Anyone Have a Boy in Dance/ballet?

Updated on September 21, 2015
A.M. asks from Phoenix, AZ
17 answers

My almost 5 year old is very interested in dance. We have had him in a mixed dance class for a little over a year, and he has really enjoyed it. We saw a performance of the Nutcracker last year, which he loved. I am considering having him take a class that culminates in participating in a very nice production of Nutcracker, complete with guest stars from a professional company. My hesitation is mainly the commitment involved on his part. We would sign up for once a week classes plus once a week rehearsals through the performance. My concern is that he will get the message that ballet is just for girls...reinforced by the fact that he is the only boy in class...and want to quit. I would love to hear from anyone with boys in dance, ballet, or other activities that tend to be girl-dominated with advice on how to encourage my kiddo to enjoy what he wants and not worry about "girl" stuff and "boy" stuff. We have a close friend who used to dance ballet professionally. He sees that our friend is a big, strong guy and knows that ballet is not for wimps. But I know it will be hard to balance that when even the girls in his class ask him why he is there. Thanks so much!!

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers


answers from Washington DC on

I had my now 15 year old son in ballet - he loved it - for 2 years! It helped him with his sports!! It's not just for girls!!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

My son was in dance and the girls loved him. He took for a while when he was little and then again at around age 7 for a bit. Girls in dance are very accepting of boys in classes. I used to dance and we loved having boys in class, because then the dances for recitals were more interesting. We even had a football player take classes with us, so he could work on flexibility and agility.

4 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Washington DC on

DS (9) has been in ballet since 6. But he's at a reputable, pre-professional school with a pretty strong/full boys program. So although there are some raised eyebrows and questions from kids at school, when he's actually AT ballet, he's in class with other boys and has at least one class a week that is all boys taught by a male instructor.

If he wants to dance, let him, but make sure that the school/teacher is prepared and knowledgeable to have a boy in class. The "this is for girls" stuff tends to be the result of being in a dance class that, quite frankly, IS for girls. Ballet has very clear gender roles (more than we're comfortable with our normal lives... but IN ballet, there really IS girl stuff and boy stuff... boys don't curtsey, they don't bouree, girls don't do some of the the bigger jumps etc... and even very little boys should be jumping a lot), so if they aren't ready to teach a boy in a way that makes ballet a boy thing for HIM, I'd take him elsewhere.

That being said, if he wants to dance, get him in a dance school. Don't worry about the Nutcracker (5 is pretty young to get up on stage like that, it seems like a great ending from a mom's end, but it may add to his stress... he's a 5 year old with no experience... he may prefer something more low key with an end of year demonstration, rather than pushing for Nutcracker in a just a couple of months...), find him a class at a school with other boys and where he feels comfortable. The performance opportunity shouldn't be the main draw.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I don't have a boy in ballet, but at his age, I don't think kids are going to comment on it. I have known boys in dance, they seem to be okay with being in the minority. Don't worry about it prematurely.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

My daughter takes dance and she has had a boy - just one - in her class each of the last two years (she's almost 5). When I take her to the studio, I usually see about 4-5 older boys (ages 9-18ish) throughout the studio. He might get a special role in the routines they do in class, so he might enjoy that.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

Many pro-football players take ballet. It helps with their balance and coordination. So it is not for wimps.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I don't have a boy in ballet but the studio where my daughter dances has several men who teach and a handful of boys ranging from about five to 15.

Is your concern really that he was in a mixed class before -- with other little boys in as well as girls -- and in this new class, he would be the only boy?

If that's the case, first, unless this is a really huge studio, possibly some of the same girls who were in the mixed class might be with him in the next class and they won't care or question his presence. Some little girls new to ballet -- especially if their parents have pushed ballet as being oh so pink and girly -- might indeed say very innocently, "I didn't know boys did ballet' or whatever, but that won't be out of a desire to tease him or be mean; it'll just be because they're very young and might only have ever seen girls and women in sparkly tutus, and haven't yet seen male dancers.

In a good studio with experienced teachers, the teacher will likely say, "Yeah, isn't it great? Boys dance too!" and sail on from there, and frankly the girls this age will just move on as well.

He will only "get the message that ballet is just for girls" and possibly "want to quit" IF adults around him give him that message. Since you're clearly behind the idea of his dancing, he won't hear that at home, so unless someone else in his life like dad, a grandparent or uncle or aunt etc. decide to tease him about it -- he should be fine.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Lakeland on

When my daughter was taking dance there were a few boys that did ballet, tap and jazz. There will always be need for male dancers. No one should make it out to be a girly class or just for girls. Just look at everything on Broadway, etc..

