Why ballet needs boys

Talking to my friend Bellini the other day,
She’s like, “Ohmygod. There are like A MILLION children in this Nutcracker.”
And I’m like, “and they’re all adorbs?”
(thinking of this one Nutcracker I saw where the Chinese Dance was a stage full of four-year-olds, and, like, the extent of their dance was all of them turning in a circle to the left, and then to the right, and then waving their hands in the air, and that was more coordination than most of them could handle, and there was some sitting down and some wandering off stage and it was totally hilarious.)
And she’s like, “ohmygod they’re working my last nerve. Well, ok, the kids are ok, it’s really the parents.”
And I’m like, “whuh?”
And she’s like, “Calling me all the dang time! Telling me their daughter’s been miscast, they don’t want her to be a boy in the party scene, they want her to be a girl,”
And I’m like, “oh! Those boys are sometimes girls?”
And she’s like, “yeah, ’cause, you know, there are never enough boys in ballet, half the boys in that party scene are always gonna be girls, so I’m like, (Bellini makes her hand into Imaginary Phone shape and talks into it) Oh? Oh you want your daughter to dance a girl role? Ok, well, tell you what, do you have a son around the same age? Ok great, and did you enroll him in ballet? No? Well, what a surprise. Yeah, maybe if you’d put him in ballet instead of soccer there’d be enough boys to dance all the boy roles and your daughter could dance a girl role. Mmm hmm, yup. Thems the breaks.”

This just in. Go here and read all the totally legit things Sheena has to say about why ballet needs boys.


About adultbeginner

Had my first ballet class Ever at the advanced age of thirty-two. Yikes.
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11 Responses to Why ballet needs boys

  1. Jeff says:

    Ohhh, snap! But yes. WORD. UP.

  2. When I got to class last night there were one woman other than me and FOUR MEN. It was super strange, but good!

  3. Bippidee says:

    Best reply to pushy parents EVER! And it’s always the parents. Always I tell you.

  4. mladen says:

    i feel the pressure, i tell you. every class the same thing, we come to the jumping and i get so many evil looks i just don’t dare say yes when the teacher suggests we do more jumps…

    more men to ballet class!

  5. Bippidee says:

    The only guy I have ever had in my regular class (ie not when I go take open classes in London or whatever, but in my local, syllabus classes) was there tonight. It was really nice, because he went off to full time dance college in September, but they had a week off this week so he was back home and came and did class. I like having guys in class. I like watching them turn and jump. Although it is a bit jealousy inducing.

  6. roriroars says:

    This is hilarious and wonderful. I wish there were more Bellinis out there. (Fab blog link, too.)

    Seriously, we need more dudes. Luckily we do manage to get the brothers/cousins/whatevers in our shows to balance out the party kids and whatnot, but I think only a few of them are actually enrolled in classes. For adult roles we end up recruiting guys with no dance background and are like, “okay, walk here, lift her like that, put her down, walk over there.” I’m glad we at least have dudes willing to do that, but it’s soooo limiting since they really can’t do anything beyond standing there like window dressing.

  7. Kaija says:

    Yes, yes…gender balance is a desirable thing and cuts both ways…for every girl who has to fight for her right to do something “that’s for boys/it’s not ladylike/girls do X, not Y”, there is a boy slogging up that same hill. I have had such enjoyable experiences from playing sports and dancing ballet; I want those to be available to everyone. We are all PEOPLE, people! Gender roles are mostly a figment of our cultural imagination anyways…the biology and other scientific evidence doesn’t support much innate difference.

    I agree that having men and boys in class gives it a different energy and I like seeing their variations, in port de bras, jumps and turns, heck even reverence! And I love the big jumps too so I selfishly benefit when the guys are in attendance :) I do my best to recruit my guy friends…I think if more men tried it, they’d also get hooked on the physicality and the challenge. Plus, all those football players that take ballet to improve their footwork and basketball players who have done it to work on their jumping ability can’t be wrong!

    And yeah, Bellini is awesome…she told it like it is!

  8. Millie says:

    Amen to more boys!!! I have a 9 year old daughter who has been dance obsessed since she was 3. She is currently taking 2 ballet classes, jazz, lyrical, tap and 2 ballet folklorico classes per week. Needless to say, we live in one studio or another. Last year, when it came time to enroll for classes, my son (then 7 years old) said “I want to be in Nutcracker, too.” Mind you, this child has been dragged to his sisters classes ever since he was 2 years old and never showed one iota of interests despite my repeated, “Don’t you want to try?” asked in a bright, chipper, you know you want to voice. My response, “Okay, you can do Nutcracker, but you have to take ballet every week.” His response, “Okay, when do I start?” I have never filled out a registration form so fast in my life! He is now 8 years old and takes ballet, tap, and ballet folklorico. And he loves it! And, because he is the only boy, most numbers get built around him and there is a mini-audition during class to see who gets to be his partner. He did his first lift this July and I about cried. That being said, he doesn’t tell any of his friends in school about taking dance. He just knows he’ll be teased. I live for the day he’ll be proud to say “I’m going to the studio” after class and can care less what his “friends” think.
    Also, I just love, love, love your blog. Have spent the last two weeks of my lunch hour reading from beginning to end. And, more importantly, you have inspired me to be an Adult Beginner! I always wanted to take dance, but let’s just say my parents were more into the academics when I was younger and who had time to dance when they were supposed to be getting straight A’s in school? So, at 38 years old, I am gonna dance!!! Thanks for the inspiration and sorry about the long, rambling post…

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