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Seren

Idiots guide to ballet for boys for non-dancer Mum?

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Seren

Hi everyone, first post here on this forum. 

My eldest son decided to have a go at ballet about 6 months ago. He’s now 7 and goes to a little local school 3 times a week and LOVES it. 

I have less than no dance experience or knowledge and I just have no idea what to expect of him or the school. To complicate matters further I have an international job that currently has us living in a Central American country with no standardized ballet teaching - so no grading or set teaching standards that I can measure him against and no way of checking the quality of the school/teacher.

I have literally no idea if he is learning well, or being taught the right things to help him for the future if he ever does want to do grades and auditions. He’s also learning everything through a new language (he has 3 other languages but Spanish isn’t yet one he’s mastered!) and is at the only school I could find that would accept a boy. Every other school turned us away because boys here don’t start until 15/16 so they didn’t know what to do with him! 

Im mostly happy that he’s having fun and doing something that keeps him fit and that he enjoys. A little part of me is however worried that he might waste years of ballet tutition and only realize later that he is missing some fundamentals that are essential if he wants to progress. It’s also a shame that he seems to be quite literally the only pre-teen boy in the ENTIRE country who dances ballet! 

 

I was was wondering if anyone could recommend either an idiots guide that I could use to quickly get my own knowledge up and/or some online lessons or YouTube videos he could follow at home to get an idea of levels and what he could aim for? 

In the longer term I’d also be really keen for any recommendations for a summer club/programme that would accept him (with whatever dodgy teaching he might have had so far!) and help him iron out anything he’s missing. We travel a lot to Europe, Latin America and the States so with enough notice could be really flexible with location if it was the right opportunity. 

 

Sorry for the huge post and thanks in advance for any advice you can throw at an absolute newbie!! 

 

*Seren*

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Thyme

Hi Seren- welcome to the forum!

I am mom to a 19yo DS who started at 8 years old. I am sure you will get a great deal of support and good advice here. My comment is that at 7 years old, don't over think things. If he is happy, enjoying moving and feels accepted where he is, you are going GREAT. There is so much to come as he ages. Some boys struggle to find that and they attend mainstream studios.

My experience is that at age 7, DS was not particularly concerned about the lack of other boys. This became an issue around age 11 or so. So enjoy things now and if he is still motivated in a couple of years I would definitely start looking around for summer programs with have lots of boys and male teachers. You will be able to gauge his training then.

I think most of our kids start to go away for intensives when they are older than 7. There is no quicker way to kill an interest than having too much of it! If he has other interests, keep them involved in the outdoors, kicking a ball, running and jumping. That's my opinion at least 😃

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5uptown

I agree with Thyme. Let him have fun. No pressure at this age— no reason to compare him with anyone. Many boys come to ballet much later. 

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mln

I agree with Thyme and 5uptown.  You have plenty of time before you need to worry about getting exactly the right training.  If he is having fun in a safe environment and learning some basics of movement and coordination, then there's no need to make immediate changes.

While he is having fun, you can slowly research the dance resources in your area of the world.  If there is a professional company in the country where you are residing, you can look to see where the dancers working there have trained.  That's where I would start. 

Most dancers don't start summer programs until 11, 12 or even later.  I would just look for local opportunities until then.

Good luck!

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Thyme

the other thing I would add is that if he is serious, Seren- enjoy the peace you have right now. There is a whole lot of working coming down the pipe for you in about 5 years!! Starting saving your pennies and go for coffee while you still can. 🤣

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Seren

Fantastic advice everyone! Thanks so much. I think I had got myself a bit over concerned by having a look through some posts that seem to discuss grades and exercises and audition strategies that are a world away from what our little ballet class in a tumble down building can offer. Good to be reassured that all of that can wait and we can just focus on dancing for now :)

Id still really love some recommendations for guides that might help me get my head round it all a bit more if anyone knows of any books etc - even if just to interpret the conversations on these chat forums!

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Thyme

Haha! Seren- this forum is the best guide you will ever find.  😀 I don't know of a better source of information and advice. I don't think you will find anything that wraps it all up for you. Your son is in some ways completely unique and raising a dancer is an ongoing education for both parent and dancer. If you don't understand something on a thread- just ask for an explanation. Most of us are very happy to share our understandings. Welcome to the ride!

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slhogan

Welcome!  I joined this message board when my son was 7, and now he's 19 and at the beginning of his professional career.  There is so much to learn from this message board if you just take some time to read through years of past messages!

Ballet Talk for Dancers is the perfect place to read reviews, ask questions for experts and experienced parents, and learn all about the ins-and-outs of training.  If you're looking for daily chit-chat with other parents of boy dancers, there are some groups on Facebook that you can search out. 

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BoyDanceMom111

We're in the same boat!  My DS started dancing at 5 and when I was little, I haaaated dancing so I have no practical experience.  I will say -- google Dr. Dancebelt and give yourself a crash course in boys' dance gear!

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nynydancer

Welcome!!  I think it's great your son is starting so early :)  Mine started at 12.5 years and he had to catch up fast!  I think starting at this age is great!  I also have a DD who started much younger, and this forum has been my own idiot's guide.   Thank goodness for ballet talk!

One thing I will say is that you need to get your boy around other boys when you can if he isn't already.  Maybe a week long summer program or master class for kids.  This was a big eye opener for my boy.  Also, ballet performances with strong male leads are great for your boy.

I would like to recommend musical theater, karate and tumbling as additional activities that compliment ballet very well.  I think my DS's extensive experience in karate really helped him with ballet.   Memorizing the katas, the jumps and kicks, as well as the discipline involved REALLY helped him a lot. He calls on his musical theater experience often for a performance and auditions.  Tumbling is something some boys can do, but mine wasn't trained in and wished very much that he was.

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