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Ballet Talk for Dancers

New to board and new to dance


HuckleberryDawg

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Hi everyone. My son just started taking ballet; he is six years old. So far he loves it; but at this age I would call it an activity, not a calling. He does seem to enjoy it more than any other activity he has started; but he has only been taking lessons for two months so we are seeing how it goes and if he continues to enjoy it. We have been blessed with finding a wonderful school with rigorous teaching and instructors that clearly love children and dance. Yay. :-)

 

So here is my question: My son initially was kind of freaked out about dancing with all girls. The school where he takes lessons has a weekly boys class and the instructor (fabulous and very good with boys) allowed my son to participate for a few weeks as a rank beginner. He did tell me that eventually my son would need to take a beginners class although he was welcome in the boys class as well. By that time my son loved his ballet classes enough to agree, very happily, to take the beginners class. His concern about being the only boy pretty much evaporated. He started the beginners class a few weeks ago and pretty much lives for it. The instructor in that class knows how to teach DS as a boy and is also outstanding. DS has asked if can take another class each week, to which I said no. I think at six years old that two classes per week is pushing it and three would be wrong. Anyway the other boys in the boys class are 9+ years old and have been taking ballet for several years. The teacher, understandably, cannot pitch the class to the one, young beginner. When attendance is low he spends time with DS and helps him a lot; but there is no expectation on my part that the class is anything but an opportunity to dance with other boys. Sooooo (too late to make a long story short, I guess) my son told me that he wants to drop the boys class because it's too advanced for him and he feels lost all the time. He adores the teacher and likes the othe boys; but he feels like he learns more in the beginner class and would like to take another one. (Note: This is all coming from him; I have been trying hard not to be That Mom about all this.) I would switch the boys class for another beginner class in a heartbeat except that in this part of the year classes are generally learning the choreography for the annual recital. I am wondering if, even though he would not be in the recital piece for the second class (he understands and is fine with that), if I would just be making it a pain for the teacher in the second class by adding a boy right now? Also, in your opinion, would there be any value in taking two beginner classes each week? As an impartial observer I would say that there is no need for a six year old to take two classes each week. The only reason we did it before was as a transition into ballet when he was deciding if he liked it or not and now I'm just considering it because he would *like* to do it. I wondered if anyone had any insight? I'm not sure I've even made any sense here! Oh, one more thing is that DS started in the middle of the year so he has missed the All Technique All The Time first half of the year and is picking up in the Lots of Technique But Also Getting Ready for a Recital part of the year. He thinks he is behind the rest of his class right now. Which? He's six. Does this even matter?

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Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers, HuckleberryDawg!!!

 

I think your instincts are spot on: if he wants to drop the boys class- no worries because he knows it's available to him in the future, so he can always start taking it when he's level-appropriate.

 

As far as 2 classes at 6- my opinion is the same as yours. It's more important that he not get burned out, and 6 is still young. The classes will start to accelerate fast enough as the years go by... :)

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Hello and welcome! I'm pretty new here myself...have a 7-year-old son who loves, loves, loves ballet! After almost a year of Creative Movement classes and non-stop begging, he finally began taking formal ballet classes last August. Currently, he just has ballet class once per week, since that's really all that's available at his age. If I let him, though, my son would love to take ballet classes every single day...as it is, he spends all his free time at home dancing to classical music, playing the Wii ballet game (imperfect though it is), and making up his own ballets with his little brother. He prefers to spend what's left of his free time drawing scenes from ballets, and making pretend "programs" for his pretend ballet company's "recitals".

 

He's the only boy in his ballet class, but he doesn't mind at all (they don't have a boys-only class here...I wish they did, though- that would be awesome! In fact, there is only one other boy in the entire ballet school...so even Fritz was really a girl in his ballet school's production of the "Nutcracker"!) I've thought about allowing him to take a second beginner's class at a different school, since that's what he's begging to do anyway. I'm planning to look at different schools, maybe try one out during summer session, and if he still insists on taking two ballet classes, maybe let him try doing both beginning in the fall. I plan to just take my cue from him and see where he wants to go with this...

 

Have you read "Ballerino Nate" and "The Only Boy in Ballet Class"? Those are both kids' picture books with male ballet dancers as the main characters...they both address some of the issues surrounding boys in ballet (teasing, being the only boy, etc.), at a very young child's level. We also read lots of other children's books about ballet and I always point out to him in the images, how there are usually just one or two boys shown in a class full of pink tutus...so at least he knows he's not the only boy to ever be the only boy in ballet class, KWIM? (And SHAME on all those authors/illustrators who don't include even a single boy drawn into their illustrations of ballet classes or recitals!) I just explain to him that a lot of people incorrectly assume that ballet is only for girls and that it's our job to show them that's not the case. The fact that even Fritz was a girl in his "Nutcracker" really drove that point home for him (so of course now he hopes to get to be Fritz someday!)

 

It's so nice to "meet" you!

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