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Height question for male classical dancers


meadowblythe
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Related to a previous post - can any body provide information, annecdotal or otherwise, about the build of males and a classical career?

 

My son, current year 10, is, to put it bluntly, small. He's 5'4" and a very slim build. The good news is that he has fantastic turnout and feet, and is very flexible - can still drop into flat splits. The bad news is he's small! And a bit bendy - not so good for core strength.

 

His current school are adamant that he can have a career in classical ballet, his old school assessed him out!

 

His considered list of sixth form places to audition for looks to me, frankly aspirational -he is determined to go the classical route. Would I do better insisting on a wider range of audition options given my finances won't run to an infinite number.

Meadowblythe

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I can't answer technical questions but nearly all my favourite classical male dancers have been on the shorter side of tall. From watching a number of companies the only thing I would say is that perceived lack of inches could limit roles allocated, particularly when the girls can be on the taller side.

 

There is (IMHO) a fabulous newer dancer at BRB and he is getting good roles.

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As with female dancers, I think that different artistic directors have different preferences for height of their male dancers. I don't think vocational schools would rule someone out simply on height. Also he might grow more - boys often stop growing later than girls.

 

Boys also develop a lot in terms of build between 16 and 19 especially if they are doing weight training, and I know this was part of the timetable for the boys at Northern Ballet School.

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Ok from our experience. Firstly different companies and different countries have very different idea of what they want. The German companies seem to have taller girls and thus need the tall lads. Martin noticed whilst auditioning that places such as Portugal the dancers seemed smaller.

 

However most companies have a minimum height for audition. For Munich (where Martin is) it was about 5ft 10/11 for boys. I think other companies were around 5ft 8".

 

Girls are taller in companies than they were. I know some of the little girls did struggle to get contracts irrespective of their talent.

 

Re physique. My son was and is very slim and this did impact. There were concerns as to his strength. However now, aged 22, though slim he is muscular and does not look out of place. He took time to develop and did grow a couple of inches between year 10 and 13.

 

Sorry this probably doesn't help much. Finally though I think, in Martin's year, one of the smallest lads was the first to get a contract.

 

Good luck.

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Meadowblythe, do you think that your son has definitely stopped growing? Is he old or young in the year? Boys can go on growing much later than girls and some go on growing into their late teens. Apparently, bone scans can give an indication of how tall a child is likely to grow but I don't know how accurate they are. How tall are you and your son's father? If at least one of you is above average height then I would have thought that your son is likely to grow a bit taller (I appreciate that this is not scientific). Few young men are as short as 5 foot 4 these days and if your son is only 15 or just 16 there is a chance that he will grow a bit more. I would also check that your son is not nutritionally deficit in any way (eg anaemic) as this could affect growth (I know what teenage boys are like; I have a very small 13 year old boy of my own who I worry about).

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Like Aileen I was about to suggest looking at his fathers height and also that of uncles and grandparents. His gene pool is very mixed but that would give u an indicator of possible growth.

 

I would suggest that he still has a lot of physical growth to do in years 15 - 19. A wider range of auditions would be a safe decision though - wld he be looking more towards musical theatre or contemporary if classical wasn't an option?

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Mmm, I was just thinking about my nephew who absolutely shot up in his late teens and is now about 6'2! His Dad is about 5'10 and Mum is 5'8. Boys definitely seem to have their growth spurt later. :-)

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There is a scientific formula for calculating a child's adult height based on what the mother's and father's height are. In a previous life I worked in a child development centre and the paediatricians did this regularly if there were concerns regarding a child's growth. I cannot remember how it is worked out but your GP should certainly know if you're concerned. I also read somewhere that a child is half their adult height at 2 years of age so if you measured your son's height every year on his b/day (I used to do with my daughter :) ), you may be able to work it out yourself (providing I didn't completely dream that last fact :lol: ).

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Just went and found a parenting site on line where you can 'workout the adult height of your child'.

I put in the heights of myself and husband and DS comes out at 5' 11'' - which is what he is now at 17 and older non-DD comes out at 5'6'' but is actually 5'8''.

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I believe sons will always be taller than their mothers unless there is an underlying health issue. But my husband is only 5ft 8/9 and my boys are 6ft and 6ft1. My daughter however is 5ft 2". One of my brothers is 6ft 3". Both my grandparents were about 5ft 9" so tall for Grandma not so Grandad. So worth looking at whole family. My non dancing son was a very keen footballer and played in goal. A scout came and was interested but took one look at my husband and said my son would never be tall. He is now 6ft. Oh I'm 5ft 5" and was the shrimp of my family!

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I've never been very convinced by those height calculation formulae; there are too many variables. In my personal experience, young men who are tall often have tall mothers or relatives who are tall on the mother's side. I certainly think that Meadowblythe's son is likely to grow a bit more. The problem with the ballet companies nowadays is that they seem to have relaxed their maximum height requirements for women (in the past I'm sure that a woman could not be taller than 5 foot 4) but the men are not getting taller.

