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Ballet for 4 (almost 5) yr old ds - he loved it, I felt very self concious

(31 Posts)
verybusyspider Wed 06-Apr-11 10:48:10

He went for a trial lesson yesterday and because of his age was in the 3-4 group (they do it strictly on age not preschool and receiption class) he'll be 5 in May. He was the only boy but loved it (I don't think he noticed) and said he'd like to go again although has asked to try gymnastics tomorrow night - and on Friday we went and watched karate (which apparently isn't as good as ballet) - I've said he can choose 1 to do after easter.

so I sat in a sea of pink and sparkly things with my 2 littler boys whilst he took the class feeling very self concious and looking like I was in denile at having had 3 boys - ds1 wanted to try ballet because ds2 (3yrs) does it at nursery (just one of the offered activities and I thought why not as my brother did ballet when he was small and he wanted to join in with his friends).. I'm not sure I could sit there week after week thinking everyone thinks I'm mad... is that awful? I'm wondering if gymnastics would be better - obviously he is at an age where I can sway him to choose the 'right' thing....

anyone else have a ds that does dance? how do you deal with the social thing that its unusual that boys do ballet? and not look like you've forced them to do it?

I've reread that and it sounds awful - all about me and not him at all - but I hope you get where I'm coming from, I'm looking for honest opinions from other people who take their lo's to ballet... what would you think?

elphabadefiesgravity Wed 06-Apr-11 10:52:34

Boys are so in demand at ballet and it builds up strength etc and is also a very good basis for other dance styles he might want to go into as he is older.

Perhaps the key is to find a slightly less pink and sparklyclass.

At dd's dance school the girls of that age wear lilac leotards and skirts (used to be white but the RAD changed their uniform) and the boys wear white t shirt and navy leggings.

IShallWearMidnight Wed 06-Apr-11 10:53:27

we have had a few boys at ballet, and nobody thinks anything of it, other than "isn't it nice to see boys doing ballet". A friends DS did (and still does at 18) various different dance classes and found it a great source of girlfriends wink.

EldonAve Wed 06-Apr-11 10:55:43

My DD has boys in her class
I missed the boat with DS1 but DS2 will be going!

colditz Wed 06-Apr-11 10:57:43

Watch Billy Elliot

verybusyspider Wed 06-Apr-11 11:03:42

I have watched Billy elliot and have no objection about him dancing otherwise ds2 woiuldn't have started and I wouldn't have taken ds1 to a trial, I guess I wasn't prepared for how 'girly' it would be...
elpha you're right maybe find a less pink class (all the girls took dolls in with them - I'm not sure why) or one with at least some boys in - boys ballet and girls ballet is a very different discipline it would be good to find someone used to teaching boys....

GoldenGreen Wed 06-Apr-11 11:04:14

I very much doubt anyone is looking at you or thinking anything about you. And i speak as someone who is paranoid about being judged. At his age it's obvious he picked the activity himself. You can relax smile

munstersmum Wed 06-Apr-11 11:07:30

Let him go if he enjoys it. After school they need something they find fun. I know 2 KS2 boys who now do a range of dance classes. The idea you can sway him to right thing made me smile. You may find you end up paying & him moaning (altho swimming is a must!)

verybusyspider Wed 06-Apr-11 11:16:08

I'm liking the straight talking grin there is a ballet class nearer to us I think if he still wants to do it we will try there as well and choose between the 2

ragged Wed 06-Apr-11 11:31:33

Oh fantastic,if he can stick it out until teen years he will be surrounded by admiring girls -- will have the pick of the lot. Get Billy Elliott movie out to inspire you now & for him when he's older? One of DH's schoolmates (from a stereotypical chav boy-racer town, they are now both mid-30s age) is a professional choreographer, married to another dancer, 1 or 2 kids.

