Men In Ballet – Should I Let My Son Dance?

The public often sees male dancers and men in ballet and thinks nothing of it, but for some reason, there is a stigma attached to men in ballet.  Maybe it is not seen as manly for a man to be seen doing ballet, and most fathers would rather have their sons on the rugby fields than in a dance studio, but here are some answers to the question ‘should I let my son dance?’

Please note that this article does contain affiliate links.

should I let my son danceOverall men in ballet have real advantages.  They can start a lot later than the girls and continue with their careers for a lot longer.

Because there are far fewer male dancers, they find it much easier to gain scholarships to study dance and are even almost guaranteed to get jobs later on.

Dance companies worldwide are always looking for male dancers, so if they shine at dance, they will have loads of opportunities.

Once men retire from performing, they more often than not get into offstage positions with great prestige, for example, directors, choreographers, or give classes at a dance company.

To develop a male ballet dancer or any type of dancer for that matter, it takes a tremendous amount of athleticism and strength.  For that reason, there are a few differences in the training of men and women.

A male dancer is taller and heavier than a female and has less flexibility in the spine.  He has narrower hips and all of these attributes affect his placement.  For a boy, flexibility and turnout are harder to achieve than for a girl, and he also needs to work a lot harder in general on his coordination and strength.

Men in ballet need to become solid partners, so he has to develop his upper body strength a lot more than a woman.  Male dancers are also expected to turn better than women and jump a lot higher.  It is always best if possible to have a separate class for your boys as they get older so that they can concentrate more on these things, while the girls concentrate more on their pointe work.

Men need to look a lot different to the women when dancing – broader movements, weightier look, and strong – as opposed to the women who look more waif-like and delicate.

Should I Let My Son Dance?should I let my son dance

If your son expresses an interest in dance, there is no reason you should try to deter him.  Let him try a few classes first and see for himself.  For one the ballet will definitely help with your son’s rugby or other sport for that matter.

Did you know that a lot of the national teams have weekly ballet classes for strength and coordination?    The strength and flexibility they gain from their dance classes also help them to recover from injuries a lot faster.

Remember that ballet is not the only type of dance form.  There is also hip hop and jazz, which are becoming increasingly popular with boys at the moment.

If you are worried about the teasing at school, don’t.  It doesn’t last long, especially when as teenagers they become the envy of their friends as they get all the beautiful girls to dance with.

Read about Gary Burne, Nureyev, Nijinsky, and Massine for example, as these were all great dancers in our past who led interesting and full lives.

I am not fortunate enough to have a son, but if I did, I would totally encourage him to take lessons if he enjoyed it, as it will go far in building not only self-discipline, character, and determination, but also strength and flexibility which also helps with most sports. So would I let my son dance – of course, I would!

10 thoughts on “Men In Ballet – Should I Let My Son Dance?”

  1. I loved this post! I worked for a while at a ballet company a few years ago, and before I did I definitely thought that male ballet dancers were very lean and small. Then I saw male dancers in person and they were anything but!

    You’re very right about the height of their jumps, and what really struck me is how effortlessly they must lift their partners, and sometimes carry them across the stage. It definitely calls for some strength!

  2. This is a great post about overcoming the stereotypes about boys performing.

    I figured that men would have to be very strong in ballet to be able to lift and hold their female partners. I would actually imagine that male ballet dancers might actually have more muscles than some of the men in other male-dominated sports.

    After all, you don’t see too many football players lifting another player over their heads, but you see that in ballet all the time.

  3. I totally agree with your post.  Gone are the days when roles belong to certain genders, so why should it apply to dance.

    If a boy wants to dance then let him.  It will keep him fit and active and help build a strong and healthy body.

    Who knows what it will lead to, perhaps nothing, or to stardom.  But the skills, fun and friendships they will develop while doing it will be worth all the effort.  And once they learn the skills they will have them forever and will serve them in many different situations which are totally unconnected with dancing.

    Far better to be dancing and keeping fit than sitting in front of the TV, or hanging about street corners.

    It is their life and their choice.  Your job as their parents is to support them!

    • Well said Geoff. I totally agree, and ballet is a life skill that helps with many other areas of ones life, even if you never put foot on a stage.

  4. Today I got a fascinating surprise, but I would have wanted to read more about it. I think the inconveniences start because men have to wear tights which to many do not seem aesthetic in any way.

    That is my opinion. I never thought that men could dance on pointe, which in itself is also a misconception. I enjoy the ballet and also the male dancers you mentioned in your article above. If it’s a boy’s passion, why not let the lamb do it without prejudice.

  5. Hello there! This is an interesting read. I too have heard a lot of stigma with men in ballet, but if the individual keeps in mind that the bullying is only temporary, they will become much stronger individuals. 

    Personally, I think ballet can become real strength when one learns how to incorporate it into their life. I also agree that it would be a great opportunity for scholarships especially since it is rare to find a guy in ballet, it really makes him stand out among other applicants. I can also see that it takes a greater amount of effort, coordination, and skill as a guy to master ballet. 

    Thanks for posting this!

  6. I have always enjoyed dance over the years and still do. I actually studied jazz and modern dance and took a few lessons in two-step and ballroom dancing. If a child is interested in an area of endeavor I encourage that child. I worked in mental health and education for years and each person is unique and that uniqueness is to be respected beyond gender or anything else. There are so many stereotypes that we have all grown up with that given some critical thought are actually meaningless ideas. Encourage anyone especially if you had a son to be who he is and wants to be. All the very best. 


Leave a Comment