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Ballet Talk for Dancers

What age to start son in Ballet?


WendyMichelle

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WendyMichelle

Hello all!

 

I have a 2 1/2 year old little boy who loves to dance almost as much as I do. He is only 2 1/2 and will be 3 in February. He is currently enrolled in the Tumbling Tots program at our dance school and can already do flips by himself.

 

Our school has another level of Tumbling for ages 3-5, which I am assuming he will start next year. There is also a preschool creative movement class that he could take next year. However, there is also a boys ballet class that starts them as young as 3. I am wondering if it would be of any benefit to put him in the ballet class so early or to just let him do the creative movement class?

 

My husband and I are in disagreement about him taking ballet at all. I want him to take at least one year of ballet, preferably before he starts school. Then if he gets into school and takes up with sports I will be fine with that. Right now he has a very bad habit of rocking on top of his toes.....like his toes are curled under and he stands, jumps, dances, and yes, even walks that way sometime. We've brought the issue up with his Doctor who said DS just thinks it's fun. That is another reason I want him to take ballet.....so he learns to stand, dance, walk, whatever in the correct manner.

 

Is this a battle worth fighting with my husband over? Should I let him do creative movement or go ahead with the ballet class next year?

 

Thanks so much,

Wendy

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At his young age I would say the creative movement class would be more appropriate. When they are that young it should be gross motor skills and general movement as the focus. A traditional "ballet" lesson would be too much in my opinion until age 8.

 

Whether or not it is worth fighting with your husband about it is way beyond my scope! That's a decision for the two of you. It may help to tell him that many professional male athletes compliment their training with ballet lessons.

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WendyMichelle

Thank you for your reply, gcwhitewater.

 

I have already told my husband about the football players and other major athletes who use ballet to supplement their training and help with their footwork on the field. He says he doesn't care because they're getting paid millions of dollars and don't have to put up with being made fun of in school. We have tenuously agreed that any dancing be done before he starts school. I wish it were as simple as waiting until the appropriate age and it be DS's decision to make, but I don't think that will happen.

 

At least he will have several years of tumbling under his belt and maybe a year or two of creative movement before he starts school. That is better than nothing, I guess.

 

Thanks,

Wendy

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I started my son in ballet at 3. He was almost too active for the class at that age, at least the parents of the girls thought so. But we stuck with it. He is still dancing seriously at 13, and playing first-string football in middle school. I realize that many will object to a serious ballet dancer pursuing a sport on the side, but we have found that the two activities really complement each other. Good luck with your decision.

 

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DS started creative movement classes at 4. He did not begin formal ballet until 8. The only advantage of the boys ballet class may be if it is actually a creative movement for boys program. I would ask the curriculum folks. The girls were all imagining painting rainbows and butterflies during the warmups as they swooshed their arms over their heads and my son's suggestions of dragons and swarms of bees never made him to popular with his pink clad classmates.

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WendyMichelle

Thank you, everyone, for your input.

 

I will try to feel out both of the classes during the remainder of the year and try to decide which class to put him in next year. I just really want him to have at least one year of classical ballet training and after that I feel he can decide for himself, even if he starts at 8 years old. I've danced since I was 3 (am almost 37) so the poor boy gets it honestly. My husband told me if we'd had a girl that I could have my fantasy and be a Dance Mom. I thought that was a rather rude comment and let him know about it, too. He just can't see why I want to expose him to dance, at any age. DS just started doing flips around the living room much to my husband's surprise and enjoyment. He can now see where the tumbling is coming into play and approves of it now. He's just funny about some things. But I want my son exposed to everything and let him decide for himself where he chooses life to take him.

 

Wendy

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And when he wants to choreograph sword fights doing turns as he jumps off the couch in attack, Dad will see how ballet meets with the fantasy life of a young boy. Enjoy the age!

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I wonder if your husband would be willing to consider gymnastics? You mentioned tumbling several times and that he seems to be okay with that. My DS age 9 is a competitive gymnast (my other children dance). Gymnastics requires the flexibility and grace of dance but is a sport. It might better meet your husband's approval, while still appealing to your son. I will warn, though, that even though most gyms will have preschool classes suitable for boys, by age six you would need to find a gym that has a boys' team and the specialty equipment that boys train on. This is not necessarily easy. We live in a major urban area but still have to travel 45 minutes each way to get to my son's classes. Just an idea to ponder.

 

My husband (a football-playing jock) has never been anti-dance for our sons, so I don't have much experience with an unsupportive spouse, but I will say that I would consider family harmony to supersede the interests of a toddler. Once your son is older, if he wants to pursue dance, it may be worth it to him to take a stand for himself, with your support. In the meantime, if your husband is willing for your son to participate in preschool dance classes, go for it! Take it year by year. By the time your son is school aged, your choices may become clearer. In the meantime, if your schedule allows for your son to try some other sports as well, it may appease your husband and also give your son the chance to try a variety of things for himself.

