Ballet is not for boys so sad, wwyd? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 88 Old 01-23-2006, 01:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My ds loves his ballet class, it was kinda flukey they had advertised a preschool dance class, and the aupair was taking him, so when she told me they had girls in tutus...I thought the parents were being cutsie.... So I went to see his class today ........

Its a 100% ballet class a sea of pink tutus, pink shoes, pink pink pink
and he's the only boy.
DS loves it - loves it.
Teacher says he's a natural and he's got some moves down and follows well.

But he got very sad in his class today, wanted to go home that ballet is not for boys and he doesn't belong. I tried to tell him not to let those girls push him out of doing something he really loves. DH said if you don't want to go you don't have to, but I don't think thats the lesson here. I've always said my kids can take any lessons they want within reason, but would never push a kid to stay in lessons of something they hated. But he really loves dancing and loves his dance class...

Anyone got any suggestions for showing him he has a place there?
Should I point out to the teacher if the girls comment?
Or should I just make him a funky black ballet outfit with flames matching shoes and rent some masculine ballet videos? Find him a big boy ballet dude?

I think ballet is for boys hockey is for girls.
And how do I get adults who should be aware that making comments regarding sexual orientation and dance in front of a three year old boy is WRONG?

How do I know if he falls out of love with his dancing classes for real or just feels pushed out?

8 might be enough
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#2 of 88 Old 01-23-2006, 01:46 AM
 
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Talk to the dance studio owner and instructor and have them introduce your son to any other boys who are taking classes there. Also, I think the instructor of the class should have a talk to all the other girls in that class and tell them that they are plain wrong if they think ballet is not for boys. The cutest recitals are the ones that have boys in them. Who is going to lift the girls in the air (when they get old enough) if not the boys?

Watch some ballets on TV and show your son that indeed, there are men in every single one of them, there have to be men in every one.
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#3 of 88 Old 01-23-2006, 01:46 AM
 
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I dunno, but I was thinking something similiar the other day... And I think the rocking ballet outfit sounds cool, and a dude ballet dancer/mentor sounds good to me also!

It's lonely being the only XX in a house of XYs.
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#4 of 88 Old 01-23-2006, 02:20 AM
 
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The dance studio in my town won't even take boys! Both my boys love to watch ballet on TV and they will dance around when it is on. It's so stinking cute. Even my almost 2 year old does it.

I'm sorry your son has been hurt and feels he doesn't belong. Definately talk to the teacher and show him other male dancers.
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#5 of 88 Old 01-23-2006, 02:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Its so sad I thought my days of running after a bus driver who is female to show my dd that see women do drive buses was done...now I am hunting down male dancers!

I've been looking for websites of schools that might have more males kicking around...sadly its fairy tutu hell all about pagents, recitals...I think I will do a few phonecalls tomorrow and find a school with more than one boy in a class.

8 might be enough
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#6 of 88 Old 01-23-2006, 02:27 AM
 
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rent Billy Elliot

Not all those who wander are lost 
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#7 of 88 Old 01-23-2006, 02:29 AM
 
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If the ballet classes don't work out because DS doesn't want to continue, maybe there is another type of dance he would be interested in such as tap or jazz? It might be easier to find other classes with more boys in them in those types of dance and then your son could still be dancing. I personally hope all my kids (boys and girls) will be interested in dance... I love it but have no moves

Erika, mama to three beautiful kids (plus one gestating), and wife to one fantastic man.

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#8 of 88 Old 01-23-2006, 02:31 AM
 
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Ouch! it's a brittish movie that I love and can't remember the whole name of, Billy something?? There's also a lovely book called "Thursday's Children" By rumer gooden. Definitely for older kids, but maybe something you could read to ds? I think it's saad that a boy who loves dance would get mistreated for it.
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#9 of 88 Old 01-23-2006, 02:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Perfect I had so forgotten about that movie!!!
Ds is a big movie buff!

8 might be enough
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#10 of 88 Old 01-23-2006, 02:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
I love it but have no moves
me too I still polka (raised in a german community going to myself
one two three one two three...

8 might be enough
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#11 of 88 Old 01-23-2006, 02:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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lol not sure if it was a compliment but the ballet teacher assumed I had been a dancer.... maybe it was the bun or the fact my little man was in ballet...

8 might be enough
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#12 of 88 Old 01-23-2006, 03:05 AM
 
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I think the flame outfit is a killer idea! Our ballet class is mostly girls, but we do have 2 boys. I also thought it a little strange that all the little girls were in uniform (pink leotard and white tights) but the boys were a little left out in the cold. When they are young like that, dressing up is a really big part of it. Let's face it, dressing up can also be a big thrill to an adult! I still love costume parties!

I am glad you brought this subject up. I am going to voice my opinion to our dance teacher and see what we can do to create a "uniform", so to speak, for the boys in her classes.

