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Know anything about ballet?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
We went to see ballet under the stars tonight. Really cool. Ballet Arizona does a free outdoor performance with four short performances. I realized tonight I had only seen one ballet before. It was modern, saw it in college. I've seen them on tv, books, etc. but my vision of ballet tends to be a ton of women in tutus with maybe one lead man. Tonight there were just as many men as women. A few of the dances had 2 men and 1 woman on stage. The final dance had about 20 men and 20 women.

So we go to talking and had more questions than answers. Is this the norm for most ballet companies today (equal numbers of men and women)? A woman is a ballerina, what is a male ballet dancer? I'm sure I'll think of more later but I'm off to bed now.
post #2 of 23
i think the number of dancers depends on the story the ballet is based on -- i mean if it is 'swan lake', then you will have more women than men in most scenes, righ?

costumes depend on choreography.

i think that men are called ballet dancers, but i might be wrong.

i am not very experienced with ballet

i am thinking of getting one of those one day, or someting similar

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...glance&s=books

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...glance&s=books
post #3 of 23
I like ballet but I love modern dance, esp. Alvin Aley. Here is link to a nice article on dance history.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballets
post #4 of 23
My son takes ballet. His school says that it is very difficult to get boys interested in ballet (or their parents to allow them to take it). Today is his first day in the Men's I class. It's for boys aged 7-9, I think, who are just beginning. There will be my ds and another little boy. The Ballet I class has about 30 girls. However, I've noticed that there are a few (though still not a ton) of teen aged boys taking ballet at this school and they are amazing. I think that it's becoming increasingly (though slowly) more acceptable for boys to take ballet and most ballets NEED boys. I mean, who's going to lift the girls? Who's going to play the prince?

Anyway, yes, most ballet's have a few men mixed in with the women, just like any other theater production. If there is a male role in the ballet, someone has to play it. Men and women dance differently so those male parts almost always have to be filled by men. My uncle, who has a friend who teaches ballet to kids, says that male ballet dancers are called "classical dancers", though I haven't verified that.
post #5 of 23
I was a ballet dancer. I stopped dancing at 21.

What happens is that the competition to get into a ballet company is a lot fiercer for women than it is for a man. A man who is a good dancer will have dozens of offers. So it looks like a lot of men in the companies, when you think about how many women vs. men aspire to be dancers, but that's because what you don't see on the stage are all the female dancers who didn't "make it."

The term ballerina is only very rarely used these days. Ballet companies have ranks. You start in the corps de ballet, which is the anonymous dancers in scenes with lots of people. Then there are soloists, who do the smaller solo roles and the dancers with smaller numbers of people. Then there are the principals, who dance the lead roles.
post #6 of 23
My 9 year old daughter takes ballet. She has never had a boy in any of her dance classes , although I've seen some boys in other dance classes.

One big difference between the training of men and women in ballet is that the women generally have to start training very young - 8 or 9 years old. Men can begin training as teenagers, or even young adults (18, 19 years old), and still be hired in major companies. That would be unheard of for a woman. The reason is not only the competition, but because the women must go on pointe, which takes years of proper training prior to even beginning pointe, and then years of training on pointe before they are ready to join a company.

Here is a great website dedicated to ballet. Any ballet parents out there may want to check out the Ballet Talk for Dancers message board. It's great:

www.balletalert.com

Laura
post #7 of 23
For all those boys who don't think it's cool to be in ballet:

My dh took ballet classes and says that he's never had such great odds with that many beautiful women!
post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kim
For all those boys who don't think it's cool to be in ballet:

My dh took ballet classes and says that he's never had such great odds with that many beautiful women!
LOL, that's funny. Anytime anyone raises an eyebrow about my ds doing ballet my dh says "look at it this way; if he's gay, he's got it made. If he's straight, he's got it made. There are no ugly people in ballet!"
post #9 of 23
Quote:
LOL, that's funny. Anytime anyone raises an eyebrow about my ds doing ballet my dh says "look at it this way; if he's gay, he's got it made. If he's straight, he's got it made. There are no ugly people in ballet!"
:LOL Wende, your husband sounds very cool!

My dd tries to convince her brother (age 11) to try dance. He always says "No way!" And I tell him that when he's a teenager, he may have a different point of view about hanging out with all those girls! He always gets a cute little grin on his face.

Laura
post #10 of 23
In my experience, females way outnumber males in almost all forms of dance, at all levels. Since I consider dance to be a lifetime skill (you can still dance socially at retirement age, but can you still do gymnastics, cheerleading, or soccer? Generally, NO), I think it's sad that the boys are missing out.

