Friday, June 6, 2008

Ballet Class 9 Times a Week

I'm always kidding around, especially when I'm trying to get the kids' attention. One morning in late January, Jungle Boy was spinning around the house. And I mean spinning. I could see an accident waiting to happen. So being a smarty-mouth mom, I said "If you don't stop that, I'm going to enroll you in ballet!"

[brief pause, as he stopped spinning and thought a moment] "Why not?"

"I was joking! [pause, while I think a moment] Would you want to take ballet?"

"Why not?"

Fast forward a day. He has gone to observe a class with a boy in it. We have gone to two different ballet shops to find him appropriate attire. I sit him down for a talk and explain that I'm not going to recommend taking or not taking ballet. This has to be 100% his decision. I don't ever want him to say that his mother made him do it. If, however, he decides to take it, he only has a brief time to change his mind before the recital. Once the dances get choreographed, he can't leave his teacher in the lurch. After the June recital, he's free to quit if he wants to.

So he tried a class. From the moment he put his hand on the barre it was as if he was born to it. I guess this is the part where I should confess I taught ballet long ago. To the UNLV football team among others, but that's another story. This is his story.

He's taken gymnastics since he was about 3 and for 2 years he was a competitive gymnast. When it got to the point where he was 9 years old and going to the gym for 11 hours/week, he was the one who said it was too much, and I agreed. It's a great, athletic life, but gymnastics can take over a young life completely. The Russian coaches got him down when by always emphasizing what he did wrong. It was more work and pain than fun. He backed off to a recreational class.

Once he started ballet class, everything began to snowball. He is good. I'm trying to say that as an impartial ballet teacher and not just a mother, but we're allowed to brag. His teacher not only saw it though, she kept adding more classes - "why don't you try this next level too?" Until now he's simultaneously taking 3 levels, each twice a week, and a private lesson. This was all the teacher's idea. I have made it a point to never push, never suggest, never help him decide.

He just has perfect balance and form and oh, man, is he beautiful to watch, even if he's only 10 years old. All that gymnastics is paying off I guess.

Now he's doing tour jetes and pirouettes. He's got 7 ballet classes a week, and Drama Girl joins him for 2. I just get in the car and it drives itself to the ballet school, sometimes whether I want to go there or not.

I had visions of him coming home from school with a bloody nose from kids bullying him. It's never happened. Are we more enlightened these days, or are the girls in his class at school who are also in his ballet class just very good about keeping his secret?

I can't wait until the recital on Father's Day weekend when we see him in about 6 different dances. He has a bunch of little solo moments and even a brief pas de deux with his sister. After only 4 months of study, he's making his stage debut in a big way.

I think my son is the bravest kid I know.

8 people stopped folding laundry to write:

Cheryl Lage said...

I LOVE it! And my fondest hope is that perhaps this generation is the one that is more open (less condemning/picking-on prone) to living and letting live...to breaking with preconceived ideas (however ill-founded) that certain activities are "for boys" or "for girls." Let's hope all the arts (and other activities) can be for "those who like them!"

Keep on supporting him...sounds like he truly has a gift and a passion for it. (Does make you wonder a bit about the power of genetics as well, doesn't it?)

Have a great weekend-

Monkey Memories said...

That's wonderful! Can you post a video of him dancing? I would LOVE to see him!

noble pig said...

I think it's great to let him be who he wants. He will always appreciate you for that.

angie said...

I do too! I hope you post some of the recital. He sounds exceptional.

Jocasta said...

That's wonderful - would love to see some pictures as well.

Widney Woman said...

Lit, all this talk of great form, and no pictures??? It's great he is into it. I'm sure his teachers are thrilled to have a male in class. A skilled male dancer.

Threeundertwo said...

I'll try to get a picture or video, but honestly, the quickest way to get him to stop is to pull out my camera. I even tried to get a few with my Treo at rehearsal, pretending I was dialing someone on the phone, but he figured it out and ducked.

I want to respect his shyness about this, but I'll see what I can do. The costumes are priceless (well, actually pretty expensive, but you know what I mean.)

Elizabeth said...

Wow! I give you credit for all the driving. Scooter is taking another break from Ballet to try horseback riding with Tilly.
I can only handle one thing at a time. One lesson a week, for now.
You're a great mommy to handle all that autopilot driving!
Looking forward to recital pics.
Blessings, EJT

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