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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Social life for ballet boys


expat123

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We have a terrific school where all the girls and parents get along very well. My DS has been in the school for several years, and I do think that he is well-liked. The girls get together socially outside of the studio (ice-cream, parties, outside performances). However, it seems the parents/girls rarely- if ever- think of inviting DS along. I know that it may be awkward- especially for some events- but they are all comfortable friends together in the studio so I think it should be no big deal to have DS along sometimes. Sometimes the parents invite DS at the last moment when they are about to leave the studio for an event, which generally doesn't work as an afterthought when I already have other plans for the day. The one or two times a year where he is invited (usually an organized whole-class event), he is estatic to be able to spend time with his friends. He is in middle school, so having a social life is important to him. The other boys have ballet sisters or family members employed in the studio, so I think that perhaps they are invited as tag-alongs to their sisters and families? I am frustrated because DS's only real friends are the ballet girls. He doesn't have time for other sports, and people outside of ballet don't even know about this very important part of his life. Is this an unavoidable consequence of being a boy in ballet? Any tips on how to get DS more involved in the social life outside the studio without crashing the parties (and generally I am not even aware of the parties until after the fact!)?

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My DS would hear the girls talking events and then become engaged in the conversations. Typically they realized the oversight and invited him. It was that simple. After a few times he was invited more often. After that even the mothers would include him because they realized he was interested.

 

Sometimes some of the impromptu events aren't feasible to everyone - especially for students living in different directions from the studio - so it's easy to overlook someone. For example, we had a group of girls that lived in one cluster of neighborhoods while we lived in the opposite direction. The result was a bout 50 miles apart.

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Oops, a non-male dancer parent wandered in by mistake and a well-meaning post was removed.

 

If expat123 would like a wider variety of responses we can move the topic to the appropriate other Parent thread. It is, however expat's choice. :thumbsup:

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HuckleberryDawg

That happens to DS all the time and I genuinely don't think the other parents mean anything bad by it. The kids are at an age where, at his school at least, parties are starting to segregate by gender and I think the ballet parties just sort of follow suite. He sees birthday party invitations being handed out to everyone but him and while he mostly understands it, I think it does hurt his feelings a bit. We haven't figured out to suggest he be included without sounding like we are asking for invitations so we just leave it be. We will probably invite his ballet class to his birthday party next year to see if that flares a spark somewhere. At any rate, so far we just chalk it up to being part of boys in ballet and he (so far) seems to be able to live with that. I wish he didn't have to, though, and I'm definitely interested in any ideas other parents have.

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Sounds like we all have similar experiences. My DS is 14, he occasionally got invited to events when he was younger, but now in middle school he does not. He does realize that at this age the parties are becoming girl or boy parties. The girls do occasionally invite him to school events. MY DS is homeschooled, so cannot go to public school events unless invited. This seems the best way for him to socalize, because he gets to meet other guys the girls know, he gets to hang out with his friends (ballet girls) and it's chaperoned! At 14, he has discovered girls, so I prefer the chaperone part.

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I don't think that the girls are intentionally excluding him. At least it sounds like it happens other places so it probably isn't a personal thing. I tell myself that it would be worse for a girl to be excluded by others because then it cannot be blamed on the gender thing and would be much more painful.

 

Perhaps during high school DS will never have a problem finding a Homecoming date!

 

Although it will be hard on me to have DS away for a summer intensive this year, I think that he really needs to spend time with other boys who are also involved in ballet outside of the two or three at his current studio. I just hope that the boy's dorm is somewhat civilized....!

 

I sometimes I wish that DS would agree to talk about ballet at school. I would love to know how boys have handled revealing this, or how they have handled keeping it a secret?? I always wonder if he has a classmate that is also keeping ballet a secret and neither of them would ever get to know each other!

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Curandera

This is a response to the tangent about keeping ballet a secret: My 14yo son has just started taking private lessons with a ballet instructor. My hope is that if we can keep this up over the summer, he can take a technique class with the rest of the boys in the Fall.

 

At home, he is telling his friends he is taking a "conditioning" class at his sister's school to strengthen leg, arm and core muscles which is partly true. We live in a rural, mostly white community where my son is homeschooled (except for one class at a public school), has Asperger's Syndrome and is black-skinned (mixed race adoption). I feel a bit bad adding to the potential ridicule pile for him but he has a lot of natural talent, loves his ballet instructor and the girls he has met at the studio like him (a lot - giggle and blush everytime they see him).

 

Anyway, this may be a way to broach the subject with school mates - "conditioning" class and see if anybody else at his school understands the code.

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We always used the term "performing arts", but only at sporting events when parents of his ex-teammates would ask. That seemed to work, though they simply thought he was doing drama. For evenings during middle school he just said he was "busy." The conditioning class would have been a great idea at the time, though!

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  • 1 month later...

Wow this isn't a problem at all, my son is included in all the girls events, and does not feel the need to hide ballet at all. Maybe we live in a more progressive area? His school would not tolerate any bullying or disrespect. This is a large public school.

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My advice on how to prompt more invitations for your DS is to hold his own party (make up an occasion if need be) and invite all the girls and their brothers to it. Bowling for instance which isnt partiuclarly angled for either gender. I think this serves as a good reminder and perhaps lesson on being inclusive. To be honest I think teh behaviour of your other studio parents is insensitive but unintentional.

 

I dont know if you welcome discussion on the tangent of keeping ballet a secret but this has also been our approach. Basically our 13 DS tells few people and explains that it is a requirement of the studio while his real love is contemporary or lyrical (this isnt far from the truth!). We have discussed as a family that he doesnt owe everyone at school 'the truth' and that he has the right to privacy.

 

So I think on the first topic of inclusion that a proactive approach is called for! good luck!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Try watching out for ballet dancer brothers! If you know other mothers, encourage them to bring their similar-aged sons to shows, and jr. high/high school age boys are useful for lucking props, costumes, etc.! If you don't know other moms, volunteer in parent support group or volunteer to work as helper for shows, etc.

 

Ds's new best friend is the brother of one of the girls in his primary ballet class, and that has helped a lot. One close friend moved away, then the other main friend and he drifted apart, and he almost never sees the other local friend anyway, so it made a HUGE deal to him to have another guy his age to hang out with! He also really likes hanging out with the girls in his class, but since he is a late starter to dance, he's 14 in a class full of 11-13 year olds (so any potential "crush" type behavior would make me nervous because of age diff), and only started the next-level-up class (where more girls are his age) in the spring. All the male dancers at his ballet school are college age +. There are boys in other studios in town, but not at the other Mostly Ballet studio. It was veeeery lonely for him for a while when he had one acquaintance who he saw almost never, and a couple long-distance male friends (that lasted almost a YEAR!). Esp. being home schooled.

 

It also has helped him keep in touch and arrange meet-ups with his rare male friend to have Facebook and a cell phone so he can text. Makes his couple long-distant friends seem less long-distance, and they keep up their closeness even when they are away. (Also keeping up with local friend over summer as one or other out of state for 8 weeks straight!) Even just having One good male friend locally has made all the difference in the world because at least he has *someone* to go with him to stuff. He's content with one or two good friends, just his nature, so he doesn't feel he's lacking to not have a half dozen "friends" to hang out with anymore.

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