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Words i thought I'd never hear....


Pups_mum
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Out of the blue last night my youngest son (10) suddenly announced "I think I might start ballet lessons after the summer if that's ok". To be honest I am not sure he really wants to dance, but he is impressed by his big sister's balance and super core stability and thinks it might benefit him similarly. Which is not a bad idea really but I have this fear.....suppose he turns out to be good at it (he has naturally almost flatturn out for starters). I've actually been looking forward to losing my dance mum persona to a degree when DD leaves home, and I'm really not sure I can face starting again! Suggestions for alternative core enhancing activities for a 10 year old boy gratefully received - I do a core class myself but it's full of chubby middle aged women like me so I don't think he'd like that!

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Karate or taekwando style martial arts can help to develop the same sort of flexibility and strength, or gymnastics, which it sounds like he may be good at either but if he wants to start ballet due to the dancing side of it not just the core strength I think you unfortunately might have to let him!! You could also look into other styles of dance for him? I know the boys exercises in the modern and jazz syllabus tend to focus of strength of movement and use lots of floor movements, press ups and this would develop his strength too.

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Hmmm, trampolining is a thought. I should add that he is really looking for a winter activity to improve his fitness when the cycling opportunities are reduced, rather than a full on new hobby. I maybe should just let him try ballet - it's local and at least I know something about it, but I just have this slight sinking feeling....

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I know I am not a parent or adult, but please take my advice into consideration...

 

First of all, if you haven't already, you need to ask your son why he wants to do ballet. You may be surprised at his answer; sometimes children have more insight than we realise. Obviously if he doesn't really want to dance there may not be much point in him being in ballet, but if he does want to dance, it is only fair that you give him the chance as children should explore their interests and he may regret it later otherwise. Even if he doesn't want to do ballet but wants to do other dance, he may have to start with ballet as ballet is the foundation of most dance - and because good dance studios will not allow him to do things like jazz without a foundation of ballet and without doing ballet. Unless he wants to do a dance form which doesn't require ballet, such as tap or perhaps folk or Chinese dance (I'm not sure if folk or Chinese dance requires ballet?)

 

You may not want him to do ballet because you are scared he is naturally talented - I understand your fears, but to me that is like not allowing him to put his possible talent into use. And no one really is naturally talented; we only have the requirements for certain training - because in anything, no matter what gifts a person has, one needs to practise for many hours and have the discipline to 'build' their talent and put it into use. Of course, there is a lot more than flat turnout when it comes to talent. Then again, there is a genetic component to a ballet body and apparently he has a sister with a ballet body? The only way to find out is to have him evaluated by a person knowledgeable in ballet and/or have him start ballet lessons - I am not suggesting you should have him start ballet lessons just to find out. But if he does turn out to be naturally talented, you should support him whichever way he wants to go. So if he wants to achieve a high level while still dancing recreationally then if possible support him, and if he wants to do ballet vocationally support him this way too - there is always a way for talented aspiring ballet dancers. You do have to take into account needs of other siblings if applicable and other things, but I feel strongly a child with a passion should be supported in that, and supported to take it seriously if they are able to pursue that passion seriously. On the other hand, if they are talented but just want to do it for fun, that is fine too.

 

Of course, you always need to emphasise family (though family time may be a sacrifice for serious training - but you could still treasure spending time together and spending time with a sick family member, et cetera), health and academics (requiring grades that the child is capable of if they put in maximum (but not ridiculous, e.g. overnight) effort - for example some should be required to get a high A*, others will struggle to get a D) and have a plan B. But this does not mean rob the child of their dreams, especially if they are very able - how would you feel if you were a very able pianist and that was all you wanted to become, but your parents forced you to do something else and that is what you ended up doing? You will have succeeded, but not doing what you want to do. If your son spends time in a vocational school but does not become a dancer, he will still have learnt many life lessons.

 

In any case, if your son wants to do ballet, ballet has many benefits (as you know) whether or not a child does it vocationally.

 

If your son truly does not want to do ballet then look into other activities that also are beneficial and which achieves what he wants. Also, some activities are beneficial to ballet (although some are counter-productive). If you take him into gymnastics, be sure that is what he wants and recognise it is counter-productive in ballet and explain that to him, in case at a later date he wants to do ballet. I think (but am not sure) that taekwando may be beneficial to ballet.

 

Thanks for reading this post and I hope you take my advice into consideration.

Edited by DancingtoDance
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Hmmm, trampolining is a thought. I should add that he is really looking for a winter activity to improve his fitness when the cycling opportunities are reduced, rather than a full on new hobby. I maybe should just let him try ballet - it's local and at least I know something about it, but I just have this slight sinking feeling....

