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Ballet Talk for Dancers
Thyme

comparing boys and girls

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ifnotwhynot

Yes, at every studio I've ever been in, there have been far fewer guys than girls. But of the hundreds of girls at the studio, only a handful of girls had real talent/potential in ballet whereas most of the boys had that talent. Nearly every girl in America spends at least a little time in a dance studio, but guys don't usually join a dance class unless there's an inner drive leading them to it. Girls with very little talent will often spend years in dance training because it's fun, their friends are there, and it's a socially acceptable activity. Guys, on the other hand, will usually only stick around if it's obvious that they're very good at it.

 

In other words, years of ballet training can turn out a lot of girls with no career potential, but the guys who stick it out to the end probably do have career potential.

 

But, even taking that into account, the competition for girls is a lot more fierce than boys. It is what it is.

 

This is what I meant, and you have said it so much better!!

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dancemaven

In other words, years of ballet training can turn out a lot of girls with no career potential, but the guys who stick it out to the end probably do have career potential.

 

And the girls that 'stick it out to the end' also have career potential----there are just more of them, so more competition and thus, fewer of them will actually realize their career potential. In our experience, the boys that reach that point that want a job, get them. For the girls, however, it takes a lot more for the stars to align than just having the 'goods' and wanting a job.

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ceecee

To the parents of boys on this thread, nobody here is trying to de-value your sons' talent. We are just answering the question that was asked about why it is possible to delay training decisions for boys and not for girls. The short answer is because the situation allows it.

 

Don't feel threatened by these facts... rejoice in them!!! Your boys will get their dreams!! If someone told me that great news about my daughter I would take that ball & run with it!! :3dnod:

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Pierrette

Don't feel threatened by these facts... rejoice in them!!! Your boys will get their dreams!!

 

And don't just rejoice, shout it from the rooftops!!! "More guys should realize the opportunities that are available to them in the world of dance! College scholarships! See the world! Meet great people!"

 

I have a hunch that this is Nigel Lythgoe's #1 purpose in producing his dance shows - to showcase male dancers and promote the concept that dance is a worthwhile pursuit for guys.

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slhogan

 

And the girls that 'stick it out to the end' also have career potential----there are just more of them, so more competition and thus, fewer of them will actually realize their career potential. In our experience, the boys that reach that point that want a job, get them. For the girls, however, it takes a lot more for the stars to align than just having the 'goods' and wanting a job.

 

It's a tricky situation when dance schools turn out more career-ready dancers than there are jobs for dancers. Reminds me of the argument going on in Law circles. Law schools churn out way more lawyers than there are job opportunities for lawyers. I personally know 5 law graduates who can't find law-related employment.

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Curandera

Another thing being left out of the conversation is “pointe.” Male ballet dancers don’t perform in pointe shoes. That skill takes years to master. Therefore, girls need to start younger to be where they need to be at age 13 and up.

 

This is not to deny the incredible skills that male ballet dancers perform. I love them! But, compared to girls, it does shorten the time-put-in requirements needed to become great!

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Curandera

I also think that often dance parts for women call for women who look fairy-like, ethereal, in other words, young - Giselle, Cinderella, etc.

 

While males can be just about any age, a greater age difference where the male is older is generally more accepted - with maybe the exception of Romeo.

 

So women must look young but be extremely accomplished as a dancer. While men don't have to look young and can be the young lady's love interest at a wider range of age and therefore have more time to develop the requisite dance skills.

 

That may contribute to the disparity as well.

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Momof3darlings

I'm not so sure looking young is an asset for female dancers. It may look that way to an outsider or audience member simply because of the fact that the smaller bodies and hairstyles make dancers look younger and that they all look younger because of those things. But in general, truly looking younger can be a problem. Looking younger is quite a bit different than looking fairy-like or ethereal both which simply mean: light, airy, heavenly, diminutive. There are a couple of companies who do like the younger look for an R & J, but there is a balance to which the look of the couple has to fit the story, but also a point where it can become "icky" and that is something AD's think about.

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slhogan

Curandera, you bring up a great point with the pointe issue (I really didn't mean for that to be a pun!)

