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Ballet Talk for Dancers

stage fright


gator_mama

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My four year old has always shown an interest in ballet (his older sister has taken ballet since she was 3 and loves it), but is very shy and has stage fright. He keeps saying, "I want to take ballet, but I'm scared of the people looking". Should I enroll him (probably wait until next year) and hope he outgrows his fear or wait?

 

The students do have a recital at the end of the year, but I think I can opt out at his age.

 

Thanks so much!

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Sure, in pre-ballet, and that's what a four-year-old takes, boys or girls are most usually able to opt out of performing.

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Personally, I would take him to a class first so he can see exactly what is involved. 4 years old is soooooo young, especially for a boy, so there is no rush to get him into classes. If he's not ready, and the issue is forced, the result could be a child who is scared away from dance forever. He's got plenty of time. Meanwhile, take him to as many live dance performances as you can, and make sure he gets to see many men dancing. That's it.

 

At some point, he may overcome his fear and decide that he's ready. Or, he may not be cut from "dancer cloth", which is ok too! Perhaps he'll decide to be one of the people who make dancers look so good on stage, like a costumer, or a stage hand..... :shrug:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Your son sounds a bit like my son (almost 4 years old) who is slow to warm up to new experiences. A few months ago I noticed that my son liked to dance at home but when it was time to "dance" or move at preschool music time, he watched the other kids and waited until he went home to do the movements. I really didn't want my son to be afraid of trying new things, so I enrolled him in a pre-ballet class and asked the teacher if she would be patient with him. She agreed to give him time to join the class. The first two weeks, he sat in my lap and we watched the class. He went home and acted out the whole class, so I know he was paying attention and interested. The third and fourth week he sat to the side of me and he did some of the movements by my side. The fifth and sixth weeks he finally stood with the other kids and did most of the class (although sometimes when it was his turn to run and jump he just walked). By the seventh week he participated in the entire class enthusiastically and I no longer had to be in the room. It also helped that I offered him a small prize for trying to do the class. If he really didn't want to do the class I never would have offered the prize, but I know he wanted to do it but it was hard for him because he is just a really cautious kid. He now loves going to pre-ballet class and is now dancing around his classroom during music time. I wouldn't wait until next year because it just gets harder to try new things and the older a child gets the less patient many teachers will be. It is not so strange that a 3 or 4 year old needs some time to adjust to a new class, and a teacher will allow a parent in the class temporarily for the younger groups, but I haven't seen any parents ever in the older classes. I don't think getting a head start in the pre-ballet class will mean that my son is going to be more advanced if he decides to keep taking classes, I think that the benefits of right now involve: learning to focus, listening to directions, enjoying moving to music, trying something that might be hard at first but with with practice you can accomplish things, etc. So don't delay and have him try out some classes and be patient with his progress. Hope it goes well!

 

 

 

My four year old has always shown an interest in ballet (his older sister has taken ballet since she was 3 and loves it), but is very shy and has stage fright. He keeps saying, "I want to take ballet, but I'm scared of the people looking". Should I enroll him (probably wait until next year) and hope he outgrows his fear or wait?

 

The students do have a recital at the end of the year, but I think I can opt out at his age.

 

Thanks so much!

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Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers, keiki!!!! Thank you for sharing your son's experience!!

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You know, as a toddler, my son was THE clingiest, scared-of-everything kid ever. I credit ballet classes and performances for doing wonders with this. I put him in at age 3.5 and his first performance was at age 4. Backstage he was SO nervous I wondered if I was scarring him for life. Once he got out there he actually did okay, even as his 3 year old partner dissolved into tears :)

 

He wound up really enjoying being onstage and looks forward to the performance each year! He's 7 now and insists each year he wants to continue to dance! He's really not the "best" dancer and I doubt he'll stick with it when the time requirements start to get more demanding...but I'm very happy with the confidence and discipline he's acquired. :thumbsup:

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I am so glad to hear that ballet gave your son more confidence. I feel like my almost 4- year old son is the clingiest, scared of everything kid ever too! My son's teacher just left and he has taken three weeks to get used to the new teacher. I know there is Christmas performance and an end of the year performance in June at his ballet school, I am hoping he will be willing to go on stage. Did your son slowly grow out of it, or did he suddenly become more confident? Do all the students somehow get the courage to perform on stage?

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My ds was very quiet and shy, I would even say timid. After a year and a half, he is still pretty quiet, but he is much more outgoing now, even confident in dealing with others. The only change has been dance coming into his life.

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Did your son slowly grow out of it, or did he suddenly become more confident? Do all the students somehow get the courage to perform on stage?

 

It was a slow process. By his 3rd performance (age 6) he was really enjoying the whole process of rehearsing and learning how steps come together to create a whole dance. It's actually the performances now that keep him wanting to continue in ballet! All the kids do take part, and no one seems to be too nervous about it. That little girl who was terrified that first year didn't continue on after that.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you for all your responses and sharing your experiences! I decided (back when I wrote this) to wait because he *is* so young, but tonight, he asked if he could take ballet (actually pre-ballet) when he turned 5 (which is in a few months) and that he was no longer afraid of dancing in front of the people, rather, he's only afraid of "vampires, ghosts, witches, and dragons". :) I'll be registering for Spring Term. Cross fingers that he enjoys it!

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Whether he enjoys it and pursues it, or decides its not something he wants to do, at least he will have the experience, and not be like some people on this board who say, "Gee, I wish I had the chance to try this when I was a kid."

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Exactly. I feel fortunate that he has the chance to attend an amazing school with wonderful teachers who nurture their boys and can decide to continue or not continue based on his experiences there.

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