foliedespagne Posted November 2, 2008 Report Share Posted November 2, 2008 Hi everyone, I'm so thankful to have found this forum. I introduced myself over at the general intro forum. But I'd like to do that here as well. I'm the parent of a boy, 13 yo, who has taken ballet for about a year. He's also done other forms of dance on and off...tap, ballroom, lindy hop, hiphop (even baroque dance!)...but he has become more serious about it all lately. So I've been reading lots here trying to understand how this all works with lessons, Balanchine vs. non-Balanchine, Vaganova, SIs and on and on.... My husband and I are non-dancers, so pretty much at a loss... Where to begin? It has been clear to us for a long time that ds "moved well". The first time we really noticed that he seemed to have something special was when he was the ringbearer at his babysitter's wedding. I think he was about 6 at the time. He got out on the floor at the reception and had the most amazing moves...everyone was coming up to us and saying things like "you have a prodigy on your hands" "what a talent", etc. We were pretty shocked. This continues to happen to this day, both dancers and nondancers alike. Although we haven't been able to provide him with consistent training for the reasons below, there's something about the way he expresses himself when he dances that makes people notice him. It's not in a show-offy way at all. He's a pretty modest and normal guy. He fits in with his peers and has a great sense of humor. It's something else. I don't want to sound like I'm bragging, but that's the best way I can explain it. I tried to enroll him in a few classes at that time, more "early dance/movement" type of classes. It didn't go over too well as there was a lot of pink tutu stuff going on, and ds did not like that even at such a young age. I think most of the teacher's really didn't know what to do with a boy anyway. My main thought over the years has been, quite honestly....if I don't channel this somehow, he's going to end up spending his life in discos with all the negatives that entails...... So we've been on and off with various forms of dance. I'll just stick to the ballet for now. At age 10/11, I tried again, and I took him to a ballet school to enroll him. There were no boys there, then or now, and in retrospect, I think they are not interested in having boys. He took a few classes but the teacher seemed to kind of ignore him, not one correction, hardly welcomed him to the group, no intros to the other students. He's a friendly guy, so besides being the only boy there, that made him feel bad. He didn't want to go back. A year ago last month, when he was 12, I decided to try again. There was newer school with a male teacher and a boys' class. We've been there for a year. He's learned some basic technique and he has been enjoying it. Lately, though, he's been telling me he feels he just doesn't look right when he dances, and he would like more corrections. And they dance a lot, maybe doing some things that the boys are not ready for technically?? I don't really know.... With his drive and motivation, I started to think that an SI might be a good thing for him. Unfortunately, we are going to be out of the country during the audition window.I talked to the director of his school about SIs, and she wasn't so encouraging but did suggest that we contact a pretty well-known non-profit company/school about two hours drive from us. Well, I e-mailed the school, and that is what started all our problems. The administrator called me back right away, and we had a wonderful 30 minute conversation. All of a sudden after this talk, I understood much better how ballet works in terms of training....commercial vs. non-profit schools, and on and on. Long story short, ds auditioned for the SI at this school a week ago, and although they warned me that he might have to start all over at Level I, he held his own in Level IIb and has a place at the SI at the level if he wants it. He LOVED the class...it was quiet, serious, and concentrated. The administrator spend another 40 minutes talking with me while ds was auditioning & while he was changing. She told me that ds has much poise, stage presence, talent, and musicality. They liked his easy-going, relatively uncomplicated personality and could tell that he has a strong work ethic. They also felt he has the ability to analyze his body and is intellectually involved in the process of learning dance, which seemed to be a very positive thing. He has good feet and turn-out. But, he needs a lot more technique. When we returned home, I asked at his local school if there was any chance of adding a technique class(es) for serious students. And there are enough there of them, both boys and girls, to make it worthwhile. However, that doesn't seem to be something they want to do at this time....something about not wanting to have an elitist kind of atmosphere. So, what should we do? There's one more local ballet school to try but I still don't really feel well enough informed to know if that is going to help either. In the meantime, during yesterday's Nutcracker rehearsal, one of the other Moms, who is in the party scene and was a professional dancer, told my ds that he's landing wrong on a certain kind of jump and if he continues like that he'll blow his knees out by the time he's seventeen. That really scared him, and us too. I have to say, now that I'm a little bit more aware of these things, I have noticed that there is a lot of uncontrolled jumping and turning going on at times. Ds also got his foot whacked by another boy during "coffee grinders" because the other boy was traveling so much. So, sorry for the length. I hope I've been clear enough. I've left out some things, but I have to say, writing this, I'm almost on the verge of tears...frustration, I guess, and finding it so hard to know where to go, what to do, and who to listen to and believe.... Sigh. Thanks so much for bearing with me! MJ Quote Link to comment
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