Good luck, and I would love to see a pic if you do the outfit!
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#13 of 88 Old 01-23-2006, 03:40 AM
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I would make a good outfit that he loves, and I would rent/borrow from the library Baryshnikov videos. Talk about a man who can make ballet seem coool!!! And he is a real guy, who really made a living at it and who clearly loved it. And there is a lot of solo stuff that he did...so he can see ballet without the girls in tutus! Might be good for him.

I mean look at him!!!
http://www.masters-of-photography.co...aryshnikov.jpg

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#14 of 88 Old 01-23-2006, 03:45 AM
 
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My 4yo ds is in a dance class along with my 3 yo dd and several other little girls. Often times he is the only boy but he doesn't seem to mind. I think the dress code helps. The girls are are suppose to wear a black leotard and the boys wear a white tee shirt with black shorts. Sometimes the girls wear other colors, not often and NEVER a tutu. I would see if the teachers are willing to enforce a dress code. What do they do for the girls who can't afford a fancy outfit? But if they are not willing to do it then I agree with putting together a fancy outfit for your ds.

Sometimes I think the stereotypes for boys are more difficult to break down than those of girls. Our dance studio has a great picture of several young boys in football uniforms listening a fellow football player while he plays the violin. It's an ad I've seen before that says "Celebrate the Entire Boy," or something close to that. That's the message I am trying to reinforce.
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#15 of 88 Old 01-23-2006, 04:05 AM
 
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We're up against this too. DS really wants to start ballet classes but has been put of because he thinks he'll be the only boy there. Juts gettign him there is tough but he looooves Angelina Ballerina and practices his dance moves all the time and says he'll be a ballet dancer when he grows up.

I thought of getting Billy Elliot but that's actually quite a disturbing film for young kids; I would have to highly edit it! Just the dance scenes are good. Aww I love that film.

And yes Baryshnikov, what a great idea!
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#16 of 88 Old 01-23-2006, 07:11 AM
 
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This book (Max) was one of my favorites as a child.

: Deirdre & the boys ('02 & '06 vintage)
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#17 of 88 Old 01-23-2006, 08:24 AM
 
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If ballet isn't for boys, then how come I can think of at least five famous premier danseurs* and not one premiere danseuse.


*male version of "ballerina".
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#18 of 88 Old 01-23-2006, 09:04 AM
 
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I would do some searching...in our area one of the major banks sponsors boys in dance. This is the programme here (this school is so awesome! they also have a danceability program for those with physical disabilities):

http://www.theschoolofdance.ca/2005w...ases.html#CIBC

It's great because the sponsorship is 100% so boys don't have any tuition. It's our city's best kept secret.
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#19 of 88 Old 01-23-2006, 09:44 AM
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When my older daughters were taking ballet, the dance teacher offered to teach boys for free!!!

db
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#20 of 88 Old 01-23-2006, 10:34 AM
 
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As someone who grew up dancing and did dance professionally for many years, I remember how great it was when a boy would join us. Such a different chemistry on stage! Oh, well, I'm not helping...just reminiscing. I second finding male dancers in videos or elsewhere. Do you live in a place that has a local ballet company? If so, take your son.
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#21 of 88 Old 01-23-2006, 10:40 AM
 
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I was just thinking about this yesterday because DS loves ballet. DD took ballet last year at age three (she didn't want to take it this year) and it was all girls, but the basic outfit for girls was a pink or black leotard with pink or nude tights, and they were allowed to wear "skirts" with their leotard one day a month - no tutus. there was a dress code for boys too, but there were no boys in her class.

The teacher would have gladly accepted boys.

We have many dance studios for kids around here. maybe there are some other ones around that have boys enrolled or are more "boy-friendly"?

I love the idea of a PP who said to make a costume for him. What a great idea!
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#22 of 88 Old 01-23-2006, 12:54 PM
 
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As the mother of boy/girl twins, one of whom is in ballet class, in my opinion, of course ballet is for boys (and girls), BUT... it sounds like this class most definitely isn't. I think some ballet classes especially for the preschool set are basically filled with little girls in frothy confections prancing around pretending to be princesses. If your boy is comfortable with that, fab. But if he's not then I think it would be better to look for a class designed for mixed gender or a class just for boys.
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#23 of 88 Old 01-23-2006, 02:05 PM
 
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When I was taking ballet, we LOVED it when we had a boy in class. We were highschool age though. We also had a man who sometimes performed with the company at our annual "concert" performances.

My "baby" brother came along with me when I was assistant teacher for a "creative movement" (preschool ballet) class. He was 3-4 and he loved it. He got to run around and move, and have a blast. When it was "recital" time and all the little girls got their pink tutus (They only wore leotards in class, tutus are for performances) my mom made him a special suit with a sparkly vest.

