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Ballet Talk for Dancers

uncomfortable dancing with males


livefreeballet

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i'm 16 years old. i just recently started dancing ballet last year. I attend an all girls private school and i take ballet classes three times a week.

The problem is i feel really awkward dancing with the opposite sex. i'm pretty shy in general towards anyone, regardless of gender. i don't know if it's a maturity issue.

 

i wanted to take a modern class but the teacher is male. i'm sure he is talented and i don't think any less of him for being male. i guess because i'm used to being in an all girls environment(school) and no brothers, i feel extra awkward. it's kind of embarassing because i'm 16 years old too. also, my self conscious of my body. i'm not the thinnest. i'm sure if i had the ballerina body, i wouldn't mind as much. it's easy for me to feel like i'm being judged for having this body.

 

i really want to do a summer intensive but half of the teachers are male. should i just grow up and deal with it? or let my irrational fear control me?

 

advice?

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should i just grow up and deal with it? or let my irrational fear control me?

 

advice?

 

Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers, livefreeballet.

 

I unhesitatingly recommend the former. The latter is never an option. RATIONAL fear, as cuddling unsocialized wild animals, sky-diving without a parachute, or skinny-dipping in an active volcano are all fine; sensible fears keep us safe. Irrational fears do nothing but retard our growth as fully-realized human beings.

 

Just one thing, though: We really prefer posters to use full-realized grammar and spelling, including capitalization, in posting to our board, OK?

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Oops! An adult wandered here by mistake and I had to make their post invisible.

 

Livefreeballet-

I think there are several things going on here: One is body-image, the other is lack of exposure to males.

 

Let's start with body image. Very rare is the teen who doesn't have a body-image issue. There are many reasons for it today, chiefly being the globality of our culture. We are exposed to airbrushed, "perfect" images causing us (the consumer) to feel inadequate thereby causing an increase in sales of clothing, make-up, diet-drugs, diet foods, anything material that might give us one second of self-esteem.

 

I find this really sad. Look inside for the important qualities. Ask yourself, "Are those who possess the superficial commercially acceptable qualities really more happy?" By virtue of the evidence presented to us every day, you'll know that the answer to that question is "No". What makes us happy and productive individuals is finding our true passion and developing relationships that are based solely on mutual respect. If ballet is your true passion, then you have an obligation to yourself to dance! Climb outside of yourself for one moment and recognize how lucky you are that your body can dance. There are millions of people who would not care what they looked like dancing if only they had use of their legs, or had no other physical reason that they could not dance.

 

"I used to be sad because my shoes had holes until I met a man with no feet".

 

Now let's talk about lack of exposure to males. Being the mother of 2 sons, one who is almost 21, the other almost 12, I have seen lots of prejudice directed at them that has surprised me. There is a sense that males are unable to control themselves, or "Boys will be boys" type thinking that takes away from their humanity. Boys are no different from girls in that they are trying to figure out how to get along just like you are in this confusing world. There are pressures on them just like there are pressures on you, but not all boys give in to the pressures, just as not all girls do either. Boys are people too, and I think you should talk to your parents about perhaps being able to meet some males in a safe environment so that you can go out into the world with confidence, and knowing what to look out for, and when to trust.

 

Having said that, the teacher of your Modern class will be male, but he is also in a position of authority and if the school is reputable, there should be no issues with him. If it is a beginner modern class, you will not be partnering him, nor will anyone else in the class; it will be similar to a ballet class, but if you're still worried, my suggestion is to ask to observe one of his classes so you'll know what to expect.

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Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. I'm attending a summer intensive tomorrow and I hope things turn out great.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm glad to here you are going to be attending a summer intensive, and I'm sure it will go great! I think that body image is an issue that EVERYONE, but especially dancers have to deal with, no matter how good their physique may seem to other people. I also think that there are a lot of other teenagers who are uncomfortable around members of the opposite sex. However, becoming comfortable with your body and around people of the opposite sex is absolutely NECESSARY if you plan on being a part of the dance world. As dancers, we can't avoid seeing or having others see our bodies. We spend hours every day in practically no clothes in front of a floor to celing mirror! I promise you it sucks just as bad for all of us haha...As, for dealing with members of the opposite sex, dance requires you to not only trust and be able to communicate with your male teachers and peers, but also to be comfortable with having a lot of physical interaction with them. There are a lot of aspects of partnering that force you and your partner to get very up close and personal if you get my drift:P If you are too focused on feeling akward or shy in those situations you won't be very productive...

So basically I'm trying to say that you shouldn't worry that you are the only one out there who has these types of insecurities-- they are things we have all dealt with before:) And I absolutely think you should try to overcome them! Dance is so completely worth it!

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