huge lack of professionalism and I would question the level of ballet they offer.


But frankly, before I started, I had reservations about what kind of reaction I might get. I realized that a ballet class would most likely be all women and was concerned how they might feel about having a man present in class with them. However, with all three studios I have ended up having classes with, the reaction has turned out to be very much the opposite. I have found that the studios, the teachers, as well as the fellow students have been nothing but encouraging to men in class (even when we’re old and grumpy :grinning: , thanks Ripresa).


Using the tips on choosing a school available here and some research, you will find that places that offer ballet can be subtlety but considerably different in orientation. To be blunt, some are more what I would consider social clubs than offering serious ballet classes for adults. In short, I’m sure the more professional the studios you approach, the less likely you would ever encounter any issue as you did.


On the other hand, as an adult male, get used to some startled reactions to taking up ballet! But you’ll also learn that the reactions will be a long way from the biggest challenges you’ll be facing in ballet :D !

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"Looking for the 'perfect' ballet class for adult men" - destined to fail, by definition.


"My initial reaction is that any studio who is reluctant to have men in an adult class is one where you wouldn’t want to take classes anyway."


I agree entirely.


I have found that all classes have been EXTREMELY welcoming of males. Also, they say it changes the nature of the class - makes it more mainstream I think - even if it includes just one quiet inoffensive male like me. Maybe it reduces any tendency to go in the direction of a "housewives exercise class".


Also, when I go to adult dance competitions (which we do sometimes, in what has been described as "the bizarre world of suburban dance competitions") just seeing occasional males on stage among the normal large numbers of women changes the nature of a group substantially - again, makes it seem more mainstream to society.


There is only one case where I have come across where males were unwelcome - this was stated on a website of a class in Sydney, which a member of this board used to go to. They said it was females only. (Unless they had special dispensation - which I doubt - this is breaking anti-discrimination law.) My guess is that for some reason the teacher felt unable to teach males, due to some personal insecurity (OK, a bit judgemental there). In this case, there would have been no problem, as there are a large number of excellent other classes in the vicinity.


"even when we're old and grumpy"


Old, but certainly not grumpy - if you started being grumpy, there would be only one way to go - out!



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I hope you find a studio you feel welcomed at. I love it when we have men in class. It changes the energy and the dynamics of the group!

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Do you mind sharing the county you're in? I used to live in FLA, and may possibly be able to point you in the direction of a studio. If you are uncomfortable sharing, my email is chiongvathotmaildotcom.


ETA: Have you tried Space coast Ballet?

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... have adult male dancers...


As long as we refer to "men" as "adult males" in this profession, we have a problem. But that's really a rant for another thread.

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Ohio isn't THAT bad!!! And as far as asthma, you can have THAT in Florida too (as I do). (Thank God for inhalers.) And about sunshine - remember that here we get sunshine in spades and we usually hide out in air conditioned rooms!!


Bless you for your comments - they are much appreciated I can assure you!




Dear Redbookish - it DID occur to me that the lady had never heard this bizarre request before! And further, I was also wondering (as she was probably also) about the reaction of 24 mothers of pre-teen girls when a man shows up in the class.


Now I see - it was merely an income stream reaction. Sighhhh.......




PS. Fortunately, by the grace of God, I do not do the "grumpy man" thing and I never, ever do the "old man" thing either. :)


OK - ONE MORE really-really silly question:


If a female ballet dancer is a "Ballerina", then what is a male ballet dancer's equivalent designation? :blushing:

Edited by Trysden
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The male equivalent for "ballerina" is "danseur". There is the term "ballerino", but its use is pretty much limited to Italy.

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... have adult male dancers...


As long as we refer to "men" as "adult males" in this profession, we have a problem. But that's really a rant for another thread.


Urm. What?


I don't get offended being called an "adult female".

Heck half the time I get referred to as a "girl".


Can you please not take my comments that way? Especially since most of this thread has been extremely supportive and outraged on behalf of the OP.


I assume you feel that the designation "adult male" may refer to more animals then humans. But frankly, the last time I check "adult males" in this country control most of the leadership and power positions in this country. And the last time I check, a lot of ADs of top companies are males, and it's easier to get performance roles as males as long as you have some talent.. and there is a disportionately high number of male choreographers compared to male students in dance.


Yes, this is offtopic. But I feel offended by Citibob's remark. In no way was I attacking the male of our species in my original post.


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