This post is a tribute to my son Alex, who for the last three years has been taking ballet lessons at the Ithaca Ballet. This weekend he’s part of their Cinderella performance. I’ve been observing from the sideline and as an audience member and can honestly say he’s matured because of this experience. It’s not completely attributable to ballet but I know it has played a large part.
As a guy it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking my son should focus on sports and other boyish things. You hear about the taunts and criticisms that ballet will somehow soften him or negatively affect his manhood. You question your own manhood sitting watching the rehearsals and your son in tights, but I’m here to tell you that is all bogus. The talent and dedication is incredible. Not only does Alex has more self-confidence, but also he’s never lessened his love for sports, wrestling, making weapons, and all the other stereotypical things boys his age enjoy. His ballet teacher jokingly says that the boy to girl ratio in ballet favors the boys 100 to 1. Also, many professional athletes use ballet to improve their game. It’s not just for girls!
Alex turns 10 this December and I’m so proud of him keeping with the ballet even when his friends dropped out. I’ve seen him explain to his friends that he’s going to be better at sports because of ballet. He’s already a great athlete and can excel at any sport he tries. He’s learning balance, becoming strong, graceful, poised, and confident. I would bet there’s not a dad out there who wouldn’t want those attributes in their son. I don’t know how much longer he will continue with it, but he started taking tap lessons and being part of an actual performance has ignited a spark of excitement I don’t see very often. If only someone could light that spark for cello practice or homework!
I’m not trying to say you should take your son out of sports and force him to take ballet. Nor that if he doesn’t he won’t excel in life. He has to want to go. I don’t force Alex to go, he wants to go. So maybe I got fortunate that Alex really enjoys it right now, but I think he sees the long-term benefits too. Even though this post is about my son and his experience, hopefully you can take away something and maybe give ballet a chance. If you’re in the Ithaca area, your son can join the free boys class every Tuesday at 5:30pm at the Ithaca Ballet.
Has your son taken ballet? Have you ever asked him if he would like to? Have you taken him to see a ballet?