|Capezio Teknik Ballet Shoes in white leather.|
My son started 6th grade at his new middle school two weeks ago. The school he got into requires the kids to pick a talent that they study during the three years they are there. My son is starting his second year of ballroom dance at the wonderful Dancing Classrooms Academy in Manhattan so he picked dance as his talent at school and was accepted into the program. The students will eventually study modern dance and jazz, but they are starting with ballet, which led to an experience I never thought I’d have: Buying ballet shoes for a boy.
The teacher required all the boys to have white shoes. White? I asked my son, Are you sure it’s white? And not black? No, it was white. So last weekend we went to the flagship Capezio store in midtown Manhattan to buy him white leather ballet shoes. It felt very weird to me but no one batted an eye in the shoe department. “For boys’ ballet shoes the color choices are white or black,” the young man helping us said. None of the mothers buying dance shoes for their daughters seemed surprised that we were there and even my son seemed okay with it. He put the shoes on, stood up, did a plié, sat down, and said, “They fit.”
Where did this kid come from, I ask you? I have no dance in my background and nor does my husband. My son is completely comfortable on the ballroom dance floor doing the waltz, the tango, the swing, the rumba, the salsa, the cha cha and the foxtrot. In fact he taught me the meringue!
|The shoes with the box they came in.|
He is not bothered that there are only 5 boys in his class or that they are starting the semester with ballet. I’m not bothered either, ballet is one of those worlds that I find inherently fascinating, and part of me is thrilled my son will take some ballet and even be in the school’s production of The Nutcracker this December!
|These are full-soled shoes but you can also buy a split-sole option.|
But I worry, oh do I worry, that he might be made fun of at some point by boys who consider ballet, or any form of dance, too feminine. Reading Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys by Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson has not helped. They have a whole chapter devoted to the culture of cruelty that boys face in adolescence. A mother worries!
If you have any advice on this subject, do share it. I have been telling my son that ballet dancers—male and female—are disciplined, focused, and strong. All that worry aside, here is what I’ve learned so far about boys in ballet:
Boys wear a white T-shirt and black dance pants or tights, although in France the standard color for shoes is gray, because they prefer gray tights, or so I’ve read on the site Boys Do Ballet (another great site I just discovered is Dave Tries Ballet).
|The elasticized bow: not just for show!|
The ties in the front of the shoe are NOT just for decoration. I have been brainwashed by the fashion industry thinking they were just for show! Pas de tout! They tighten the top of the shoe. So my son tightens the bows and then sticks them under the top of the shoe as shown in the top photo.
Have you known any boys who have taken ballet?