If you have a son interested in ballet, you might have wondered if you should enroll him in ballet lessons. Though supporting our children in their passions should be intuitive, it does not mean that parents don’t worry about the implications of certain choices. Will he be teased or outcast by his peers for breaking gender stereotypes? Will he be the only boy in his dance classes? Or worst of all… Will he have to wear pink?
All hyperbole aside, these concerns and feelings of insecurity are valid. As a parent, you want what’s best for your child so with a little more digging into the subject, let’s discover why the pros of putting your son in ballet outweigh the cons.
Should You Put Your Son in Ballet?
There are many physical, social, and mental benefits to putting your son in ballet. From learning discipline and focus to mastering physical skills including strength, balance, and flexibility, there are many reasons to put your son in ballet, if he’s interested. In addition, there are several scholarship and education opportunities for male ballet dancers.
Reasons To Enroll Your Son in Ballet
“Ballet is not just for the career dancer but is a tool for those seeking a holistic approach to their physical well-being. It will teach discipline, strength, balance, flexibility, problem-solving, respect, focus, and many more skills that translate far beyond the studio.” -Benjamin Raymant, Artist with Hale Center Theatre
There are undoubtedly several physical and mental benefits to enrolling your son in ballet. However, one might argue that many of these benefits are akin to any other sport that physically exercises the body. While this may be true, it also does not begin to scratch the surface when compared to the economic benefits of ballet for boys. Considering that male dancers are scarce in the dance world, there are extensive opportunities regarding scholarships, education, and career opportunities if you put your son in ballet.
The Physical, Mental, and Social Benefits
Regardless of gender, ballet teaches students discipline, coordination, flexibility, and assists with injury prevention. It is widely known that football players practice ballet for this in particular. With the confidence it instills comes more character-building self-awareness and maturity, not to mention other life skills such as time management and self-discipline.
In regard to the social benefits of dance, Ryan Hatch, Artist with Utah Metropolitan Ballet, puts it like this “Becoming a male ballet dancer means: learning to work hard, be strong, and communicate with your partner. Traditionally, in a pas de deux, the man and the woman are telling a story. To be successful, the partnership needs to learn how to work together to achieve the same end goal.”
When we teach our sons to dance, we teach them that they are capable of more than they knew in every aspect of their lives, from school and social interaction.
Click here for more reading on the benefits of dance.
The Extensive Opportunities
The Wisconsin Literacy Resource Network has noted that “Most ballets have almost equal parts male and female roles. But in the U.S., boys who want to do ballet are hard to come by.” Many parents are boggled by the immense amount of doors that ballet has opened to their sons, from scholarships and educational opportunities to travel and more. In addition to meeting people from all walks of life, your son might also get multiple performance opportunities.
It’s Becoming More Popular
If you are still debating whether putting your son in ballet is the best move, consider that male dancers are becoming more socially accepted and celebrated. Additionally, all the aforementioned health benefits of dance, including confidence and grace, make it possible for male dancers to increase the awareness of their peers that dance is a genderless sport. There’s no reason men cannot be dancers and they are starting to become more common in the profession.
To answer one of the questions at the beginning of the article: Will my son be the only boy in his dance class? It’s likely he will not be! Will he be able to find a male teacher or even a class of all boys? Though it’s not guaranteed, those types of classes are becoming more common.
“In my experience, one of the biggest things that helped me stay in dance was exposure to professional male dancers and teachers. In my pre-teens, I got to work with Jeff Amsden, former faculty of Tremaine Dance Convention. Seeing a professional male ballet dancer was really eye-opening to me. This was one of the things that helped me to understand that boys have a place in ballet. It is very important to educate boys and show them that ballet is for everybody. Educating boys and giving them role models to look up to is crucial to ending the stereotype that ballet is not for boys.” -Ryan Hatch, Artist with Utah Metropolitan Ballet
Let Boys Dance!
To surmise, in addition to the plethora of mental and physical benefits, there are limitless opportunities for male dancers that commit themselves to the art. As the number of boys in ballet grows, it is likely that he will make lifelong friends and have a healthier, more creative outlook on life. If your child wants to dance, let him follow his passion!