 

I think another reason why boys aren't pushed as intensely as girls is that while boys have a lot of technique and skill to learn, they are limited in many ways until they acquire their adult bodies. Puberty still seems pretty far away for my 13 year old son, and while he does simple partnering he is still years away from being ready for the the pas de deux skills that are required for men. I'm also assuming his jumps will be higher and more impressive once he has adult male muscles.

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Thyme

yes I know what you mean slhogan! I know someone in this thread said that they didnt think emotional maturity was a reason why boys are 'given longer to get it together' but my 13yo struggles to pay attention to packing his school bag! the girls in his dance classes seem much clearer and together at the same age- more focused? I dont know because I dont have a daughter but I cant help but think that this comes into play too?

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Momof3darlings

Thyme-that is more likely because those girls have been in ballet class since they were 6 and therefore now know what is expected and have achieved some sense of the discipline of concentrating in class. My 12 year old girl struggles paying attention packing her school bag too. I had to institute a "no return" rule so she would stop calling me from school to tell me she left something. Now the flip side of that is her dance bag is always packed correctly. :) My dd1 also teaches ballet at a competition school where she is the first non pre-ballet teacher the kids get and she runs her class like a "real" ballet class so it takes a full year for her to get the kids adjusted to the discipline you're speaking of also. Some of that is simply our new society of quick, fast, over.

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Thyme

I never thought of that Momof3darlings- yes that is true he does manage his dance bag better than his school bag. Motivation eh? Arent they funny creatures? :clapping: I have found this boy/girl discussion invaluable. I have decided that this forum is so invaluable because you get such open unbiased feedback- thanks again.

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ballerinomom

What I have found interesting is that although there are a number of very capable boys in my DS's mixed technique class (ages 10 and 11), when it comes to end of season performances, the girls have more time on stage (in long girls only sections) and the boys sometimes play a secondary role when they are on stage at the same time, e.g. striking poses while the girls dance. I know from reading this thread that it turns out OK for them in the end, but as a parent I find it strange that the teacher doesn't choreograph for the boys and girls more equitably. In technique class they do everything the same, but on stage the boys don't get the same opportunity to show their stuff. Is it common to feature the girls more? If so, why is that? Is it hard to create choreography for boys to do as a group or choreography that showcases boys and girls at the same time? Is the teacher subconsciously concentrating more on the girls for the reasons discussed on this thread -- i.e. because the boys don't need it as much at this age?

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Thyme

Ok folks- I just received some very confronting advice from a male AD at a local pre-professional dance school (excellent credentials- the whole box and dice). You may recall that I started this thread asking for advice and opinions on the whole 'boys vs girls career path'. this guy basically said that boys can no longer hold back and need to be 'serious' (aka full time dance study with no academic study) by the time they are 15yo. He said that we are kidding ourselves down under if we dont accept that there are zillions of exceptional male dancers hitting the companies from all of the world. He says that yes there are those wonderful stories of really late starters but he said they are the exception. He is eyeing my 13 year old DS for this program and shocking me at the same time. I was totally accepting this nice idea of 'finishing high school, do lots of classes in your safe small school and then enroll in a university level dance program before hitting the audition circuit when you are 20 years old'. I really liked the idea that we had abit more time up our sleeves and that his teenage years could proceed without a huge alteration to the 'normal' path. Now I hear this and really dont know which way to proceed. I should add that this full time program is a 10 minute walk from our house (spoiled I know!) so living away from home isnt an issue. Is this guy right? He compared the path to training an Olympic athlete and said that the body needs that kind of training and development during the teenage years. I can clearly see that many parents on this forum follow this path. I should say that I am writing from Australia where home schooling and residential programs are really the exception not the norm. The Australian Ballet School takes a handful of full time dancers each year when they are 14 but otherwise it is more 16 or 17 years old (in fact you are not allowed to leave highschool here until you are 17 unless it is to a government accredited program and you are a recognised elite athlete- this is my loose understanding please dont quote me!).

 

so I need some help here, is he right or is he pushing this for his own commercial gain or is it just one perception?? :unsure:

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lemlemish

No academic study at 15? Don't believe it. While the top schools here in the states do have very rigorous schedules for the older teens, most 15 year olds (boys and girls) do some academic work at 15. I have a hard time buying that he would have to complete high school by 15 to be competitive.

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