My son, the dancer?

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending a rehearsal of the Los Angeles Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” in promotion of the upcoming release of “The Swan Princess Christmas.”

Accompanied by my entourage (a.k.a. my 2 kids), I was excited for them to experience a live dance performance.  My 7 year old daughter, dressed in her leotard and tutu, has been taking dance intermittently for the last 4 years was eager to watch the rehearsal.  My 3 1/2 year old son loves everything his older sister loves and so he was also excited, even though he had no idea where he was going or what he was doing.

As we walk in the door of the studio and settled into our seats to watch the dancers warm up he turns to me and says, “Mommy, there are boy dancers?!”

This immediately got my attention.  I strive to offer my kids a well rounded life experience, making all activities available and encourage them to try whatever interests them.   As his most recent desire was to play soccer, he is now enrolled in a weekly program.

He sat for over 45 minutes intently watching the dancers, especially the male lead during the Pas de Deux.  Following the performance I asked him if he enjoyed the performance and whether it was an activity in which he wanted to participate or watch.  He responded, “Yes and yes.  And I want to get the The Swan Princess Kissmas (Translated: Christmas in 3 year old language)”

Typically, we purchase movies such as “The Swan Princess” or anything else related to princesses or dancing for our daughters, but why are we leaving out our sons?  Children’s movies offer us new perspectives on life and take us on journeys into lands far off in the imagination – aren’t these concepts we want for our boys as much as our girls?

And why can’t I buy a costume for the prince from Cinderella or even an outfit for Aladdin for whom the movie is named?  The men in these movies depict chivalry, graciousness, and virtue – qualities I want for my son.  These male leads also demonstrate that singing and dancing are desirable behaviors and the qualities of a strong and confident man.

The hope of increasing male participation in dance has been around for years as KRISTINA LINDBERGH commented over a decade ago that “the 1998 Broadway production of Swan Lake gave a thrilling, if controversial, example of what a stage full of male dancers can do when set loose from their stereotypical roles.”

Have we changed as a society? Has the stigma placed upon boys in dance classes subsided?  Maybe…

Dancing requires the same physical challenges as any professional sport – strength, agility, and flexibility which is why many athletes are turning to ballet to improve these skills off the field.

So as my son enjoys his soccer games I will continue to keep his eyes open to the many options available to keep his body active, healthy, and strong.  Whether it’s watching “The Swan Princess,” taking him to ballet classes, or just groovin’ to music in our living room dance will definitely be apart of his life as long as he desires.

“The Swan Princess Christmas” goes on sale tomorrow, November 6th.  Happy Dancing!

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