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How did your son get started?

Guest MasterPuppeteer

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Guest MasterPuppeteer

Hi folks, new member here, mom of a 7-year old NDS (non-dancing son). Just curious as to how your sons got started with dancing. Did they all ask to go to class? Or did you point him toward that direction? As a dancer myself, I would dearly love to introduce NDS to ballet. Right now, he is slightly resistant, not because he doesn't want to dance (on the contrary--this kid is a twirler and leaper and you've never seen a grander jeté from a first grader), but because he perceives it as a girly activity. He is not completely opposed to it though. Sweetie-pie that he is, he said, "I'll try it, mommy."


We are blessed to live in a part of the U.S. that is very cosmopolitan and with a bountiful number of serious ballet studios. Matter of fact, the one I go to has several young boys as students, and I've even seen an 8-year old cutie pie in pas class partnering a girl several inches taller than him.


I guess my question is two-fold: Is it right to nudge/encourage my twirling/leaping NDS into ballet or should I wait until he makes a definite request to go to a class? I know it's not right to push. I would never do that, and I know nothing would make him run faster in the opposite direction than if I pushed. If I could just find an all-boys class with a male teacher, I think there would be no hesitation on his part. Should I just wait until I find one? Or do I encourage him to join an all-female, all-pink-clad class? Or should I just forget about it? I have no illusions that he'll be a pro, or that he'll even be any good at it. But I would love to expose him to the art form and all its benefits—posture, poise, control, grace, strength.


Ah, maybe I should just forget about it. Or maybe I should enroll him in a hip hop/breakdancing class like he keeps asking. Thanks for reading!

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In my son's case, it was all his idea.


He tried sports, tried ballet for a year in 2nd grade, and quit because of the teasing. He's proud of his dancing and doesn't keep it to himself. After more sports (mostly lacrosse), in 5th grade he decided he really just wanted to dance. He spent the year taking ballet at the studio, and a 2-week summer camp studying Ballet, African, Modern, Hip-Hop and Pilates. After that, there was really no stopping him.


His closest friends completely support it, and he's able to ignore the teasing from the kids. He still doesn't like the look he gets from some of the parents though. I really wish people would leave their biases in the car when they come to pick up their kids!


Good luck!

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Guest MasterPuppeteer

Thanks for the link, dance maven. I did see it but didn't know if resurrecting old threads is acceptable in BT.


Edited to add: Hey guys, check this out! I think I may have found the solution to my problem. It's kind of far from our house but the price is right. Wished more places did this.

Edited by MasterPuppeteer
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My son started because he got sick of waiting for his twin sister in the waiting room. The head of the Professional company that is attached to their school constantly asked him to try it and I know he did not want to at first because of the "girly" thing. Once he tried it he slowly began to fall in love with it. He started at six and went through a rough spot when he started middle school in sixth grade, but loved it so much he went back. What he enjoyed the most was the all boys class. One of the professional male dancers from the company taught the class and made it very interesting and challenging for my son.


My suggestion is to try very hard to find an all boys class. It's great to start out that way and then slowly add the tech classes with the girls. If he would not hesitate if it was an all boys class, then he is interested, so I would try to just push enough to get him started, with the understanding that if he does not like it he can quit after the class is over.

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My advice would be to first take him to a number of productions that have a good amount of male pros in them. He's got to see it as not a 'girly' thing and the only way to do that is to show him that it isn't. I would also be exposing him to lots of other performances too; Opera, Theatre, Symphony, Art Museum, etc., because at the very least, you'll have developed a cultured young man.


As to whether he really wants to dance- that's a tough one. Many pros today will tell you that they didn't want to start dance but their sisters were dancing so they took class to pass the time. Others will tell you that it's what they wanted as a little boy. I wouldn't push him into it, but simply offer it occasionally and expose him to possibilities.


My own son started with tap at 11, after we'd tried every sport known to man that didn't involve extreme bodily harm and he never really caught any of those bugs. After his first tap class he asked me why I hadn't 'made' him do it before (because I did have to drag him to soccer/basketball/etc. practices :innocent: ) and he hasn't looked back since.


