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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Is your boy dancer friends with the girls in his studio?


Guest jesse1612

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Before high school, my DS was at a local studio with only a couple of boys. There were no other boys his own age, but he was friendly with some of the girls. They did not socialize outside of class, but keep in contact through social media. He had two male friends from middle school. They got together occasionally, but a dancer's busy schedule got in the way of much socializing. He now boards at a pre-professional school a thousand miles away from home. His roommate and he became good friends, but that boy's family relocated at the end of the year and he is no longer at the school. There are about 12 boys in this school. DS socializes with both the boys and the girls and has the closest relationships with the kids in his own level. It makes sense because they share the same classes and so have much to talk about. I have heard that some dating does occur, but my son 15, isn't focusing on that yet and that's just fine with me! He is so happy in boarding school and I believe it's because he is surrounded by people who share his passion for dance. It doesn't really matter to DS whether they are boys or girls - he can have friendships with either.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think, ironically, my son's friendships (and I do mean *friendships*) with the girls with whom he trains have grown significantly as they all moved into the teen years. When he was younger, my son had close female friends outside of ballet, but I don't recall much of that at the studio. We did change studios about the time he turned ten in order that he could have male teachers and more boys at his level and older to look up to. I felt badly leaving the little studio where he started, but he really needed the camaraderie and competition of other guys. It was absolutely the right move for him and if we hadn't done it, I doubt he would still be dancing.

 

As a teen in the pre-professional division of his school, there are only a very few other boys at his age /level, but they all (boys *and* girls) spend so much time together and have had to build so much trust that they really are a close bunch of friends. They struggle to find time to "hang out" outside of class / rehearsal / school / college test prep / etc, but they do make an effort. They communicate via text, etc, as well. For many of them, the ballet world is a larger part of their social lives than school -- they have more in common (dance, of course, but also focus and drive) with the other kids in the dance program.

 

I like what someone said above about not seeing the girls as Girls. They're friends, partners, someone to laugh with... Seeing them as Girls leads to awkwardness and drama. But yes, it's possible for these groups to have really great friendships and be incredible supports for each other. (Once we were looking at a cross-country move, and of course we had to visit ballet schools. DS was, I think, 12 almost 13 at the time, and at one school, the girls *literally* pounced on him. Shrieking and giggling. Poor kid left *terrified*!)

 

Last thought... I do think that the fact that competition is actively *dis*couraged at our school may help with relationships all around. Obviously some comparison will happen no matter what -- that's the nature of this business -- and some kids will get parts that others don't, some will go to more "prestigious" SIs than others, etc, etc, but the sort of constant one-upmanship I've seen in other places is really avoided. I don't notice its absence really -- but when I'm at a large audition and hear parents and dancers in the lobby, I'm often shocked. Anyway, I do think that that has helped the relationships among the dancers, male and female. It's something for which I'm very grateful.

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Can i ask if anyone has experience of these friendships becoming 'more'? We have suddenly moved into that world and it feels more than abit unclear how this will work!

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Ballet dragon

Thank you, Thyme. I would also like to know if others have experience when a dance friendship crosses the line over to something "more", or when a girl wants it to be "more."

 

My DS (14 yo) has been the recipient of numerous crushes in the studio, which puts him at the center of a lot of girl drama. He has successfully navigated through all of that, primarily because he has other trusted female dancer friends who are his eyes and ears in the studio, and "guide" my unsuspecting naive dude. (he is the only heterosexual male dancer in his age group).

 

Recently, though, he did start dating a dancer in the studio, despite being expressly told by an older male dancer to NEVER date a girl in the studio. It's still very innocent - they aren't even holding hands in public. But, in the studio, they partner, which requires touching. It was very comfortable when they were dancing as colleagues, but now as boyfriend/girlfriend, it gets a little more complicated.

 

Any sage advice out there?

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Let him figure it out. There will always be drama when it comes to boy/girl things, or partner/partner things, or girl/girl things, or boy/boy things....... hung out at the water cooler at work lately? I'm sure there is drama of some sort where you work too!!!!! Kids have to learn how to surf this wave, and he will too!

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My son was very shy in the beginning, but has warmed up to the girls. He sees them as good friends and they have fun together.

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  • 2 months later...

I've loved this thread; it's been so helpful!

 

My 11yr old son initially got along very well with everyone in his studio. Then he got his first taste of the nasty side of the competitive nature of this art form. There are a couple of boys in his level. One of these, consumed with jealousy, turned a couple of the popular girls in their level against my son by soliciting pity and using false and exaggerated accusations :( They've all worked it out now, but he knows that the kids at ballet are friends--not buddies...which is kind of sad since it has been hard for him to make friends elsewhere since he's not good at sports and does ballet (he's not hesitant to tell anyone that). Blessedly, all of the older students like him very much and are sweet to him:)

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Oh that is a shame Joyful3!! Well tell your son that many studios are not that way at all. My DS has attended 4 studios in his time and they vary remarkably. Good staff leads to happy kids who pull together and don't compete in a nasty way. They need to be kind to each other (I think) because they often tend to be misfits and unusual due to their interest.

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Thank you, Thyme, for that encouragement. I can relate to what you said about ballet boys being misfits oftentimes :yes: I did share your experience with my son. I was driving and couldn't see his face, but he definitely listened and accepted it, though. I have witnessed what you said about good staff leading to happy kids in action at another studio we visited; that was nice to see and I found myself wishing DS could be a part of it...

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Finding the right studio is so important joyful3. It is rarely straightforward, so many things to take into account. Quality of training, hours, location etc etc. For us, being happy and enjoying the other dancers remains as important as everything else. Good luck! It is a long and bumpy road!

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DS has always got on well with girls, I think having a sister 13 months younger helps with this.... He has had a number of GFs from his vocational school (which he joined aged 14)- partly because being in a boarding school he doesn't get to know many other girls outside school! The outcomes have been variable depending on the girl and the situation. He has also struggled hugely with girls who he would like to be close friends with but they wanted to take it further. But his best friend at home has had the same and he's in standard education. And the trickiest relationship by far in the family has been younger son at 13 and his GF- and nothing to do with dance at all! So I guess perhaps we just have to remember that teenage relationships take some weathering....

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  • 2 weeks later...
HosannaCat

My son has always made friends with female students.

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  • 4 weeks later...

My son has been lucky enough to make so many friend in dance, and yes, most of them are girls, but it is simply becasue that is who he is with each day. The few boys are also close, but as they get older, the competitive spirit kicks in and they tend to push them away.

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