He's not into ballet anymore, but I think it was great that he took those classes.

The same school also had a little boy in the tap class, and for recital they did "Aladdin" and the girls were genies, and the boy was Aladdin. It was unbelievably cute!

The studio owner liked me a lot, and she used to let me borrow any of her books I wanted. Some of my favorites were biographies of George Balanchine, and OH shoot the name just slipped my mind. Placenta brain! Eddie Something... he was the guy who George Balanchine created "The Prodigal Son" role for.

My first little "crush" when I was maybe 7 yo was on Mikhail Baryshnikov when I saw him on PBS in The Nutcracker.

Ballet just would NOT be any fun without the amazing and talented guys who work hard and dance their hearts out.

Kathryn
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#24 of 88 Old 01-23-2006, 02:12 PM
 
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My male chauvinist husband said he did not want our boys taking ballet....I was sooo upset. Anyway, they will have to learn from tapes or just on tv because in our culture (African American) it just ain't cool for dudes to do ballet....sickening....

I would definately expose the boys to Europeans who do ballet and avoid American influence. Russians and the French are real good about including males in ballet....after all we do need males in ballet to lift the women right?

We have a real problem with sexual identity still in this country..... :
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#25 of 88 Old 01-23-2006, 02:16 PM
 
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get some angelina balleria videos. Oneof the main characters is a boy and then they cut to a live class which includes a boy.

Our dress code was leotard, skrt and tights (although my dd was excused from tights because of sensory issues. She could get through a preformance but not a class.)
perhaps find somewhere witha decided dress code. Oneo f the better school here (ok its the best but not the most hoity toity by any means, I think it is at the bottom of the fee scale also, bonus) has a basic leotard that everyone must wear (I believe boys and girls) and is color coded by class. They wear black tights with it. girls wear pink slippers, boys wear black. end of discussion. no tutus, no skirts, hair is up without adornments. it is a dance class, not a preschool girl fufu parade (which while fun for the girls and perfectly fine if that is what you want but certainly not very inclusive of boys).

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#26 of 88 Old 01-23-2006, 02:26 PM
 
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Dd's ballet school has a dress code, which I really like as it cuts down on the tutu contests. I highly recommend it.

That said, I think next year we will try to find her a class that is less girl-y. We have a great storybook called Rosie's First Ballet Class (or Slippers?) that has girls and boys in a ballet class, and I keep emphasizing to her that boys can do ballet too, but she just doesn't see any at her school. It's such a feminized environment, so much so that because her dad brings her she can't use the changeroom because there's only one for girls, and they get a stinky men's room instead - although I've suggested to him he just change her in the hall instead, and if they don't like it they can be a bit more welcoming to dads and boys. I think that if schools are really going to be open to more than girls and yummy mummies, there needs to be a natural expectation that they'll be there - something already in place about what they'll wear, a place to change, pictures on the walls of both sexes dancing, etc.
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#27 of 88 Old 01-23-2006, 02:31 PM
 
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Peepsqueak... one of the coolest classes we had was when this guy showed up who had a performance coming up, and he needed extra classes to get back in shape after he'd been away for a while. The guy was actually a professional dancer with the Atlanta Ballet, and guess what, he was African-American. He was strong, handsome, and he could jump amazingly high. That was one of the most memorable classes!

(The other one was when we had a "master class" with a girl who had just moved here from Russia, and barely spoke any english. She was such a big deal in Russia that they made a MOVIE about her life that she starred in over there... wow!)

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#28 of 88 Old 01-23-2006, 02:47 PM
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Mikhail Baryshnikov *swoon*

Quote:
My male chauvinist husband said he did not want our boys taking ballet....I was sooo upset.
This is just so wrong. My "manly" dh took ballet and said it was great -- Never before did he have such great odds in a room full of beautiful women!
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#29 of 88 Old 01-23-2006, 03:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RiverSky

Watch some ballets on TV and show your son that indeed, there are men in every single one of them, there have to be men in every one.
I agree.

I remember when I took ballet as a 6 yo, there was one lone boy in the class, and at that age I thought it was strange. I remember, though, that the teacher spent time with just him sometimes, showing him how to do things , and I realized he was special. Then when I saw adults performing ballet, I saw the value in having that boy in our class (years later...).

I like your idea of an outfit that DS can wear, if that would make him feel more comfortable. I think anything that makes him feel more included: showing the class video of men and women in ballet; having him meet another boy in a class; etc would have value.

I also agree that there is some value in encouraging him to stay in the class rather than bow to peer pressure if he really loves it. This is a lesson we all face throughout our lives--how to do what we love even if people are telling us we shouldn't for some reason.

Good luck!

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#30 of 88 Old 01-23-2006, 03:34 PM
 
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Rent White Nights and show him the dance scenes. I love Baryshnikov.
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