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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Dealing with Mothers of Dancing Girls


LBBalletMom

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followed by a condescending comment about how great it is because "they always need boys"

 

Jump right in with "like the Marine Corps; a few good men". :lol:

I like that! :)

I've often wondered if attitudes are more liberal in the US than Great Britain, but when I read posts here I do begin to wonder. :unsure:

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Nope. There are more than enough ignorant people here. :unsure:

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Agreed. As a teacher, I try to teach my kids that all dancers are important, regardless of their gender, but I also stress how important boys are simply because of prevailing social attitudes. I try to impart to my kids how important it is to fight against societal norms, and to stick up for those who are being treated poorly.

 

As a mom, I've been lucky I guess, because the dancing girls followed my son around like he was the Pied Piper!!!! This situation was so difficult for him :unsure::lol::) too.

 

I do think we who walk a different path must also accept that attitudes towards us may be uninformed. Therefore it is up to us to educate, even though it stinks that it falls to us and that people are as ignorant as they are......

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Therefore it is up to us to educate, even though it stinks that it falls to us and that people are as ignorant as they are......

Or maybe we could just reach for that can of whoopbutt that we discussed last year!

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My sons have only been taking ballet for a couple of months, but I am already tired of the reactions I get from the mothers of girls who have to stop for a beat and collect themselves before they respond to the fact that I have just informed them my dancing children are BOYS, not girls. This is almost always followed by a condescending comment about how great it is because "they always need boys" for the annual production of "The Nutcracker," as if they couldn't possibly have any real talent, but are just bodies to fill the costumes.

 

I also notice that the dads stare at them a lot when they come out of class (wondering what kind of mean mom I am to make them do this, perhaps?). You would think if you were going to find supportive adults, it would be at the ballet academy. Who exactly do these parents think are going stand behind their daughters and make them look good doing triple pirouettes if there aren't any boys at the school?

 

Maybe I am overreacting, but it is still annoying.

It seem everything you have posted could easily either have not been meant as some kind of slight, or in fact, been words or acts that are happy about your sons dancing.

 

They stop for a beat because normally the dancers are girls. I think that's normal. There is no ill-intent there.

 

The comment that follows that they always needs boy for the "Nutcracker" doesn't have to be condescending at all. "Nutcracker" has a lot of boy parts, and I am sure studio productions would like to have boys fill those parts. That doesn't assume they don't have talent. I assumes nothing more than as a boy, they will be given boy numbers to perform. To assume that the comment means they couldn't have any real talent seems to be a gigantic leap in guessing at their true intent.

 

And how can you tell from Dads staring that they are thinking the mom is mean to make them do it? That can't possibly be the only explanation for a stare. If I saw a boy come out of a dance studio that normally only has girls, I would be staring too. Nothing ill meant from it, just curiousity.

 

In fact, my 14 yo son just took his first ballet class and I am over the moon about it. There were a few boys who came and then left at my dd's old dance studio she attended for 6 years. I did stare but not because I was assuming the Mom was mean or happy that the studio had boys to fill boy costumes. I stared because I was imagining and wishing my son was taking dance like those boys.

 

To take so much negativity from what may be inocuos statements or acts, I think may be a sign you yourself are worried about your sons dancing. I think that's natural in a way to think the worse in order to protect your sons for any possible hurtful words or act. But in the end, I think it is better to imagine the best. If you feel it, your sons will feel it. And if, in fact, there are ill thoughts behind the words and stares, they will be proved wrong and irrelevant soon enough.

Edited by Curandera
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Curandera, I understand your points, but as a dad of a ds, over the last year have come to believe that there is a psychosis associated with boys dancing. I will admit, when ds went from tap to ballet, I was pretty confused. It just isnt something I thought about a boy doing. It just wasn't on my radar at all. Though, I wouldn't think twice if I met a Russian man who was a dancer. So anyway, I have started this little journey over the last year to educate myself. Now I am not around his dance school too much, I work away from home. And the guys I work with, well, I have had some fun dealing with their ignorance over that time. But a few months ago, I had a chance to pick him up from ballet. While in the waiting area a woman struck up a conversation with me. She had seen my older sons once while waiting for their brother and inquired if they were dancers. When I replied that were more into sports like me her reply was, "well, I guess 2 out of 3 isn't bad, huh?" I explained I was not interested in designing my childrens' interests, I want them to pursue what they want to pursue, and must have had a little edge in my voice, she turned red and stammered some sort of apology.

 

It is great you have the attitude you have. Me, I assume anybody with a comment is being snarky till evidence to the contrary is found. Maybe not the best attitude, but I have learned this over the last year.

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"well, I guess 2 out of 3 isn't bad, huh?"

Well, I think there is only one to take that little statement - bad. There's plenty there to take exception to and I love you educating that lady.

 

But I see this statement as something clearly wrong-headed, uneducated and sexist. There's no guess work required.

