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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Men's Classes-- When are they necessary?


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Deb, your AD has a point, especially when a dancer has been training for less than a year. Please consider slowing down and considering all viewpoints, not just the heady ones.

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Dancemaven - trust me, it's not heady things that are making me feel this way - it's a [...] respected U.S. male program AD who told me to get him around other boys pronto. I would gladly have him stay at home if there are other boys - but there aren't. Do you think that this guy has an ulterior motive? Honestly, just trying to figure this thing out. Would appreciate any insight.

Edited by GTLS Designs
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I know who the AD of the respected program is... and I do not think he would use the vocabulary "pronto." This AD is a very articulate person and probably explained the benefits of young gentlemen working together, and when prompted, would tell you directly that it would be good for your son to be around other boys.


Deb, you have received a lot of good advice on BT4D. You need to take a break and re-read through all of the advice. As dancemaven mentioned, listen to the advice that goes beyond the exciting news.

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GTLS - good advice. Thanks for that. We are scheduled to talk to the named AD on phone so that we further discuss what he said and clarify it and his recommended timeline. I think beyond "headiness" it's that parents just don't want to get in the way of a boy's training or to have regrets later.

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In a post many weeks ago, I mentioned that with only a year of training your son would benefit from another year of foundation work. I have also mentioned that your son has plenty of time. There are no regrets.


Ballet is not a sprint to the finish line. Ballet is like the Iron Man Triathlon with multiple stages, and multiple chances to get a head... then fall behind... and then catch up again. You just need to keep a clear head and keep moving forward.


Now this is the moment where you go back an re-read the advice that has been given to you.

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You've been given great advice by the moderators/professionals here. I can only speak as a parent.


How did things go at your home studio when your son left?


It took a while for the frost to thaw, but relationships improved gradually. There was a shift in dynamics, but that happens in any relationship where at least one of the participants is changing/growing/maturing. Things were good before he left.


In my opinion (and that is just my opinion) the best teachers invest their time, emotions and energy (and sometimes personal finances--especially in smaller studios) into these/our dancers. They spend a lot of time with them--sometimes as much as with their own family members. We would hopefully have chosen the teachers for their commitment and caring. So, I guess it should not come as a shock when the dancer (and family) make a decision outside of the teacher's plans, that the teacher might feel a little hurt---or a lot hurt. It is personal at that point.


Well - instead of talking to us, he took our son aside last night and told him that he doesn't think he has the confidence in his dancing yet to go away and that UNCSA isn't a well-respected dance program. He did this without including us in the conversation which I wasn't happy about.


As our dancers grow, teachers do expect them to speak for themselves--even though we, the parents, are driving, paying and still planning with our children. I haven't always appreciated this, but we've communicated our family needs to our dancer beforehand and he's been very good about listening to who's talking to him and presenting his/our side. Sometimes better and less emotionally than I would have!!


I've noticed (non-dancing) areas where I think my dancer is mature and the teacher is still treating them as if he was 4-5 years younger and areas where I think I need to still be involved and the teacher does not want to hear what I have to say. Not saying either of us is 100% right, just we have different views on the same person.


Ultimately my motto has been: This is my child. As long as I am financially responsible for that child, I get an opinion. The child is part of my family and I am responsible to all members of the family, therefore all decisions will take that into account. As a family we've made our decisions based on health, emotional, financial, educational, safety and training factors. That's the best we can do.


I think you heard this elsewhere in the forum, the ballet world is amazingly small. Try to maintain the best relationships you can, while maintaining the best quality of training for your dancer. You don't have to be buddies, but a good professional relationship will never be a hindrance.



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Great post Tentative!! :clapping:

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Thanks Tenative - very insightful.


As it turns out, I calmed down and slept on it overnight. I realized that it was best for our son not to take the offer as it is a very academically focused place and he isn't ready - our son agreed with that. It was very difficult to pass up a great offer but it wasn't the right time. I spoke to his AD and we came up with a plan for getting him what he needs to move onto a residential facility 1.5 years from now - and we will all be involved in choosing the right fit for him. I'm sure it will be painful - but it will be something that we can all prepare for.


In the meantime, in order to get him around other boys- I have read that there are mini-intensives or Master classes that he can go to during the year - maybe we can work that into a family trip - I've read about intensive over the holidays, etc that I'm sure will include other boys - but that's another post. Thanks all! It takes a village to raise a male dancer (a wise quote from another parent)

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  • 2 weeks later...

GTLS - I re-read your advice on the boards - thanks for that reminder.


I wanted to follow-up on an earlier post that you had in this thread. My husband and I called the well-respected men's ballet teacher that you think you know that our son had auditioned with a month or so ago.


He said that it's his expert opinion that our son needs to go away to a full-time program "now or never" (very similar phrase to "pronto" that his assistant had passed along and I posted earlier). He said that he shows promise but is a bit behind since he started a year ago. He went on to say that 14 is the right age to begin serious training with other like minded boys.


Now comes the difficult task of finding the right fit for him (sniffle, sniffle).

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With the advice that is being given, you are certainly welcome to come to your own conclusions. I hope the best for your son. Good luck in his journey.

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