After doing tap for a year he decidied he wanted to audition for Nutcracker which I told him required ballet classes, and he thought that would be ok after watching the company men. So the rest is history.


Good luck. Difficult decision. Don't want to make him hate it either. :wink:

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Nutcracker is what got my son hooked when he was 7. He barely knew anything about dance but was offered a role as a party boy in a small production of the Nut. He had so much fun and has loved dance ever since. Perhaps there's a Nut around that needs another party boy? It doesn't hurt to call around and ask. I have found many studios are very willing to accomodate beginning boy dancers and help nurture a love of dance.

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Nutcracker did it for my son too. His grandmother gave him a Nutcracker video for Christmas, and he watched it over and over. When he heard there was an opportunity for him to be in a Nutcracker performance, he jumped at the chance (mostly he wanted to be a soldier and fight Rats, but just seeing the Rat King up close back stage was worth it the first year!)

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My son fell IN LOVE with dance at his younger sister's first dance recital. She was 4, he was 6. He was so amazed at the dancers, espcially the older ones that could do aerials and stuff. There was a trio that had a boy in it, and my son was just in awe over the whole thing. We got him into a boy's class (jazz, tap, hip hop) that was 1 hour a week - now he is doing 20 hours a week and is loving it. I am just so glad that he was able to find his niche this easily. I can't even imagine what he would be doing if he didn't have dance in his life.


I would say to you, to let him try a dance class somewhere and see what happens. I would of never thought that my son would be taking ballet. He was your son's age when he started the boys class. Now ballet is one of his faves. So you just never know.

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Guest MasterPuppeteer

Done! NDS is signed up to attend the boys introductory class at Classical Ballet Academy in Herndon. I spoke with the AD and she gave me the lowdown on the class—attire, activities, the teacher. Attire is black bike shorts, white form-fitting t-shirt (I'm going to put him in the undershirts that he's outgrown), white socks, black ballet shoes; the class is 45 minutes long and consists of center work and conditioning; and the teacher is Alisher Subarov, ex-Bolshoi! Best of all, the AD is letting my son take the class by itself (many places require that the boys take technique withe the girls too) as a way to ease him into dancing. He's actually looking forward to this. As soon as soccer season is over, it's off to ballet for him!

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Nutcracker has been a huge reason for my son to continue with ballet, although initially I started him in tap/ballet when he was 4 because he would not stop dancing in the living room. :)

Edited by boyngirl
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  • 1 month later...

My son also got started with a bunch of the other boys who were sitting around the dance studio waiting for their sisters. Each year he would continue to add another class, and as his friends moved on to other activities he was completly hooked. He doesn't mind being the only guy at his studio. He is a very confident young man who loves all dance, he really is not sure what direction he wants to go yet. He goes to a performing arts charter high school, and dances there in the afternoon. After that it's off to the dance studio where he puts in another 4 hours a night. Then he spends Saturday training with a ballet company in the area. At 15 does he need to decide now whether to focus on ballet, or can he continue to leave his options open

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  • 2 weeks later...

I agree with the previous posts regarding attending sister recitals and productions such as the Nutcracker. We were also fortunate enough to see "Tap Dogs." Those guys can tap and the show is instilled with a great deal of 'boy humor.'

Another big influence on my little guy was viewing dancing segments of some of the movies considered old classics. My daughter had a dance routine to "Singing in the Rain" and I rented it to show her the origin dance - she loved it, but my 5 year old son was hypnotized and watched it over and over. That got me on a roll to use Netflix and rent all kinds of productions and movies - Cats - Royal Wedding (with the dancing as the room gets turned upside down) etc etc. Obviously - he watches only age appropriate dance segments - not the whole move.

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Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers, wesalot!!!


How wonderful that you've not only noticed his interest in dance, but are doing such a wonderful job with encouraging him!!

White Nights is another good one, and any of the Stomps are fun.


Keep us posted and enjoy reading!!

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