elphabadefiesgravity Wed 06-Apr-11 19:22:27

Depending on which syllabus they do thee is an excercise called rocking the baby which is meant to help prepare the arms for a certain position. You can use a doll or a teddy bear.

angelpantser Wed 06-Apr-11 19:31:39

Both my DDs have had dance lessons since they were small. DD1 has a boy in her grades who is nearly 18. He doesn't study ballet but is an outstanding "tapper" and also studies stage (modern) where he executes amazing leaps and lifts. I echo the sentiment about building confidence - this boy has never had any shyness around girls - I don't think he has ever dated any of his dance class but he is so confident talking to girls (and young women) and at their recent show he was a true star. There is now a small boy at the dance school and I sincerely hope he sticks with it as he enjoys it so much.

DeWe Wed 06-Apr-11 19:38:36

Ds (age 3) does ballet mostly because his big sisters do it. He started as the only boy in the whole school, but there should be 4 in his class next term.
He isn't bothered by being the only boy, although when he started he suffered from "skirt jealousy". Why couldn't he have a skirt to hold when he skipped?

I've only had positive comments from other parents. No one's made any negative comments in the 5 terms he's done.

CMOTdibbler Wed 06-Apr-11 19:59:34

My DS(4) does ballet - I think he is the only boy, but its at school so I don't know. FWIW, my nephew dances (ballet, tap and modern) and he is 16, 6'4 and very popular with the girls

MollieO Wed 06-Apr-11 20:04:37

Nice to find a class that welcomes boys. Ds tried a class when he was 4 and was the only boy. Teacher said he was not suitable and thought it was unusual he had wanted to do it - we just turned up for a trial but I don't think she was expecting a boy. He did Stagecoach instead and loves the dancing. Unfortunately his brief experience of a ballet class completely put him off ever trying again.

mistlethrush Wed 06-Apr-11 20:39:39

Ds - 6 (today!!!) does Yoga. He's very much in the minority there - and people have said - Oh do boys do it??? But he loves doing it and is doing really well. He's not doing ballet because, frankly, he's about as graceful as a herd of elephants, and nothing, not even a dedicated ballet teacher, would be able to do anything about that. He would be doing flex dance if it didn't clash with football though.

UniS Wed 06-Apr-11 20:52:13

I have a just turned 5 boy who has been going to ballet class for 2 years now. He is about to move up a class to the 5-7s. I guess our village must be unusual, there have been up to 5 boys in the youngest class while DS has been attending ( currently 3 and a brother who sometimes joins in) .

Go for it. If he likes it why not. boys don't have to wear the pink stuff. mine wears cycle shorts or running trews and a T shirt. and black ballet shoes are soooo cool.

I figure that even if boy stops ballet class when he is six and opts for Beavers instead he will have had a good grounding in moving to music, body control, strengthening and suppleness exercises and expressing him self physically .

The next class up ( 5-7s) is more trad ballet and a bit more discipline required, but he enjoyed a couple of try out sessions in that class and its clearly the right move for him to continue challenging what he can do and learning more control.

thumbwitch Wed 06-Apr-11 23:43:54

My DS is 3.4 and started tap and jazz this February. He absolutely loves it! His first class was a trial - tap first, then jazz - and the ballet class was straight after but it is only for 4yos and up so he couldn't join in. He had an utter meltdown and I had to carry him out kicking and screaming because he so wanted to do it!

He is the only boy in the class at the moment - another little boy joined for a while, and a 3rd little boy, brother to one of the girls in the class, did join in for one lesson but you could see his mother was recoiling at the idea of him doing it (am in Australia so attitudes are even more "interesting") so unsurprisingly he didn't do it again. I think the other mother may have given up because it's hard to get secondhand little boys' tap shoes - new ones are expensive for such little feet but necessary to get the full experience!

The class recently did their first show (after only 7w!!) at the Newcastle Show - and DS stole it because of being the only boy in the line up.