 

 

Please read my above post; I think you should let him. There is no reason for him not to do ballet - this 'slight sinking feeling' is due to him possibly being naturally talented, did I guess right? (If not I am sorry.) If so you are almost denying him the chance to use his possible talent to learn ballet properly; if he is not naturally talented you are still denying him this chance. Ballet is such a wonderful art form and you learn so much from recreational as well as vocational ballet training. If he turns out to meet the requirements for vocational ballet training AND he wants to do it, there is always a way for talented aspiring dancers and you should let him while still emphasising other things, such as family (although family time will have to be sacrificed to an extent, unless he attends as a day student) and academics (requiring your son to get grades that he is capable of if he puts in maximum (but not ridiculous, e.g. overnight) effort) and having a plan B. If your son goes to vocational school and doesn't become a dancer he would still have learnt so much about life. If he doesn't go to vocational school that is fine; any good ballet training is beneficial and you learn a lot about life in recreational ballet training as well.

 

Yes dance careers are short and unstable as well as very difficult, and vocational ballet training is very difficult as well, but both are worth it for those who HAVE to dance and recreational is also fine.

 

I just don't think there is any reason for him not to do ballet; there may be difficulties but these can be surpassed or managed.

Edited by DancingtoDance
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Sorry, but why on earth are you against him trying ballet? Just because you want to lose your ballet mum persona? Why not allow your son to experience all the stuff he sees your daughter doing?

 

And experiment with not being a ballet mum. It's quite possible, and there's even a club on here of "undance mums"

 

I can't fathom why anyone would stop a child doing something they've shown an interest in, and which an older sibling is doing.

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I'd let him have a go and see how he gets on. He might have been thinking about trying ballet for some time, and wondering whether he might be good at it.

 

It's a lot easier for parents of dancing boys to be 'undance mums' anyway - there's a lot less hassle and involvement with hair and sewing ribbons on shoes for a start! ;)

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Absolutely. Gosh, pupsmum, you've done the hardest part by being mum to a dancing teenage girl! :-)

 

I'm not sure it's fair to not even let your DS try ballet - letting him do one or two trial classes doesn't mean committing to stepping onto the merry-go-round of auditions etc. It is literally just letting him try. He might hate it and you'll have worried for no reason.

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I have to agree that if it`s something he wants to try I don`t think it would be fair to not let him,simply because you have already been through it once already. He hasn`t and the fact his older sister has isn`t his fault.

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Trying it out for a few classes or a term is not the same as a full on commitment to it! He may love it or hate it!!

 

A few years back in the film First Position which followed some young dancers through the YAGP competitions there was the story of a talented dancer called Miko Fogerty ( who may be still with BRB but not sure) and her brother. I think mum wanted them both to shine in dance but the boy ....who was a real sweetie and had a great sense of humour.... obviously did not have the talent and commitment that his sister had to keep going and making continual improvements etc ....eventually he gave up when he was about 12 I think much to mums chagrin at the time!!

I since heard he's doing really well in another field nothing to do with Dance so good for him but the point is .....who knows what will happen. He may enjoy it but not love it enough to,want a career etc ....he may think what on earth did I ever think I wanted to do ballet for!!

Just keep,a bit on the quiet side about it and see if he brings up ballet classes again and if he does well.......could be a 5min wonder or the next Muntagirov who knows!!

Edited by LinMM
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And take it from me - as a Taekwondo practitioner myself - if he does something like Taekwondo (or any martial art) - or trampolining, or whatever - you will just end up being a Taekwondo mum, or a trampolining mum instead! Competitions, gradings, sewing on badges etc.... At the end of the day, there's very little difference!

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Take him to a class this week! I am pretty sure any classes will love to have more boys. If you're worried about what others might say (it sounds to me like you aren't really sure about him doing ballet) see if there's a class in a nearby town that accepts boys.

 

I think I would say try to find a class/school that knows how to treat boys.

 

Don't bother about the other things to prepare for ballet, the ballet will prepare for other things.

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And take it from me - as a Taekwondo practitioner myself - if he does something like Taekwondo (or any martial art) - or trampolining, or whatever - you will just end up being a Taekwondo mum, or a trampolining mum instead! Competitions, gradings, sewing on badges etc.... At the end of the day, there's very little difference!

Yep! And although being a trampolining mum doesn't involve sewing on ribbons it does mean you always have to have unbranded white ankle socks in your bag at all times...

 

I'm a cycling mum too pups_mum (middle son) which I think you said your DS is, so by all means PM me re how to survive the winter as a cyclist if it turns out ballet isn't the ultimate solution. Difficult to take on ballet again as a family knowing how all consuming it can be, if your child already has an all consuming hobby. Nice problem to have though, to have a child eager to learn more and explore new things.

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I think Pups_mum's comment is more a lighthearted groan than a serious moan about her son taking ballet!

 

 

oops, sorry! My sense of humour fail  :P  I hope he gets to do something he really loves, be that cycling or ballet. Or both!

