We set up this site to support and encourage young men who do ballet
and demystify the world of ballet for those who don't.

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FAQs for boys who are interested in ballet

So, you've heard about ballet, maybe seen some amazing clips and you think you might want to have a go? You probably have some questions before you're ready to try - this post will attempt to answer them. If you have a question that isn't answered here, leave a comment or email us (info [at] boysdoballet.com) and we will add yours to the list.

Ballet looks cool but I could never do that!

Unlike other kinds of dance, ballet is a complete system of training which begins with the real basics. Ballet training starts by teaching you how to stand properly, how to bend your knees in the right way and what to do with your arms. You spend a long time mastering simple movements - then, when you move on to harder steps, your body already knows how to move in the right way.

 Derek Dunn - read our interview with him here.



How long does it take?

To become a professional dancer takes many years of dedicated daily training. But you can enjoy ballet from the day you start - even taking one lesson a week. Many schools have an end-of-year show you can perform in, no matter how long you have been learning.

And no dancer is ever perfect - even the best dancers in the world still take a daily class which begins with the movements you learn in your first lesson.

Professional dancers still take simple exercises at the barre.



What's ballet good for?

Not everyone wants to be a ballet dancer. However, ballet teaches you lots of things which are useful for other activities:

- balance
- flexibility
- strength
- fitness
- precision of movement
- good concentration
- good posture
- how to listen to music
- confidence
- and don't forget ballet is simply really good fun

A lot of sportsmen learn ballet for many of these reasons and it has been used to train rugby players, fencers, ice skaters and martial arts fighters. To see a list of celebrities who have done ballet, click here.

Is this a ballet pose or a karate pose?

Jean-Claude Van Damme, the karate expert,
learnt ballet to improve his flexibility and balance
so he looked more elegant when fighting.


Isn't ballet for girls?

No, no, no! Only silly people say that who do not know the truth.

Girls can do ballet, but the ballet girls do is very different from ballet for men and boys. Male ballet dancers have to be strong and athletic - in the big ballets, they play the parts of Princes and Soldiers and Pirates. When scientists tested male ballet dancers against sportsmen, they found that the dancers were fitter and able to keep going for longer.

Boy ballet dancers doing press-ups for strength.



Do I have to wear tights?

No, you do not have to wear tights to do ballet. In fact, when you start, it is better to wear shorts (cycling shorts/trunks are best) so your teacher can see your legs. However, most older boys prefer to wear tights - they are actually very comfortable, keep you warm and show off all the muscles ballet gives you.

No tights needed - even at the Royal Ballet School.



Will I be the only boy?

Most schools have other boy dancers but, of course, they may not be the same age as you. We recommend you take a friend with you - that makes it much more fun.

The well-known actor and dancer Adam Garcia started ballet when he was 7 - and only because his friend wanted someone to take with him to lessons. Now he's professional!

Adam Garcia tap dancing.



Am I too old?

No. No one is too old to take up ballet and enjoy it - even your Dad. Boys who want to become professional ballet dancers normally start serious training at around the age of 11 - but the greatest dancer ever, Rudolf Nureyev, did not start training at a proper ballet school until he was 17. It is hard, though, to become a professional dancer if you do not start your training young.

Rudolf Nureyev



Am I too young?

No. If you can read this answer you are not too young. Early ballet training is the same for boys and girls and it is important for mastering basic technique. The older you get, the more you are able to focus on male technique. 

Spot the catapult.



Sounds good. How do I start?

If you want to start ballet you should talk to your parents. Most towns will have some kind of ballet school but you should ask your parents to look carefully and try and find one suitable for you - some schools are better for boys than others. There is advice on choosing ballet schools for boys here.

Or, to find out more about ballet, browse through the rest of the blog by clicking here.

Any more questions? Just leave a comment below or email us and we will reply.

17 comments:

  1. Not a question but a heartfelt thank you! I am the mum of a ballet mad boy who always feels like the odd one out at school. I can't wait to show him this tomorrow morning. Thank you so much for a fantastic website!

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  2. Dear Dancing Mum,

    Really good of you to leave a comment - it's provided a lot of energy to keep things going.