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One more thought...formal ballet training does start around age eight, but it's probably worth mentioning that many boys start ballet later than that, even those that end up dancing professionally. If your son has a true passion for dance, he has plenty of time to try sports first and return to dancing later (even as a young teen).

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PaulRussell1, your multiple postings have been removed because BT4D does not permit duplicate posts in multiple Forums. Also, you have been posting in restrictive Forums. Please review our Rules and Policies.

 

One copy of your post has been moved and is now located in the appropriate Forum for your announcement.

 

Please do not continue to post the same announcement.

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As a single mom of a boy dancer, I always have to chuckle at the sterotypes that are perpetuated about guy dancers, especially from the perspective of the fathers. My son has NEVER been teased in school about being a dancer. Because he is so secure with himself, he also not the type of person who would care what people said about him or his passion for dance. He himself knows he is not like everyone else - the way he walks, the way he carries himself, the way he is built, his schedule away from school - compared to the kids he goes to school with. All of that causes him to attract way more attention from the female population than I am entirely comfortable with. He, of course, loves it. I kid you not, we were standing in line at school registration and the girls behind us were practically falling all over themselves to get his attention. The whole time I am wondering where I put my baseball bat! His guy friends respect and support him. Through dance, my son has lived more life than most kids his age. It has made him a better student academically, a better musician, gave him more confidence, more self awareness and maturity. Because of dance, he has had the opportunity to travel around the country, work with people from all walks of life, learn about self sacrifice, time management, and to take care of himself for months while he is away in the summer for training. How many 15 year olds can say they are capable handling layovers and catching cabs while they fly across the country by themselves? Dance has opened up so many opportunities for my son it boggles the mind, though its not without a lot of sacrifice. When I see how much joy dance has given my son, I can't imagine allowing the fear of sterotypes and what other people may think deny him what he is most passionate about.

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Dinkalina- I loved reading your perspective, it is very encouraging.

 

To the OP- I started my son in creative movement classes at 3.5 years old with his best friend at a Dolly Dinkle type school. He had been asking me daily for ballet classes for six months before I enrolled him and practicing while watching the nutcracker over and over. After a year and a half of butterflies, chasing scarves and fairy wands, he said he needed to go to a "real" ballet school. I did my research and had him do summer open classes at his current pre-pro, which he loved and I then felt comfortable enough to enroll. Fast forward another year and now he's on their performance team, has a few classes per week of ballet and jazz and is thriving. My kid is completely obsessed with ballet from the first moment he ever saw it and yet I'm glad I waited to start more formal, pre-primary training until he was 5. My younger son is already showing interest at 2 and some musicality/ facility but I will also wait and see. (I can dream though :)

 

I will also say I think a father's support of his son's dancing should not be underestimated, even at a young age. Our DK's know very quickly if dad is on board or not and it does affect them and I think their dancing as well. My husband takes our son to one class per week after school and it's become their bonding time.

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(Please forgive the typos and grammar- we had a multiple-performance weekend and this mom is tired!)

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I haven't posted for some time, but felt I had to reply to this. I wouldn't recommend falling out with one's husband to anyone, and perhaps it is too early in your son's ballet interest to make it worthwhile, but my experience has been that men sometimes have a very blinkered view of their son's taking ballet, often rooted in their own upbringing, and this can affect even the most sensible husband and father's viewpoint. To share my experience very briefly, my son insisted on starting ballet at 7 having seen a ballet on TV. The more serious he got, the more my husband opposed it. However, I gritted my teeth and continued to support my son. He went to Ballet School in London aged 16 and has been a professional dancer in a European Company now for 6 years and is very happy. Did I do the right thing? My son thinks so. His father is now somewhat reconciled to the situation and even sometimes seems proud of him. It is not easy being torn between 2 opposing viewpoints in one's own family. I'm sure the solution is different for eveyone. I just share this in the hope it may offer you some support.

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WendyMichelle

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone! I really appreciate all of your insight. Next fall I think I will let him take another year of tumbling and put him in the creative movement class. He would have to stay in CM until he's five. I got clarification from the AD and there actually IS an all boy's class, but they start at 5 years old. I know Dad is okay with the tumbling/gymnastics since he sees that DS is already able to do stuff with only two months of classes under his belt. I may have to pressure him a little to let him take the CM class, but I think that as long as it's before he enters school that Dad should be okay with it. I guess will just have to wait another 2 1/2 years and see what happens at 5 years old. For the time being, DS and I have "dance parties" on Saturday nights while Dad is working.

 

Thank you again to everyone! I appreciate your suggestions, insight, and support.

Wendy

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