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I wouldn't worry too much- my younger son did ballet more or less because older son had already blazed the trail, but despite having an almost identical physique and facility he gave up after a few years. He just has such a completely different temperament and simply didn't enjoy it enough to keep going. I am relieved in some ways as I think his temperament wouldn't have suited him to the highs and lows of serious training (he just isn't as emotionally steady as DS1) but I'm still glad he had a chance to try it out. So even being inherently as talented isn't enough to put someone on the same path if they aren't sufficiently interested themselves (and especially if you aren't being a pushy parent, rather, a reluctant one!).

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Pups_mum apart from anything else I think it's sweet that he's seen his sister do something and it's inspired him to give it a go. How lovely for both of them :)

 

And at age 10 he is probably quite aware of how other non-dancing boys and their parents can talk about ballet (I know it's wrong but people do belittle a bit when they shouldn't) and he has put that to one side to give it a go anyway. 

 

So what if he's good? I'd just take it one step at a time. Even if he decides it's not for him, he will be able to look back and say that he gave it a try. Much better than sitting around the park with a bunch of lads smoking and setting fire to bins or whatever they do for kicks these days (oops, sorry, bit of personal experience there!). 

 

My dd's eldest son did show an interest in ballet but only at home and in secret! he would never have been brave enough to go to a class and be the only boy at age 10/11 but he did some core strength things and dd got him doing grand jetes in the garden and whatever the jumps upwards thingies are when you cross your feet over and back again... he said that the strengths and jumps helped him with his goalkeeping technique at football. 

 

I hope you ds has loads of ballet success :)

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My humour has offended the sensibilities of the moderators. I wrote in a rather straightforward (sarcastic) manner that the boy has expressed an interest in an activity, barring cost and other relevant constraints, why would you not encourage him? It seems more of a personally motivated decision to dampen his interest.

 

He is 10, still a young boy, let him find his way.

 

From a rather straight talking, non-gushing father of a dancing son.

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Trying it out for a few classes or a term is not the same as a full on commitment to it! He may love it or hate it!!

 

A few years back in the film First Position which followed some young dancers through the YAGP competitions there was the story of a talented dancer called Miko Fogerty ( who may be still with BRB but not sure) and her brother. I think mum wanted them both to shine in dance but the boy ....who was a real sweetie and had a great sense of humour.... obviously did not have the talent and commitment that his sister had to keep going and making continual improvements etc ....eventually he gave up when he was about 12 I think much to mums chagrin at the time!!

I since heard he's doing really well in another field nothing to do with Dance so good for him but the point is .....who knows what will happen. He may enjoy it but not love it enough to,want a career etc ....he may think what on earth did I ever think I wanted to do ballet for!!

Just keep,a bit on the quiet side about it and see if he brings up ballet classes again and if he does well.......could be a 5min wonder or the next Muntagirov who knows!!

Just saw this article LinMM and thought you'd like it. :)

http://dancemagazine.com/views/first-position-now/

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My humour has offended the sensibilities of the moderators. I wrote in a rather straightforward (sarcastic) manner that the boy has expressed an interest in an activity, barring cost and other relevant constraints, why would you not encourage him? It seems more of a personally motivated decision to dampen his interest.

He is 10, still a young boy, let him find his way.

From a rather straight talking, non-gushing father of a dancing son.

We are not that easily offended. :-)

 

However, your "humour" was not clear so unfortunately your post came across as rather rude. There is a middle ground of civility between "gushing" and posts that breach AUP. Smileys/emoticons can be helpful.

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Let him try it! My DS started due to watching my daughter. 6 months later she gave up due to a broken ankle, he carried on. Now at Tring and getting a wonderful education as well as following his passion.

If he hates it next month nothing lost, but then he might be the Carlos Acosta.............

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Ellie thank you for that link makes interesting reading as most who were so young at the time have gone on to,be very successful.

 

I loved seeing Zamora in particular dance with ENB .....achieving his dream ....as you felt he missed his family terribly in the film.

 

I knew Miko was with BRB but not sure how long her contract was for so glad she is still with them......ambition achieved too!!

 

Also was aware of the wonderful success of Michaela de Prince at the Dutch National

 

Well almost 100 percent success rate for these kids.

I loved Mikos brother he was the real comedian of the family and had a wonderful wry insight into it all!! But a ballet career isn't for all and he knew it by aged 11 or 12..... One forgets just how young all this lot were when going in for those YAGP competitions.

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Let him try it! My DS started due to watching my daughter. 6 months later she gave up due to a broken ankle, he carried on. Now at Tring and getting a wonderful education as well as following his passion.

If he hates it next month nothing lost, but then he might be the Carlos Acosta.............

 

Or more likely(?) the next Ed Watson - your second sentence seems to describe his situation, pretty much, I think.

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