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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Lots of Boys vs Small Group of Boys


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DS is 13 and dances at a studio where he one of only two boys. He gets a lot of attention and great roles. He wants to go away to an SI this summer where there are boys.


We're not sure whether it would be best to try for an SI with a large number of boys, or, for the first year, attend one with good training for boys but with only a few boys in a men's class of his age. I'm afraid a large number of boys might be overwhelming for him, and he might not get a lot of attention.


I'm wondering if any of you have pondered this question, and what you decided to do.

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I have a 13 year old boy, too. We have always sought out programs with a lot of boys for the simple reason that even programs with 25+ boys may only have 5 or so thirteen year olds. Some smaller programs tend to attract older boys but few younger boys.


We've also sought out programs with separate men's levels and classes, and we've been pleased to discover that, in big programs, the younger boys often enjoy a smaller class size. Last summer, in a program that attracts tons of boys, my son had a dozen boys in class with him, all in the 11-14 range. He enjoyed it very much and felt that he got a fair number of corrections. In contrast, he attended a smaller but very reputable program the year before where they combined all of the boys into one class. He was the youngest, dancing with many 15-19 year olds. He did not get a great deal of attention in that case, though dancing with such advanced students was certainly inspiring.


Good luck with your decisions.

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My son votes for a decent number of boys. He is the ONLY boy where he dances and one of a few in our metro area that are at an advanced skill level. He absolutely loves going way to intensives that have a good number of boys of all ages, tho the younger ones do drive him a tad crazy in the downtime. He was also the youngest in his group this last summer and loved it because he got to learn from/observe guys much older than him. He's a big fish in a small pond at home so it is good for him to be the little fish in both skill and ego. :yes:

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An SI with a lot of boys means that your DS will probably have a boys' class with boys at his level and that means a very good learning environment that will focus on what he needs. Plus it will help him see how he compares to other male dancers his age. My DS has always enjoyed his boys' and men's classes .

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Agreed. I think it's good for young men to have that type of SI experience.

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Yes I agree that it is v good for our boys to get out into a big group of guys. Our experience is that spending too long on his own at the studio, getting the good roles and lots of attention didn't push him to work hard or dance better. I have seen that with other young men too. They need to be challenged and provided with a good understanding of their actual skills. Not saying that is always a lot of fun, mind you! :)

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  • 3 weeks later...

DS went to a low-boy-census SI his first summer, and had a great experience. They had performances every week, and he got to dance a good spot every time. I felt so fortunate that, since he was one of a handful of boys, I was able to pick him out easily each time (Plus he'd been learning ballet <1 year at that point, so he was easily the worst dancer LOL--also easy to spot!) Socially he did fine, his roommate was 2 years older and was next youngest besides him. He loved it, wanted to go again, but I felt he just didn't know what he was missing!


Next year he went to an SI with 40+ men of all ages. He had an amazing time socially and dance-wise. He had daily men-only classes that had a noticeable impact on his technique. He learned so much, and I think was challenged by having more men to compare himself to. At home studio there's currently one other regular adult male, one more adult male who dances, not ballet, but does character parts, and 2 younger boys (as in 10-11, ds is 15) who do ballet and that's it. I felt he NEEDED more men in program, and I'm glad he went, he is, too. And it can't be ignored the psychological boost a teen boy gets from going from that kind of home studio environment to getting to spend 5 weeks with DOZENS of men & boys who, like him, LOVE to dance ballet! At performance his parts were way more limited because they had *plenty* of great male talent. We were okay with that.


I don't know for sure where ds will go next summer, but he's definitely going to audition for both of these places again. I think the latter will give him better technique, and he admits that most of his reasons for wanting to go to 1st have to do with more performances and getting to see old SI friends again. But when you shell out thousands of dollar, you want to see results, and I think we'll see better long-term results from a high-male-census technique-focused SI, so will be urging him in that direction again ;-)

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