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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Dancing boy wants to try sports


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Hello all,


My son who is nine, has decided he wants to scale back on his dance commitments and try winter baseball. He has never played baseball before and he really wants to try it. He is now at a ballet level at his studio where he can audition for ballet rep (kind of like dance team but ballet) and his schedule would become pretty crazy. I told him he has to make a choice and sports won! I know he is young and taking a year off to dance part time is not the end of the world. I guess I have to make peace with it myself and support him wanting to branch out.

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My DS, 10, is doing the exact same thing right now. I don't know that there's a choice, really, because I can't make DS dance if he doesn't want to. I think the good thing is that, while it's not ideal, boys definitely have more luxury to drop out for a year at this age and still have a shot at a career, while it's harder for girls.


The other thing is that if he tries sports and realizes he loves dance, then he'll come back to it with stronger commitment. On the other hand, if you don't let him try baseball, he'll always kind of wonder "What if....".


I don't think I'm especially invested in whether my DS ever dances again (he has very little facility and almost zero talent); but the thing that really killed me was that I wait in air conditioned comfort if he dances but I wait on a hot ball field if he doesn't. That's real sacrifice. For me. :-)


mom57, I think we were posting at the same time; but kids sports have gotten crazier and crazier. Just about any sport your kid plays anymore has year 'round opportunities to play. When I was young, you could pick up a sport in junior high or high school and have a shot at being very competitive. Now it seems like if you aren't kicking that soccer ball or swinging that bat at age 5 you've been passed by. I exaggerate; but only slightly.

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My son has balanced sports and ballet for many years. He is a very athletic kid, and he has always needed a competitive, aggressive activity to complement the discipline of ballet. He's now 14, and ballet is getting more athletic and more competitive. In the next year, I can see him deciding that he no longer needs to pursue a sport seriously. Whatever he decides, I think it was wise for us to keep him involved in sports for as long as we did. He's a stronger dancer for all of the cross-training, and he is becoming an excellent partner. At 14, the decision to focus on ballet will really be his and will not be based on peer pressure.


We managed to balance sports and ballet by taking full advantage of the summer for both dance and sports camps. My son has been attending summer intensives since he was 11. We also try to make up as many missed dance classes as we can during the off-season.


I think ballet programs lose a lot of boys with potential when they ask them to commit too soon. However, I also recognize that those boys who were able to commit to ballet earlier have a technical advantage over my son. Whether he will catch up or not remains to be seen. My sense is that he is catching up.


Good luck to your son in all of his endeavors!

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My son was able to do summer sports camps before he got so serious about ballet that Summer Intensives started. At 8 and 9 his academic school offered week long summer camps that focused on learning one particular sport each week so he got to try them all out. He found he really only liked baseball but he was just okay at it.


He was a bit bummed when he was old enough to start going to his home studio's summer intensive and realized he couldn't do the intermediate summer sports camps. But we gave him the choice and ballet won.


I think he has always been a little sad that he wasn't able to play baseball but the problem was that he never wanted to give up ballet and, around here at least, baseball is a 6 day a week sport starting very young. If he had been able to find a way to do it two days a week and somehow fit it in with ballet I think that would have happened.


The way it worked out, he has always said that ballet is his sport but the other guys just don't understand it. He finished his last year of normal school in May and is starting an on-line school in August that has lots of performing arts and athletic kids. He is looking forward to no longer being the "weird boy" because his sport isn't a traditional one.

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When my son was 8-12, he frequently participated in sports leagues. We always enrolled him in YMCA leagues because around here they are the least competitive leagues and offer a friendly introduction to the sport (as opposed to hyper-competitive, time-intensive club leagues). We were often able to find non-traditional seasons such as a 1 month Football season over winter break.


Once he was 13, his ballet commitments were too great to do any outside sports, but he's grateful that he knows how to throw a football, catch a baseball, etc.

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mln: how many hours of ballet and sport does your DS do per week during the regular season?

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Mom57, our little league offers fall ball which is less demanding schedule-wise with games on Sundays.


Thanks for the encouragement. I figure he will feel like he got to do something new and won't resent that ballet has taken over his life completely. He misses a lot of birthday parties and other fun things for ballet. I agree that since boys mature later, I am not too worried about him falling behind.

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I'm happy to share this schedule, though I'm not advocating it for anyone else. It's just what works for my ds right now.


Here’s the sports/ballet balance for the current year.


This summer consists of a 4-week residential summer intensive (full time); 3 weeks at home ballet studio (5 hrs/day); a week of volleyball and weight training; two weeks of morning football (3 hrs/day) and afternoon ballet (2 hrs/day).


In September, October, and early November (if team is winning), my son plays football 12-15 hours per week and dances 6 hours per week.


From early November until our spring performance (about seven months), he dances 15-20 hours per week.

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My older ones balanced ballet and sports as long as they could. We looked for leagues that let us pick our practice day and had consistent game times so we could work around rehearsals and dance classes. I finally told them they had to pick (I was losing my mind driving all over) and they picked ballet. Sometimes they regret and wonder....what if? It is hard when most of their guy friends can not relate at all. Even if they don't pursue dance professionally I think their college applications will look a little more interesting than the usual school sports listed and make it into the "To be considered" pile!

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Please respect that THIS is a Restricted Forum reserved for postings only by Parents of Boys (Dancers). Thank you! :thumbsup:


A few well-meaning posts by non -Parents of Boys (Dancers) have been removed.

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My son played some baseball and even ran cross-country (briefly until Nutcracker interfered) but when push came to shove, and he had to choose, he always chose ballet. You can't make the decision for them. All you can do is make sure they have all the options and support their decisions! (as hard as that is :() BTW, my son went on to play rugby and dance ballet in college and now has decided to pursue ballet professionally, so you just never know which direction they'll go. And, frankly, although my daughter was never a dancer, I think they have a little more leeway as a boy to catch up down the road.

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At our studio, many boys have been able to manage combining dance and a sport until age 12 or 13. That marks the big jump from 3 to 4 technique classes a week. By that age time isn't the only issue. At least 3 boys combining dance/soccer or dance/basketball began having issues with OS because of overuse during a growth spurt.

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mln: That is quite a schedule! I find it hard to believe your son would need to catch up to other 14 year old boys - training must be intense in your area. You are lucky that he chose a sport with a fairly short season.

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My DS did competitive swimming from around age 9-12 (but only 2-3 hrs a week). He did ballet for 1/2 hr a week until 12 then scaled it up to about 3-5 hrs. Up to age 12 he also tried gym, diving and fencing. At 13 (almost 14) he went to his first SI and was offered a place for the year round programme, which is where he is now.


I am certain he wouldn't have been ready to specialise in ballet at a younger age and equally certain that ballet was his choice alone - we never pushed him and he had plenty of opportunity to try other stuff as he grew up. His ballet teacher said he would take a bit of time to catch up technique as he started late, but was certain that by 18 he would be fine.


I agree with nutmeg that we are lucky our DS's have this leeway and should be grateful that it allows them to diversify a bit when they are young.

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We are also balancing ballroom and ballet which are dear to DS' heart. He still cannot decide and his teachers say he has potential in both. This year (he is 13) he will have 8 hours of ballet and 8 hours of ballroom. Plus runthroughs, competitions, nationals for ballroom, rehearsals and recitals for ballet. I enjoy watching him dance both, but eventually he will have to make his choice. Just not this year.

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