Monday, November 2, 2009

Prima Ballerina

My daughter did ballet for the 1st time on Friday. She has reached that 'stage' of being very into 'all things ballerina'. I confess myself a little perplexed how these things happen in a little girl who has lived in Asia since she was 20 months old, followed by Albania, so she has not had Angelina Ballerina, Cbeebies, pink-toy-aisles-in-Toysarus indoctrination. Yet I can tick off these stages like a handbook check list of Girl Toddlers. (Admittedly she also features in the extra chapters on "Tree climbing" "Playing Star Wars", "Having Ninja Turtle Sword Fights" & "Spying" for those 'Girl Toddlers Who Have Brothers'. But honestly, with my very unscientific survey, it seems it's nature, though very odd to have 'pink', 'ballet' & 'princess' genes, don't you think?

In Sri Lanka people didn't wear pink, not an Asian colour, doesn't go really with Asian skin. You never saw little girls wearing it. Her friends were from myriad different cultures, we didn't have tv, there weren't toy shops geared to little girls; yet she went through the "Everything Must Be Pink" stage, the "I'm a princess & want to live in a high tower phase", the "I want to dress up as a fairy at a every opportunity" phase, "I'm a mummy & this is my baby" phase (this, at least a logical one) & now here we are safely arrived at the "Ballerina" stage.

I don't remember this stage myself. I do have very vague early memories of doing ballet & not enjoying it much. I have afriend who never grew out of wanting to be a ballerina, she even now, in her 40s, adores ballet, goes regulalry & even queued up, to bid for, & buy one of Darcy Bussells' ballet costumes (it IS absolutely beautiful, & tiny, in all the places you'd like to be tiny).

My daughter had her ballet shoes, but otherwise no 'outfit' She wanted to wear one of her fairy outfits. I persuaded her to put her track suit bottoms (greeted by a look of horror) & her 'twirliest skirt' in her bag, to cover all bases, & promised we would look on eBay for a ballet leotard. She was v keen to have a frothy skirt, wrap over cardi etc. She even put clip on earrings on for school that morning.

She does love dancing but you can see it's more about the outfits & shoes (which she wore ALL weekend afterwards) than the ballet itself. Her 1st comment after the lesson was,

"Mummy they have this changing room which is so lovely. It's full of pretty dresses & costumes for different ballets. It was all she wanted to talk about!

My children get a lift on Fridays so both my son & daughter were dropped off at the ballet school, & I drove to meet them there from the other side of town. However I didn't reckon with the lunch time trafic & got there half an hr after it started. Other mums told me this is ballet Albanian style, it is1 1/2 hrs long (for 5-7 yr olds??) & even that is a concession, when normally Albanians expect you to have lessons three times a week. She also locks the door so parents can't watch once she has started.

So I couldn't get in & rescue my poor son. I was armed with books to read, Nintendo, conversation, as it's too far to go away & come back; but he was trapped in there for the full 1 1/2 hours. I felt terrible. I went & did some shopping & chatted to the other mums. Finally it was time to collect them. We were greeted by the instructor(? What do you call these people, Madame?)

I was 1st in, to get my 9 yr old & apologise profusely for having made him wait so long with 10 little girls,& lots of pink froth & prancing as they did their butterfly impressions.

The ballet teacher greeted me with, "Your son's very gifted."

And around the corner popped my son grinning from ear to ear. He had decided he might as well join in as he was getting bored waiting, & loved it, & now wants to join the class himself. ....

"I can't wait to tell my classmates I'm doing ballet" he said, & added;

"Can you look on ebay for a leotard for me too, mum?"

I love the fact that my son is such a mixture & is very much his own person. He doesnt worry remotely what anyone thinks of him, but sometimes I think he has no sense of self preservation...

My husband took it surprisingly well, all things considered, & who knows, it may improve his footballing skills....

Meanwhile what's the boy's equivalent of a ballet tutu? Just wondering what to put in the ebay search engine....


nappy valley girl said...

My nephew and niece both do ballet and really enjoy it. I think a lot of boys probably do, given the chance. Is he too young to watch Billy Elliot?

Personally I was absolutely useless at ballet (I gave up after a few classes, aged six) but I love watching it and my sister enjoyed it for years.

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

I was HOPELESS at ballet. Was eventually asked to leave after throwing the most massive strop about not wanting to wear the ballet costume (NVG this was in the States so beware!).

But a boy who can dance. The girls are going to LOVE him! The male version of swan lake, the only ballet I have been to, had my female friend and I totally overexcited. And he'll be great at football too.

BTW Adam's favourite colour is pink and he comments on all the clothes that I put on. You have to love a boy that doesn't care less about what people think of him, and I'm glad that he decided to give it a go. What a great little lad!

Mwa said...

That's just lovely! I think my son would love that kind of thing too and just wouldn't because he's so scared to be laughed at. That's no good either.

London City Mum said...

I always remember being told by the PE teacher at primary school (it was co-ed) that male ballet dancers were stronger, fitter and more agile than your average athlete as not only did they have to be able to jump from standing to great heights (with grace), but also lift fully grown women (again, with grace) and not bat an eyelid.

The boys in our class shut up after that. And ballet for boys took on a whole new dimension.

I think it is brilliant that your son wants to join in.


Iota said...

Billy Elliot is one of my favourite films.

I am fascinated by the fact that your daughter did all the girlie stages without any models to follow. It can't really be in the genes, can it? You might get asked one day to take part in some kind of psychological study with her.

Tanya said...

Mac started dancing (American Jazz)at 4 -about the same time he began drama- there were quite a few boys in the class, in the school for that matter but then it was taught by a male teacher. He began ballet at 7 (the only boy in the school at the time)and aced the three exams (highly commended and two times honours- very unusual for a boy so his teacher said-he sat before we moved to Samoa. He hasnt had an official dance class since he was 10 (hes 15 now) but totally rocked his PE class dance module this year- quite a big deal in the IB system apparently- and has the girls falling all over him. According to him (and his male teenaged friends) in todays world it pays to be able to dance boy or girl but then they are heavily into music, drama and movies etc.

Our All Blacks (NZ rugby team) have done ballet exercises for years now. They take pilates classes with the NZ ballet too (when Mac was dancing I saw them).

Paradise Lost In Translation said...

NVG gd for them. Think he is too young for Billy E. Lots of F-ing & Blinding
Brit, yes it's one of the traitt sI find most endearing abt him, that he is his own person & doesn't worry what people think. I just wish I was more like that! He always notices what I wear & comments too. V sweet:o)
MWA, yes I'm pleased he wnts to give it a whirl. Maybe if your lad finds a friend who wants to dance then he'd feel free to join them
LCM- yes another (sailing) friend told me serious sailors often learn ballet for agility & balance on their boats. I know male ballet dancers have to be seriously strong. All these athletes who keep it quiet they do ballet. I never knew!
Iota you tell me! I agree it CAN'T be in the genes in that way it's very weird.
Tanya, I can't wait to tell my husband. He LOVES rugby & love sthe ALL BLacks. He thinks they are in a class apart in terms of their skill/ability & athleticism.
It's also true girls love a guy to be able to dance, & very few can (of my generation anyway) Maybe they are again now.