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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Style of ballet affecting joy?


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Son was in a school that taught Vaganova style. He loved ballet, but there were issues with the studio.


We recently found a studio that is actually closer to home AND seems to get positive reviews on this site. But now son is bored by dance and not enjoying it. He still goes, but he says he would be fine with dropping out now.


We have never ever told son, at all, but this new studio, from our watching from the outside, seems to have a lot less energy. It is not Vaganova style. I do not even know if that is the issue. But, the steps so move slower and with a lot more appearance of intention, if I am describing this right. Even The Nutcracker at this studio was very boring with a lot of redundant moves. It completely lacked the energy.


Son says he is ready to leave dance. We MIGHT be moving soon. He is not begging to leave, he is just saying he doesn't enjoy it anymore, it is boring, and he would be fine with leaving. He is still going without complaint and seems ok. And about this son's personality, he is not a go getter at all. Dance is the only thing he has ever loved and cared about. But he is not a go getter in any other area of life.


What do you think? He is 12 1/2 yrs old. Is this just the age and his interests are changing? Or do you think it is the studio?

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I would not jump to the conclusion that a particular style is the problem. Even though this studio has a good reputation, it sounds like it is not offering your son what he needs. Maybe the teacher has not worked extensively with boys. Maybe the teacher doesn't have good pacing. Maybe your son has been placed at a lower level to catch up technically, and the situation is trying his patience. I would look into various solutions and a studio change before you give up on ballet.


When you move, can you look for a program that has a lot of boys and a teacher with experience training boys of different ages? Look for that energy you see missing; trust your observations. A bigger program that can level students more exactly might also help, and so might a program with regular performance opportunities. Maybe try having him take hip hop or jazz once a week to complement the ballet.


I also think a male teacher can help inspire boys, especially one who is energetic and has a sense of humor.


At a certain age, boys need to be working on male technique, and when they get to this stage, the energy in the class really improves.


Good luck!

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My son is 12, and has struggled some this year because he is too young for the "big boy" stuff, but he's not a little guy anymore either. We are encouraging him to supplement with some other dance styles, and he is still very ambitious and passionate about ballet. But I am sharing this because I am starting to think it is not uncommon for boys (kids in general?) to feel a little stuck at this age, as they sort of wait for their body to catch up with what they feel like it should be able to do.


That said, it also sounds like this school might not be a good match for your son. If you think he's not unhappy to stick it out this year while you look for a new situation, then maybe tell him that you are exploring other possibilities? Would some open classes elsewhere (maybe on break or days off) be exciting? auditions for summer programs? I also think that at 12, its hard for them to realize that this is just a blip in the big picture.

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I agree with 5uptown and mln. I remember my then 12yo DS hitting a flat patch around that age. Too young for muscles, losing what little flexibility he had and being increasingly aware of all the girls he had to spend time with. The thing that got him through was a dynamic male teacher and a few more guys in class. Goodness knows what went on in those 'men's classes' but he always came out laughing and sweating. To me, it is an important time to get with the guys. We changed studios around that time (not for any reasons obviously relevant to this) but we stumbled upon a wonderful male teacher and I credit him with saving DS from quitting altogether.

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