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No I don't think that they are accurate either. :)

I'm not very tall, or as the family joke, I'm vertically challenged and I don't have any tall relatives on my mothers side and I think that DS's height has come from his dad. ;)

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Aileen

 

There is a test you can have done where they x ray your thigh bone, and match the bone "age" with your actual age - apparently its very accurate. It showed his bone and actual age were the same ie no point giving him supplements or hormones. What it didn't show was any predicted height - I remember the "double your age at two" and will have to dig out the baby books!

 

My husband is quite tall, as is DS' non-dancing elder brother (who has an excellent ballet physique but hid in the toilets the only time he was taken to ballet and refused to come out!) but my father is only 5 foot 6.

 

To complicate things further, he is an August birthday. I think in an ideal world for many reasons I'd like him to audition a year later, but I'm not sure what he'd do for the "gap" year - and I think this is probably a separate thread!

 

Thanks for all the ideas - they are much appreciated

 

Meadowblythe

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White lodge many years ago used to x ray hands to see how much growth there was still to go something about gaps between bones.

 

My DS is about 6 foot, his dad is 5 9, I'm 5 4 and his brother and sister are 5 10 and 5 3.

 

DS also says due to his height he will probably never get to do his favorite solo professionally as he is to tall.

 

When he was at W/L he was one of the tallest but at Elmhurst he is one of the shortest.

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Meadowblythe

 

So your son is not yet 15. He's still very young. Without wishing to give you false hope, his age and the fact that his father and brother are fairly tall do make it likely that he will grow a bit more. My situation is strangely similar to yours: my son is August born; my husband is fairly tall (I am 5 foot 4) and my father was only about 5 foot 6 or 7). My mother fretted endlessly about my brother's height when we were growing up (he was very small when he started secondary school) but he grew to a "respectable" height in the end (5 foot 9 or 10). My mother was above average height, however.

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My dd had her bone age determined when she was 10 because i was worried about lack of growth. Her doctor said that her bone age was 2 years younger than her actual age and therefore will end up 5 foot 6!! To look at her now you definitely wouldn't believe it. I'm still waiting for the growth spurt.

 

My sister had her bone age worked out when she went to White Lodge (as KathyG said, this was done as a matter of course, I think, at this time). They determined that she would be 5 foot 7 which was right on the cusp of being too tall at that time. How times have changed! Anyway - guess what height she is? 5 foot 7.

 

If you can show your doctor that you have legitimate reasons for worrying about lack of growth, you might be able to convince him/her to have a wrist x-ray done?

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The August birthday thing is interesting. Matthew Syed's superb book 'Bounce' talks about how (generally) autumn born chidren do better in sport purely because school age groups have September/October born children in the same year group.

 

The older children are therefore generally taller and stronger, which means they get picked for sport clubs, which means they get extra training, which means that they are technically better etc etc etc.

 

so your son could well grow more and I would say don't give up auditioning or training. Ivan Vasiliev is also only about 5ft 9 (but I think that may be around the thighs!)

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My son is 13 and 8 months and only 4ft 10.Recently this has been a big talking point in my house.My younger son is also very small for his height.They are always blaming me because im only 5ft 1.Im not to worried at the momment as it seems in my family and my dds family that the boys start to shoot up around 14 .My dd is 5ft 10 and i done the test online and it says both of them will be 5ft 8/9.

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I was under the impression from friend who works as a health visitor that girls have done the majority of their growing by age 14 and that boys usually start their major growth spurts from age 14 up to typically 17/18. This was certainly true for my son and daughter. Also, she said that the way they estimate height at 16 (so before a boy stops growing) is to take the mothers's height + 12.5 cm and the fathers height and that the boys height at 16 should be +/- 8 cm of the midpoint between these two figures. Certainly at 14 my son was about 5'6 and he is now easily 6 ft so I expect your son still has some growing to do.

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Growth must surely be linked to the onset of puberty which varies greatly from child to child. Some girls start their periods at 10 whilst others may not start until they are 13 or 14 (or older). Those that start their periods later must grow later or go on growing for longer. I assume that the same is true for boys. One 14 year old boy may be physically mature whilst another is still immature physically. The latter will probably have more growing to do than the former.

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I know of a boy who was at White Lodge and is an amazing ballet dancer, he has got to the finals in YBDY at least twice and won the Phylis Bedells award. He is about 5 foot 6 and although was advised that he was too short for RBS he is currently on a DaDa with ENBS.

Not sure if this is relevant but just thought that it may give a more positive slant for the shorter chaps.

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I was under the impression from friend who works as a health visitor that girls have done the majority of their growing by age 14 and that boys usually start their major growth spurts from age 14 up to typically 17/18. This was certainly true for my son and daughter. Also, she said that the way they estimate height at 16 (so before a boy stops growing) is to take the mothers's height + 12.5 cm and the fathers height and that the boys height at 16 should be +/- 8 cm of the midpoint between these two figures. Certainly at 14 my son was about 5'6 and he is now easily 6 ft so I expect your son still has some growing to do.

 

That was the formula i couldn't remember, thank you :)

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