We've registered our five-year-old son for ballet classes. Some people think this is an unusual extra-curricular activity for a little boy but our son is super-excited about dancing. A couple weeks ago we bought his uniform (black exercise pants, a white t-shirt and black slippers). My goodness, that boy looks cute in his dance clothes. He's tried them on several times over the past few days, just because he's so eager.
Our family is not terribly into sports. (Sorry Uncle Matt.) We're more interested in the arts. At the same time, we would like our kids to be involved in physical activities. Dance seemed like a good fit for us. It also doesn't hurt that dance lessons qualify for the government's active living tax exemption!
We've registered our son in a local Christian dance school. I am very cautious about enrolling our kids in a school that isn't faith-based, especially for the boys. We know we can trust the type of instruction our son will receive at the Christian studio. Modesty and strong character are stressed highly, and our son's masculinity will be affirmed. It also doesn't hurt that friends from church and school also have children enrolled in the same studio.
I think ballet provides an excellent foundation for physical development. (Much the same way I value piano lessons.) Do I expect our children to stick with ballet forever? Not really. I hope they enjoy the activity for a few years, gain some coordination and grace, get exercise, and hopefully develop a greater appreciation for the arts in general. I'd love for dance to be an activity our entire family will enjoy together.
With our son, Ben and I have stressed how male ballet dancers must be very strong and physically fit. Our little guy has really latched on to the concept. As we left the dance supply store a few days ago, his new ballet uniform in hand, he proudly marched over to the front door.
"Here Mommy," he exclaimed, "Let me open that door. I'm very, very strong you know!"