finallykf Posted September 2, 2010 Report Share Posted September 2, 2010 Hoping for some guidance on a situation with my 8 year old son. I am thinking about speaking with the dance director but wanted to get your opinions first. There are 4 boys on the dance team (and in the entire school, in general) at this school (this is the reacreational school where my son is on the dance team not his pre-pro ballet school). Last year my son was the only boy in his classes but starting this past summer he was in class with one other boy for a few of his classes. When I would ask his teachers how he was doing I started hearing comments like "Great, but he does much better when "James" isn't around because he gets distracted." This worried me so I started watching his classes and was puzzled because I saw no difference at all in his skills (except improvement). The only difference I saw was that instead of standing there quietly while all the girls talked to each other, my son finally had another boy to stand next to and talk to! This fall "James" has moved into older classes but "Steven" is in some of my son's classes. Again, my son and Steven stand next to each other in those classes. My son is still the only boy in his balllet and jazz classes though. He has a new ballet teacher this year and I have been able to watch all of his ballet classes but last week was the first time that I was able to introduce myself to the teacher. So after class I introduced myself and asked how he was doing and if there was anything in particular she thought he needed to work on. She said that he had great technique but that he really needed to work on paying attention in class. I was shocked! Again, I had watched every class. I asked her to explain what she meant. She said that he likes to do tap in class instead of paying attention. Yes, when the class is doing individual across the floor work my son works on tap steps in the corner when it is not his turn and she calls him out for this. But you know what the girls are doing? Talking, and giggling, and whispering to each other. Does the teacher call them out for that? No. He is in ballet shoes, not pounding on the floor and you can't hear him over the noise the girls are making. So I just told her that boys are different than girls and tend to be more physical in the way they play and socialize during downtime in class than girls but that we would reinforce that he should be paying attention at all times because he can learn from what she is telling the other students as well. Then this past weekend my son had practice for one of their competition numbers. The kids were all being lined up by height and it just happened that he and the only other boy in the number ended up next to each other. When the main choreographer arrived she freaked out and wanted to know why the two boys were standing next to each other. The other instructor said that it just ended up that according to height that have to stand next to each other. So she said "Great. Now all they'll want to do is play!" I about lost it. I'm sorry, but she says this while there are 60 girls jumping up and down giggling, talking, and shrieking at the top of their lungs - WHICH NONE OF THE INSTRUCTORS HAVE ANY PROBLEM WITH!!!!!!!! But if my son and the other boy play like boys and do the "I'm going to circle around you and poke you while I laugh and then we pretend to have light sabers" this is a problem?????? So during the downtime while the instructors were working together on choreography my son and the other boy were split up and had to sit on opposite sides of the room so they wouldn't "play" while the girls all stood and talked, giggled, and shrieked. I am planning on speaking with the dance director today (kindly, of course) to explain that the instructors cannot treat the boys and girls differently. If the girls are allowed to play then the boys have to be allowed to play as well. What they have to realize is that boys and girls play differently. If they boys aren't going to be allowed to play and are going to be separated and have to sit quietly than the girls need to do the same and everyone needs to sit without speaking. If my son isn't allowed to tap dance during downtime in class than the girls can't be allowed to gossip and giggle during downtime in class. If my son is going to be accused of not paying attention because he is not silently standing still and focusing only on the student who is currently performing than ALL of the kids who are not silenting standing still and focusing also need to be told they are not paying attention. If my son is going to be told he does better when another boy is not around even though his dance technique is absolutely no different, then all the girls need to be told that they would do much better if they were in a class without other girls because they gets distracted by having other girls around to talk to. The dance studio desparately wants boys, automatically gives them a 50% discount, and then punishes them for behaving like boys!! This is in stark contrast to his pre-pro school that has a class for just boys taught by a man. They do all the basic barre work as warm up but then they do tons of leaps, jumps, and turns in a HUGE studio so the boys have the chance to get all their energy out. Sometimes the teacher just has them run around in a big circle for a few minutes. They can pretend they have light sabers, they can use "outside voices." My son also takes a class at the pre-pro school where he is the only boy in class and the teachers are great about understanding when my son wants to do more jumps and stuff. They always say "He's a boy, boys are more physical - they get bored just standing at the barre for an hour, you have to let them run around and feel like they are "playing" or you lose them." Have any of you been through any kind of a similar situation? If so how did you handle it? I do want to clarify that my son is only "playing" during downtime in class and rehearsal, just like the girls. But from the comments and conversations I have had with the instructors they are making it sound like he is not paying attention in class and is being disruptive. During downtime, I have watched the teachers stop talking with each other, look over at my son and the other boy playing and then roll their eyes and start whispering and looking annoyed all while the girls are shrieking and talking in the background. I have not yet met any of the parents of the other boys to find out if they are aware of the situation. The boys only play together, or if my son is the only boy in class he tends to keep to himself. In a few classes he has gotten to know some of the girls and they flirt with him! Quote Link to comment
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