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Ballet classes

(198 Posts)
Awholelotofhot Mon 15-May-17 13:43:49

I took my two year old to a ballet class today as she loves a dance. I was surprised to find the class was all girls and one of them also had a tutu on! Also it was all very 'graceful' (as I guess ballet is!) however it made me wonder if going to a class like this would start to ingrain in her that ballet is for girls and girls are graceful and pretty etc. Am i over thinking this?

Datun Mon 15-May-17 13:48:43

I know what you're saying, but we really can't get into depriving girls of an interest, on the basis that it's traditionally been only for girls.

Otherwise, we will end up going the other way and saying only boys can do ballet!

Either way it just reinforces that any particular interest is for a particular sex.

If you're worried, her show her films of famous male ballet dancers. The strength and athleticism is awesome. And both men and women require it.

Ballet is traditionally for both girls and boys. But even if it wasn't, it shouldn't matter.

Mominatrix Mon 15-May-17 13:53:08

Yes you are overthinking this one.

Soubriquet Mon 15-May-17 13:54:54

Dd does ballet. She's been doing it since she was 2 and she's now 4.

She loves it

There is a boy in her class though and when they do their shows there loads of older boys all dancing too so it's good for her to see it's not just for girls

MariposaNieve Mon 15-May-17 13:59:39

I 2nd what everyone else has said.

I don't know why you are surprised a girl was wearing a tutu. Lots of girls like tutus, it's not a bad thing.

Awholelotofhot Mon 15-May-17 14:01:28

Im not particularly worried about this kind of thing generally, I'm just desperate to keep her from the whole girl = princess thing, which is difficult enough when nursery keep reinforcing it.

Surely whatever the 'moral' rights and wrongs are of withholding her from the class (all of which I agree with above) the fact is that if she continues all she'll learn is that ballet is for girls and girls wear tutus, dance gracefully and look pretty!

Ginmummy1 Mon 15-May-17 14:03:03

My DD does ballet and tap. Yes, it's 'graceful'. Yes, they wear pink. No tutus - the skirts hang down so they can be 'held' for certain movements.

There are boys in some of the classes. They wear white tops, black shorts and black ballet slippers. It's a shame there are no boys in your DD's class at present - hopefully some will join at some point.

Maybe take her to see a professional ballet production (or a film or even on YouTube etc) so she can see that males do ballet too.

If you ever hear her say something about ballet being for boys etc, just gently point out that boys or girls can, and do, ballet. Don't let it be a 'thing'.

GardeningWithDynamite Mon 15-May-17 14:03:57

Balance it up by signing her up for rugby tots too?

My DD does ballet (and lots of other dancing). She enjoys it.

Soubriquet Mon 15-May-17 14:07:09

This is my Dd's ballet uniform.

Not a tutu but a floaty skirt instead

I'm even thinking of putting my Ds in when he's old enough

Ginmummy1 Mon 15-May-17 14:07:14

Reinforce the fact that ballet is about making your body strong, and about learning how to control your body, and following instructions, and remembering routines, and working in a team, and keeping in time with the music - and having fun!

I don't think DD and her friends really think about being 'pretty' - they get their kit on and play hide and seek and suchlike before their class, and enjoy the dancing in the class. There is no need to think about looking 'pretty' at all.

BeyondStrongAndStable Mon 15-May-17 14:11:24

My two boys (5 and 6) both go to ballet and tap lessons
Eldest does cheerleading too

When I was younger we would never wear a tutu for a lesson, leotards and tights only. It has, along with the rest of the world, become very princessified (that's totally a word).

BeyondStrongAndStable Mon 15-May-17 14:12:51

Boys uniform (the white is a leotard not a top)

silkpyjamasallday Mon 15-May-17 14:12:56

I did ballet from 4-17 and now I am taking it up again at 22, I am not remotely a girly girl, no makeup and only recently started wearing pink. Ballet does attract the sort of mum who wants their daughter to embody the girly girl stereotype, but there will be plenty who aren't into that so I don't think it will have a negative effect on your DD. I absolutely adored it, my body was strong and flexible, my posture was amazing and it requires a lot of dedication and effort to succeed which can only be positive. There were boys at my ballet school too though not in the same quantity as girls, ballet itself isn't inherently feminine that's just the popular view in society, not helped by things like angelina ballerina and the marketing of pink tutus, male dancers are often more feted than the female primas in the professional scene. Most schools will have plain leotards with wrap or flippy skirts as the uniform, tutus are only meant for performances and it will be the mums who have unhealthy ideas about gender who put their girls in them and those girls will be the ones to give up because it isn't just about looking pretty and there is effort involved, you certainly don't look pretty when you're all sweaty from an intense warm up and stretching session!