 

Whereas in the statements the original poster described, it just seems to me to require a lot of guess work, leaves a huge margin for error and that margin shouldn't be filled with pessimism where it isn't necessarily warranted.

 

But I am new to this so my attitude may change quickly. I really hope not.

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But I am new to this so my attitude may change quickly. I really hope not.

 

Nawwww, I don't think your attitude will necessarily have to change. I think sometimes it's possible to go in with dukes up and see everything as a slight -- and then your own hostility just feeds into it until there *are* slights intended. I see some of that in this thread where maybe people just stay convinced that everything is meant to be bad/antagonistic/insulting. But Curandera, I don't see that in your posts at all and I think that going in positive helps it stay that way. There will always be the occasional eejit that needs educating; but I really do believe the vast majority of folks out there are not hostile to boys dancing. Uneducated, yes. Surprised to see them? Yes. A tiny bit envious? Occasionally. Hostile? I don't believe so. Not universally at any rate.

 

I think there can be a psychosis about boys dancing with *some* people; but I think it's painting with the 18" roller to say it's across the board.

 

Sonny72, I think assuming snark for every comment probably doesn't help anything. Even if someone is being snarky, you can disarm them more with friendliness and education than angry answers.

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Sonny72, I think assuming snark for every comment probably doesn't help anything. Even if someone is being snarky, you can disarm them more with friendliness and education than angry answers.

 

 

You are right. However, easier said than done.

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I have been thinking about this thread and I wondered about it from the other side... What about when girl moms might be legitimately irritated? I know that boy tuition discounts are a school's decision for the sake of keeping boys at the school; but does anyone ever sense annoyance at things like the fact that boys don't even really need to audition Nutcracker because they are virtually guaranteed a role? Our that at recital time the lone boy in the class, by virtue of being the only one and in a slightly different costume will spend most of the piece front and center? My DS isn't particularly good and there are girls in the class who are clearly betterthan him and I think that the girl moms must get kind of annoyed at the "special treatment" DS gets. What can you do, our even what *should* you do about that?

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Thank you, HuckleberryDawg. I have been wondering how to bring up this point. I now have both a grandson and a granddaughter dancing and had a DD who is now a pro. I think how the moms feel about our Ds's has a lot to do with how we and our kids behave. This summer, my DGS is in a class with one other boy his age. His mother, who is lovely and supportive, warned me that there would be unwelcoming attitudes from the girls' moms, but did not tell me why (not a gossiper). I found out. There is an older boy there on full scholarship . He shows up in the middle of class fairly often, is rude to the other dancers and his mom sits in the lounge and announces that her son does not pay and is doing this as a favor.( She is on the board and also announces that.) It makes it very hard on our boys and they (and we) have to be extra good and responsible, since our boys do get class just for the two of them.

In our regular studio, there was some resentment among parents that DGS got a small solo and was front and center for the whole dance although it was his first year. (His sister was also irritated, saying that she worked harder than he did- she was mollified by the fact that she moved up this year and he did not). When the parents saw that he was taking it seriously and trying hard, most of it stopped.

Over the years, I have seen boys who never caused resentment and ones that caused a great deal. Some moms and kids are just resentful of any one, male or female that they think is getting "more" .

On a previous note, it is very hard not to immediately jump to the defense of our kids and it can be hard to be objective about looks and comments directed at our kids.

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HuckleberryDawg, you are so good with honing in on the deeper issues!!!! :blushing: You make us all think twice which is a very good thing. :thumbsup:

 

I will say this- boys are not always accepted into Nut at every school. We have auditions and there are always a good group of boys, but we only have so many parts so there are boys who do not make it in. Now, we are a large school, and I can see how in smaller schools there could be resentment over the "automatic pass" that boys may get.

 

I would think in situations like that, all the boys can do is to "kill 'em with kindness". In other words, to always be on best behaviour; to be humble and thankful; and to be kind to fellow dancers. Then if people misbehave, the boys will know that they have done absolutely nothing to deserve such treatment, and will feel confident that the issue does not belong to them.

 

kathryn56- wow! You have really had a taste of the ballet world, no? I'm glad that the other parents saw his hard work and backed off! :thumbsup:

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HuckleberryDawg

 

As with Kathryn56 and Clara76 I think your comments are right on. Also noting the subject matter of this thread is “dealing with mothers of dancing girls”. As a male parent of a 14 year old DS with 7 years of studio experience (much of it being the only boy in class) I can tell you most of the mothers of dancing daughters were wonderful. We did get a little resentment around Nut season and recital time from some mothers. The majority of mothers embraced the moment and were happy to have us in the studio.

 

I recognize mothers or parents of DSs can be particularly challenging when they believe their DS is entitled and should be treated differently. My point being it’s hard to make gross generalizations. Mothers of DD or DS are no different. Some are wonderful and some can be challenging.

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