13 November 2007

Boys in Ballet

Through work, I came by a copy of a new kids book by Denise Gruska called The Only Boy in Ballet Class.

It's quite sweet - it's written by a mom whose son loves ballet - but other parents looked at her disparagingly, "how could you let your son take dancing lessons?". In the book, the boy takes ballet classes, and his schoolmates tease him - until the day he gets roped into playing football because they're short a kid, and he saves the day because he knows how to move. And the day after they win, all the boys from football turn up in his ballet class so that they too can learn to move.

Ballet dancers are athletes, and awesome athletes at that. They train hard, they take care of their bodies, and they have a grace about their movement that can enhance other activity. See here and here if you don't believe me. Remember Lynn Swann, football player?" He credits dance classes with his grace on the gridiron. How about Edward Villella? He played baseball AND was a welterweight boxer.

I read the book to Miss M. last night and realized that the book's message - that boys can be ballet dancers - is a good message for both boys and girls. Both need to understand that ballet isn't just pink and tutus and pink and sparkles and pink. It's hard work in the service of music and beauty and line. Hard work. You can't do it without being a superb athlete.

(PS - #2 for Children's Book Week)

16 comments:

Mayberry said...

It sounds wonderful. Last night my daughter brought home a nonfiction book about the sun and started saying it was a "boy book." I fought back -- I hope it worked. She did enjoy the book in the end.

painted maypole said...

sounds like a great book.

and what girl doesn't LOVE a man who can dance... even if it's just a few spins on the dance floor?

Emily said...

Now that's a book my Zachary should read...

slouching mom said...

Good God, I hope my troll doesn't read this post! ;)

Her Grace said...

We live in a small, blue-collar town and you'd be surprised at the number of boys in my daughter's ballet school. I was so pleased to see it. I'm glad the message is getting through.

Jen M. said...

This sounds like a book we should have in our house.

andi said...

Although I think a kid's gender shouldn't dictate the activities they engage in, it's hard to find models for kids who actually want to do something that is stereotypically only for boys or girls. So I am totally going to check this book out. Thanks!

Beck said...

That sounds like a swell book - I have a dance loving boy at my house.

Janet said...

My boy was the black sheep of dance class, running in frantic circles while the girls all sat with hands in their laps and paid attention.

It wasn't meant to be.

Still, I wish I saw more boys at Hailey's ballet school. In the Mary Poppins production last year there was only one. All the others had to be played by girls. Sad, really.

letitiah said...

sounds like a great book! Every time I watch a shoot 'em up action movie (not often), I think of how much dance training the actors must've had in order to move like that. Too cute.

Victoria said...

Giggling at S'Mom's comment. =)

I have a dance-loving Boy myself, but I could never get over the stereotypes that "Boys Don't Dance". I'm hoping he'll give hip-hop a try when he's eight.

Thanks for the book idea!

MadMad said...

Sounds like a great book, with a great message! My son loves dancing - and is actually quite good, but I could never quite bring myself to do sign him up, because I remembered the lone little guy in my daughter's class, way back in the day, and how we all pitied him. Guess it's hard to break the mold if even your own mom is biased! Thanks for the reminder - I'm going to look for the book!

dawn224 said...

what a great book!

pinknest said...

remember the movie billy elliott? i LOVED that movie!

Julia said...

Methinks I gots to get me one of those. Thanks for the tip.

Anjali said...

That sounds like a winner. Thanks for recommending it!