Sunday, May 02, 2010

Ballet: also textbook, if that text is a gender studies book

Harry had the nicest shoes in class, which he should have because I drove all over town visiting dance boutiques to find shoes in a Harry-requested "boy color" that didn't have bows. He really waned to wear a tutu, but the dance store lady told him that male dancers should wear white shirts and black pants to class. He wasn't a big fan of jazz pants, though, so he went with soccer shorts.

I love how small the class is. Harry listened and followed directions very earnestly, and the teacher told me that 2 more boys are going to be there next week. She also brought us a brochure from the Milwaukee ballet company for Harry to look through so that he could see all the cool costumes male ballet dancers wear, and she drew his attention to a picture of the whole troupe, telling him that there are as many boy dancers as there are girl dancers.

When Ben came home from work, he asked Harry what he learned at ballet. "I learned how to leap and flutter," Harry was happy to report.

Even though I always understood that gender is a social construct, having kids has made me realize how fragile it is, how hard to maintain. To want to maintain.

Look at his serious little face-- he loved watching himself in the big mirror, my stocky ballerina.


  1. Ethan spins like a "beautiful ballerina". I asked him ifnhe wants to take dance lessons....he says it's for girls! His
    daddy says too, so I guess we'll stick to no lessons of
    any type. It's working out well that way so far. ;)

  2. I love him. Just absolutely love him.

  3. Michelle M.9:41 PM

    What an awesome dance teacher! I love how she emphasized that male ballet dancers are just as important as tutu-clad ballerinas. Sounds like it was a really positive experience for Harry!

  4. How cool!!! That sounds like a great experience for everyone!

  5. That is awesome! Good for you for not stifling his desire to dance. One of my best friends' sons just started tap classes (he's 4) and he is so happy about it. His teacher sounds wonderful, too. What a fantastic experience for him!!! (am very biased--I work in the arts!)

  6. I'll be darned, if Harry doesn't have the best arabesque at that bar! Too cute!

  7. I have always wondered why there isn't a specific word for male ballet dancer. Ballerino is actually the correct term (Danseur is also used) but nobody actually says that. probably because boys aren't supposed to want to dance. I love that you have your son in ballet class - he looks very handsome and his form on his arabesque was really good already!