    If you have any more detailed feedback or if there's just something you'd like to see on here, PLEASE do email info@boysdoballet.com. (We'd love to know how you found us.)

    Yours,

    Richard
    on behalf of the whole team

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  3. This sight is great and wish that it had been around 10 years ago. My son started dancing at the age of 3 and is now 19. Throughout his years of training he has never lost sight of becoming a professional ballet dancer. He has had tough times from his peers particularly at primary school which made life hard and forced him to change school. This also meant selling our house and relocating to another area. This move proved to be an absolute Godsend when my son was selected for an intensive ballet training programme in Leeds. Our new house was much closer to motorway links and saved at least 30 minutes of journey time. All of the negative attitudes of his peers have helped my son to become the strong dancer he is today. Don't ever give up - believe what is in your heart and you will succeed.

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  4. Thanks for your comment. It's good to hear a story with such a positive outcome. Good luck to your son for his career.

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  5. Wonderful site. As we are just entering ballet with our 11 year old boy this is a great reference site. Thankfully our 13 year old daughter has been in ballet for a few years and we have an excellent school with a dedicated boys class to go to. :)

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  6. Another informative blog… Thank you for sharing it… Best of luck for further endeavor too.

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  7. How refreshing this site is, my son is nearly 5 years old and takes ballet/modern/tap classes... ballet is what he enjoys the most, he is the only boy in his class, i constantly find myself having to answer awkward questions from parents or girls in his class asking why he does ballet, at times it infuriates me... i would love to see more ballet schools/courses encouraging boys, i have come across a couple of dance courses for boys but only catering for older boys, i imagine a lot of boys between the age of 5-8 years old give up on ballet, its such a shame :-/

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  8. Thank you all for your kind comments and good luck to your sons. Please come back from time to time.

    >i would love to see more ballet schools/courses encouraging boys

    So would we. We've got a few ideas for encouraging schools to be proactive but we need help to reach them. Please drop us a line if you have any suggestions/requests/feedback!

    Richard

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  9. I like this website! Its encouraging for me. Haha kinda hard being a male ballet dancer in a small southern town.... Even though I was born and raised here (even have a southern accent) people still look at me and say 'you're not from around here are you.'

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  10. This is a great website. My five year old son just started ballet and he loves it!

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  11. I was invited to the Nutcracker as party dad last month and instantly was mesmerized by ballet. I'm a 17 year old guy and believe I will start ballet asap. Maybe it's too lat but at 12 I started gymnastics and within 2 years I was top in the country level 7. It may be way too late from what I've read but I think I gotta try. :) it just hurts that I didn't know earlier. :(

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  12. Fantastic website. I am a mom of a five year old boy. i took him to see a ballet and he loved it! I am trying to convince my ex that classes for him will be fantastic.

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  13. My son, aged 9 has started doing ballet 8 months ago after watching the annual ballet show his older sister performed in. He loves it and fortunately there is one other boy in his class which makes things easier. So far there has been no teasing - in fact some of his school friends are coming to watch his first performance this Friday and Saturday.

    Great website- I'm glad I found it.

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  14. My 2 sons ages 6 and almost 9 just started ballet and Tap classes. They are 2 of 3 boys in the class. I had a couple moms give them a weird look but the 3rd boy's mom came to the rescue and pointed out why her son has been doing it for 3 yrs and how great it is for boys. I was pretty confident in my reasoning for allowing them to dance but it does help when someone who has been doing it for a while chimes in and shuts all the nay sayers. My boys are proud and excited, they love the idea of dancing and playing instruments and playing sports. I think they will be very well rounded individuals.

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  15. My son was Fritz this year and has fallen in love with it will start taking lessons from a male instructor. We are beyond excited for him. He did amazing with his 2 1/2 months of training. As a former dancer myself, I get giddy thinking of the possibilities for him!

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  16. Thanks for this great site. My little boy is 4 and has been fascinated with ballet since he was 2. He starts ballet lessons next month and is extremely excited about it. I can't wait!

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  17. Thanks so much for this site it has really helped me and boosted my confidence. Hoping to start ballet soon.

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