As a young ballet teacher, I decided I want to get some experience with different groups and ages. This year I am teaching kids from the age of 3 to 18. Interestingly enough, the only group in which I have boys, is my toddlers’ group.
A couple of weeks back I was teaching, the class had started, and I had my 3 years olds sitting in a line with their back against the mirror, facing me. This is how I start every class with my little ones. I talk to them for a few minutes before actually starting. After a couple of minutes a mom I didn’t recognize walked in and called her son (a kid who had been participating in the class for a couple of months). She told him they had to go. I was a little baffled and asked her why is she pulling her kid out of the class, and pointed out that it had already started. She answered that it is because for some reason his dad had made a mistake, and decided to sign him up for ballet, though ballet is for girls.
The kid wouldn’t come, he was almost crying, he held his friend’s hand (another boy who takes the class), and said he doesn’t want to go. I told the mom that I thought she was the one who is making a mistake, her son obviously likes the class, he fits in well and has friends. I also told her I don’t think this class is for any specific gender. Her kid is 3 years old, in ballet he works on flexibility, strength, stability, athleticism, coordination and discipline, things I think are quite positive, generally speaking.
I couldn’t convince the mom, and she pulled her kid out of class anyway. I was quite shocked that parents, and especially moms still believe in such strict gender roles. I honestly believe that ballet and dance in general, is for everyone. Hopefully more and more people will share my belief.