When he's 4, I'll be putting him into the ballet class as well - he can then decide which, if any, he wants to do most. Currently doing the tap and jazz consecutively (and we get a discount for doing both classes together) works very well - not sure if the extra half hour will be too much for him, but it shouldn't be, he'll be bigger by then!

Some of the girls in the class were most unwelcoming to him being a little boy initially but they have mostly got over it by now - there's one little madam who still pushes him out of line and is generally obnoxious to him but it's just her now.

He also does Little Kickers football one day a week - both activities are good for discipline, listening to instruction, team work, balance and co-ordination. And he loves all of them!

PrettyCandles Thu 07-Apr-11 00:01:26

Ds1 did ballet until the end of infant school. He would have continued, but the classes for age 7+ were too late in the evening - dd and ds2 would not have coped. His other after-school activities were an interpretive dance activity and a football club or tennis club.

Ds1 loved his ballet. He feels music and is often moved to dance. It's a great shame we have not been able to pick it up again.

He was in the same class as dd, 2y younger than him, purely because neither had done ballet before. At first there was another boy, but the family moved away from the area. The boys wore dark shorts, white t-shirts, white socks, and black ballet slippers, and looked entirely boyish in the cloud of pink.

MrsShrekTheThird Thu 07-Apr-11 00:07:44

I teach dance in a few different contexts.
lots of my younger class members are boys. They tend to fade off when saturday morning becomes 'footie match time' as opposed to dance class (unfortunate time clash here) Can you have a chat with the teacher and say he might be better in a class with other 5 year olds as opposed to getting settled in one group for a couple of weeks and then moving (am bewildered, I go with what people actually need)
if you feel too self conscious, can you either drop him, stay five mins and then go off for a walk with the other two, or palm the others off whilst you go with number one to watch?

Tee2072 Thu 07-Apr-11 06:55:02

Please please please do not let your on insecurities stop him from learning ballet. Ballet gives strength, flexibility and coordination. Also teaches confidences.

We need more young boys in ballet. Fact.

verybusyspider Thu 07-Apr-11 08:00:02

its lovely to hear others are doing ballet but a shame I didn't see any at all at the class on Tuesday (not even in the older groups) ds1 has the same size feet as ds2 so he borrowed his ballet pumps and wore his PE kit (white shorts and t-shirt) he did look very boyish smile only complaint yesterday was he had to have 'fairy arms' and he said he'd prefer to be a bird - I think I will try the other lessons first before I sign him up

I think I could leave him and go for walk with boys (then my insecuries don't matter) good suggestion - I guess I'd thought I needed to be there as he is only 4

confidence Thu 07-Apr-11 23:25:23

Spider you're crazy - you need to count your blessings.

If by chance he ends up a professional dancer then he'll be inundated with work due to the shortage of men in the profession.

If by even greater miracle he ends up a STRAIGHT professional dancer then he'll also be indundated with offers.

BoattoBolivia Thu 07-Apr-11 23:31:21

Where are you? This is where my dd goes kids dance. they are amazing teachers, the kids have a chance to be really creative, there are loads of boys, no pink, no uniform, no exams, and occasionally male teachers! I love them!!

verybusyspider Thu 05-May-11 11:46:36

to follow up I found a class closer to home, the uniform for the girls is blue - not sure why but it had less of a fluffy pink feel about the whole lesson, not a cuddly toy or doll in sight, and ds loved it more than the other class, he's still the only boy there - where are the other boys?? is it really unusual for boys to dance?? I'd always thought because my brother did ballet when he was little (we both did) it was just one of those extra curicular activities you did as a child, kind of right of passage - ds2 (3) is now desperate to do the same class as ds1 and I'm really pleased I didn't let my worries get in the way! even if he only does it for a term it'll be fab for his discipline, listening and self awareness - thanks for all your encouraging comments (oh and I watched Glee last night recorded from Monday - he'll totally be indemand with the girls if he can dance smile)

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