BeyondStrongAndStable Mon 15-May-17 14:15:55

Yy silky

Datun Mon 15-May-17 14:17:51

It's really hard for parents to break down gender stereotypes. Because they are not seen as neutral you feel like you have to veer off the other way and overcompensate.

But the reality is that being pretty and graceful should be open to anybody, regardless of gender.

But what you have to counter, is that still entrenched belief that it's not the case. And the only way do that in real life is through deliberate and purposeful communication with your child. You can't deprive them of something on the basis that it's a stereotypical role, and then say in the next breath that you don't believe in stereotypical roles.

You just have to doggedly keep up with communicating what do you believe, in the face of being something a pioneer.

So to counter the fact that your daughter won't see for herself that ballet is for both boys and girls, you have to show her that it is.

And, in fact, it is. So she will soon learn this anyway.

ScarlettFreestone Mon 15-May-17 14:22:49

Ballet is about physical exercise, about keeping your body strong, about musical appreciation, about story telling, about exercising your memory, about being disciplined.

Remember the biggest influence on your DD is you.

There's nothing wrong with being graceful, there's nothing wrong with wearing pretty clothes, just make sure she knows that's not all she can be.

Nothing wrong with wanting to be pretty as long as you don't put it ahead of wanting to be kind and wanting to be smart.

My DD has long hair, loves jewellery and dresses. She also challenges sexism wherever she finds it. She's 9yo.

MackerelOfFact Mon 15-May-17 14:33:34

You are overthinking this. I did ballet from 4-18 years old and on and off in my 20s.

Things it gave me:
- Strength
- Discipline
- Ambition
- Confidence
- Flexibility
- Good posture
- Understanding of my body

Things it did not give me:
- A love of pink
- Grace
- Lots of opportunities to wear a tutu (I wore one once for a show, it was navy and uncomfortable)
- In interest in beauty or my appearance
- 'Feminine' dress sense

If you want to raise a strong DD, you can do a whole lot worse than send her to ballet.

Helbelle75 Mon 15-May-17 14:46:42

I've done ballet since the age of 3, I'm now 41. Ballet for me has never been about being pretty and floaty, it's about being strong and completely in control of your body. An awful lot of hard work goes into making it look effortless and not all is done in tutus.
I've never thought of it in terms of a girlie thing to do, it's a fantastic way of keeping fit , expressing yourself and relaxing.

MiddleagedManic Mon 15-May-17 14:53:12

I'm sad my DS won't entertain the idea of ballet as school (playground most likely) has taught him that it is most definitely for girls and not boys, despite him having a book about Nureyev (?) as a reading book years ago.

It's a shame as (as said above) he'd really benefit from the body discipline and would far prefer that as opposed to rugby.

When I went as a kid, there was no pink. Blue or red leotards (and leg warmers of course.....!) only. Anyone who wore pink would have probably have been looked down on by the rest of us as being someone with 'princess issues' and pretensions. Think shoes were black (white for tap maybe?). Never a tutu or skirt in sight.

LauraMipsum Mon 15-May-17 14:57:02

I agree with you OP and although it might just be the one that's near me, my local ballet group was WAY too princessified for me to enrol DD. It's all looking pretty, tutus for practice, and they're expected to wear make up for performances even at three years old. So much nope.

I know a few women who do send their daughters there - never their sons, oddly enough they just happen to have children who conform exactly to gender expectations despite the parents NEVER pushing any sort of gender at them. It just happened. Like gender-y magic.

I did ballet for a year as a child and we wore black leotards and half the class were boys. I'm sure classes like that still exist somewhere and I'd send my child to one if we had one locally.

ATailofTwoKitties Mon 15-May-17 14:57:09

DS did dance for a few years at secondary. I've never seen him look so well muscled before or since.

Dervel Mon 15-May-17 15:07:04

I'm toying with taking 4 year old son to a dance class of some kind. We both prat around dancing to music. Besides I found even the vaguest ability to move about on a dance floor a fantastic method to meet women when I was a young man, and thus zero need to catcall, hit on or otherwise make nuisance of myself.

Dervel Mon 15-May-17 15:10:05

Oh and I should add dancing is just fun! Everyone should have a crack at it!!

ChocChocPorridge Mon 15-May-17 15:10:35

When I was little we all wore black leotards. You weren't allowed to wear a skirt until you'd passed some kind of exam (I gave up when I was about 6, so I never got to wear one).

I don't remember if there were any boys. There were boys at country dancing though.

AlexanderHamilton Mon 15-May-17 15:15:13

Tutus affect your port de bras (arms) you hold them differently in a classical tutu than you do in a neoclassical style skirt.

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