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

No personal experience, but a lot of NFL football players do ballet in their off season to stay in shape. Google it.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My son was in hip hop classes. He loved it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I had several students who were in dance/tap/ballet/jazz classes throughout their youth and into high school. My neighbor's youngest child was heavily into dance and is now a pro, touring with shows like "A Chorus Line" and "Rent". I think more boys needs to see what great conditioning this is, how it takes such strength as well as coordination. I'd have him learn about "Billy Elliot" (I know the language is tough for a little kid but maybe you can watch selected scenes) and have him watch "Dancing with The Stars" (not ballet but every other style, and the men are highly admired), and I'd teach him about the great male dancers in ballet (Barishnikov, Nureyev, and so on). I'd also talk to the dance school staff about what sorts of vocabulary and guidance is used to stop the negative talk - after all, it's their business that is enhanced when more kids sign up. Maybe they can show you DVDs of their prior performances that show some of the boys as featured dancers or troupe members.

I think adults are bigger problems than little girls are, frankly.

But overall I'd be sure to just give him a taste of dance with a limited schedule, since he's only 5. I'm sure you'd hate to see him get tired of it or feel overwhelmed.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Wichita Falls on

My son was not interested in ballet, but I took ballet when I was young and had a boy or two in my classes over the years. It was not a big deal. At that age, we simply did not care about boy vs girl. We did mostly the same exercises (though that changes as you get older) and the biggest difference was the costumes. I wouldn't worry about it and let him dance.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I think he's right on the cusp of letting it bother him, but I doubt he's quite there yet. My son is 5, almost 6 and he enjoys dance. He took a hip hop class this summer and really liked it. He also took gymnastics for a long time and was often the only boy in the class. He goes between noticing gender bias and not noticing it, honestly. I would put your son in the class and go from there.

As far as what to say to/about others, that is tougher. I think I wouldn't mention anything unless he brings it up. If he says Girl asked me why I was taking ballet, I would say something like…well that's a funny question isn't it, did you ask her why she's taking it? Or…did you tell her it's because you like dance? Or…huh, I wonder if she she knows boys and girls can like ballet.

My son likes a lot of "girl" things because he has an older sister whom he idolizes. The older he gets, I've noticed the more societal gender biases are starting to bother him. I'd say this last 6-9 months has been the most noticeable. I think tackling gender bias issues is easier for me because I have one of each sex, so they spend a lot of time sharing toys/activities, etc. We talk a lot about how toys are for everyone and if you like to play with it, watch it, wear it, it's okay. I would say at least once a day I work this into conversation.

If he's really into it, go for it, you'll figure out the other stuff and so will he. And good for you for not shying away from something that he wants to do just because it's girl-dominated. As far as the time commitment, that is a lot for a 4 year old, but I'd just cut down any other activities he's doing, it's only for a few months.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Our boy took tap and ballet. He wasn't so happy about the ballet but he really enjoyed the tap.

As for Nutcracker...he will be a boy in the party at the beginning then perhaps other parts in the children's area. There will be many male dancers in this production so it will be a very good influence on him.

I think you should go for it. Who knows? He might very well be the next Baryschnicov, several movies and dance productions, or Godunov, he is a professional dancer and also an actor. He was in Die Hard as a terrorist.

There are many men in dance. Not only in Ballet but also in other forms too.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i'm not sure i understand your concern. if he likes dance and is enthralled by ballet (yay for him!) and you've had him in dance classes, how will enrolling him in a dance class that suits him even more convince him that it's just for girls and make him quit?
he may not even notice that it's heavily weighted toward girls unless YOU make him aware. and if he does? you keep it light and low-key and just point out the advantages.
my older took riding lessons for a while, and he rode english. the (rather nasty) group of kids at the barn was all girls. the only issues he had were the bitchiness and cliquiness, not the lack of testosterone. and over time a couple of more boys circled in and out too. and that will almost certainly happen with the ballet classes.
and as he got older, the advantages of being the lone male in a vast sea of females were self-evident.
the main problem i found with it was that he'd neglect grooming our horse because he was busy grooming some bitchy little queen bee's pony for her.
i think you're buying trouble, hon. don't even make it an issue, and if someone else makes it an issue for him, you simply present it truthfully as an advantage.
i mean, who was ever sexier than baryshnikov?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My daughter dances and my boys love to watch her. There are also some VERY talented boys in her performance/competitive group. Most of them enjoy hip hop, then tap, then contemporary, then jazz, then lyrical, then ballet. However, some love ballet most.

The boys are lucky because they are around beautiful girls all day long and no one teases them for it that I am aware of. Our girls never ask why a boy is there and actually love the dynamics that having a boy in the class adds. They enjoy doing routines that you couldn't do if it were only girls, and they like having that strong partner to work with. I honestly think you have nothing to worry about.

This is coming from a mom who's daughter has danced for 10 years and she is 12. 7 of those years have been at the competitive level. I see plenty of boy dancers and LOVE it! So do the girls.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Have you asked him if he is interested in doing this particular performance? Personally, I think boys are more conditioned to reject the opposite sex from an activity over a girls. It will be interesting to see how he is welcomed and how it is perceived by him.

He is in dance now, how do they treat him? How does he feel? If it is what he wants to do, let him do it and teach him to follow his dreams.

I am in the opposite situation. I have a girl in a "boys" sport. Proving oneself is horrible, however often how it is handled.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions