Ask Colin: male dancers

Dear Colin,
Can you tell me what a male ballet dancer is called?
Kathy

Dear Kathy
That’s exactly what they are called – male dancers! Originally in Italy they were known as ‘ballerinos’ but this was never used outside of that country. In France they are called ‘danseurs’ and this is occasionally used in other countries, but in English speaking countries the regular term is simply ‘male dancers’. In The Australian Ballet they are also know by the rank they have obtained in the company – corps de ballet, coryphée, soloist, senior artist and our top rank, principal artist. You can learn more about our male dancers on our website.
Best wishes,
Colin

Dear Colin,
My nine-year-old son Orlando is only one of two boys enrolled in our local small town dance school.  Although he is extremely dedicated, how can we encourage his continuing involvement in dance during future years when his resolve may be tested?
Rhonda

Dear Rhonda
The main problem with learning dance in a small town dance school is the lack of competition for male dancers.  Males need to feel challenged so that they do not lose interest.  As there is only one other male in the school, I suggest that you stimulate his interest with DVDs of dance, especially ones where the male dancers exhibit athletic as well as aesthetic excellence . It would also be a good idea if his teacher occasionally rewarded his hard work by allowing him to join a higher class. Finally, ask the teacher of the school to join The Australian Ballet Buddies programme.  This allows the students of the school to correspond with a company dancer and, when the occasion arises, meet with them.  More information can be found on our website .
Best wishes,
Colin

You can email your ballet questions to Colin at [email protected]

Images: Tristan Message takes a Boys’ Day class. Photography Jim McFarlane
Kevin Jackson. Photography Justin Smith

11 December 2009

9 Responses to Ask Colin: male dancers

  1. Julie says:

    Great answer about what to call male dancers – seems as if that question comes up a lot!

  2. Mondo says:

    Who is that male dancer in the image that posted with the mirrors?

  3. Kate Scott says:

    Hi Mondo, that’s Senior Artist Kevin Jackson in the mirror photograph.

  4. birbanto says:

    Hello Colin:

    Hi my name is Alejandro I aa aged 25 started to studding ballet since 23 ive been working with royal technique adn i really love the way my body and moves have evolve this started as a hobby but i really like it but its kidn of frustrating i work as an arquitect half day the other half i do ballet i would like to keep going but maybe i get too late into, i ahve skills as flexibiliti and ahve dance for all my life in other styles but always wanted to do ballet also been trained as figure skater and gimnast, my daubt is about am i too old for ballet?

  5. Never I believe all me of all ages (stable enough) should be able to do ballet if they truel have a passion for it becuase if u do have a heart of a true dancer u wouldn’t give up no matter how old or wat apstacle gets in your way

  6. Pingback: Male Ballet Dancer Is Called | BALLET DANCE

  7. JayDanseurVancouver says:

    I think Rhonda might also be referring to

    >> the social peer group challenges often faced by boys who dance<<

    starting at around the age of 11 or 12 or so,

    whereby they can encounter merciless teasing and social disapproval from their male peers who regard any male who dances as effeminate, sissy and or gay, and contrary to prevailing macho attitudes wherein young boys and men play hard sports like football. So there can be a bit of an identity crisis,

    There is also, of course, the issue of the traditional protrusion plainly visible in the crotch of close fitting tights of male dancers, particularly from adolescence onwards and the necessity of wearing an appropriate supportive undergarment.

    So unless a boy is thick skinned and committed to doing whatever it is that he loves to do, in the face of oppositional peer pressure, there can be a tendency for some boys to withdraw from dancing. What's called for is some Billy Elliot outlook, the will to do whatever it takes to succeed and follow one's own path. Watching that movie can be inspiring. Seeing the stage musical is definitely inspiring, watching young boys perform amazing feats of artistry on stage.

    Good role modelling by more advanced male dance students and dancers can have a positive counter impact. Boys around middle school start to adopt mentors and other males (and females) whom they can look up to and emulate.

    Watching YouTube videos of male dancers of all ages can provide positive prospective as well.

  8. Amber Leigh says:

    I think that ballet is a wonderful source of exercise and I often urge others to get up and do some dancing …….just for fun sake . maybe more people should get into dance classes , for their health and for some fun. Hopefully the ballet companies of aussie will grow and all of us can at some point in time be able to see how amazing ballet can be. ( I Love BALLET ) I hope that everyone has a great xmas and year ahead. Fingers crossed for all of the people who would love to become a pro. ballet dancer

  9. Pingback: Agora é que são eles | Falando Coisa Boa

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