I've heard male ballet dancers called danseurs (French?). However, at the studio I used to work for, we jokingly referred to them as ballerinos (like in Spanish, when you indicate the gender by an A or an O at the end of a word). It may be a lame joke, but there are a lot of Spanish speaking people around here, and it just makes logical sense. Granted, this was not a ballet company - it was a dance studio with a children's dance company (mostly tap and jazz performances, some ballet).

Girls in studios in this area just have to get used to occasionally playing boys in performances. Not lead parts - those match the gender they are supposed to be. But the "boys" in the first part of the Nutcracker (the party)? Those are often girls with their hair hidden.

While I was pregnant, I told my DH quite firmly that no matter the sex of the baby, s/he would be encouraged to take dance. I really do believe it is a lifetime skill.

Sorry if this wondered a bit OT.
post #11 of 23
Male ballet dancers are called ballet masters.
post #12 of 23
I love ballet. I took lessons for five years. I studied under Patrice McCoy of the Classical Ballet Foundation.

I really have no sense of rhythm or music, but it did help me with posture issues and an advantage for life.

I do have a barre in my room for exercises.
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann-Marita
Girls in studios in this area just have to get used to occasionally playing boys in performances. Not lead parts - those match the gender they are supposed to be. But the "boys" in the first part of the Nutcracker (the party)? Those are often girls with their hair hidden.
Rain was a party boy in the Nutcracker, back when she was 7 or so. She thought it was great - the boys got to fight and tussle, much more fun.

There was one boy in Rain's last ballet class, and two in her current one. Still outnumbered, though. I think it changes as they grow older, too - her current class is ages 12 to adult.

Dar
post #14 of 23
My son took ballet for the last two years but we had to take him out this fall because we just can't afford it anymore. I am so sad. The cost of the classes plus the cost of gas to get there (it is a 30 minute drive each way on the highway) is more than we can afford. It was a wonderful experience for him - he danced in Sleeping Beauty, the Nutcracker and Carmen and had special parts in all of them because he was a boy. He loved it so much.
post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info everyone. I appreciate the ballarinos comment; my husband has always jokingly called male dancers ballasts. I love exposing the kids to all sorts of stuff; it just so expensive most the time. Gotta love a free outdoor show where they can watch and wiggle. And my sons would love to take dance but it is really expensive . . . but that's another post.

Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shantimama
My son took ballet for the last two years but we had to take him out this fall because we just can't afford it anymore. I am so sad. The cost of the classes plus the cost of gas to get there (it is a 30 minute drive each way on the highway) is more than we can afford. It was a wonderful experience for him - he danced in Sleeping Beauty, the Nutcracker and Carmen and had special parts in all of them because he was a boy. He loved it so much.
post #16 of 23
DS took two years of ballet before he switched to tap... but he did enjoy ballet! I wanted to mention, though, that the studio we go to has scholarships for boys over 7 -- such that the classes are essentially free. In order to take advantage of them, I think they have to attend twice a week -- regular ballet with boys and girls together and then a boys-only class.

Anyway, I think scholarships for boys are common and if the expense is the only obstacle it would be worth asking... Our local Nutcracker production always ends up with someone's brother or boyfriend playing a minor role, just so it's a boy.

Erica
post #17 of 23
An aside, but often football players and other sports professionals are put through some form of ballet to work on their balance and smoothness of their moves...

I do get a weird visual though .
post #18 of 23

I also studied with her in Burbank and then Moro Landis Studios in North Hollywood, a house in Reseda and back to Moro Landis. Were you there during the Angie Dickinson days? How about the Dyan Cannon days? Later it was Loreen Yarnell, may she rest in peace.

post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by applejuice View Post

I love ballet. I took lessons for five years. I studied under Patrice McCoy of the Classical Ballet Foundation.

I really have no sense of rhythm or music, but it did help me with posture issues and an advantage for life.

I do have a barre in my room for exercises.

I studied with her in Burbank and then Moro Landis in North Hollywood, then out to a house in Reseda and back to Moro Landis. From age 8 to 18 - we probably know each other.

post #20 of 23

Dd(17) has taken ballet classes for 14 years.  She's had anywhere from 1 to 6 boys in her classes.  Currently, she goes to the Fame high school in NYC where she is a dance major and ballet classes are mandatory for all the girls and boys (they take 15 hours of ballet and modern dance classes every week as part of their school day).  The end of year productions have some numbers with just girls, some with just boys, and some with an even mix.  

 

There's a couple of great series - one is called "Breaking Pointe" and the other is called "The Secret Lives of Dancers", which are both about ballet companies that have a good number of young men.

 

EDITED TO ADD:  I just realized this was from 2005! 

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