10 commandments of a Ballet Dad

This is a wonderful little article written by a “ballet dad,” but I think it could apply to just about any activity that a child is involved with. For us, it was figure skating, and one of our (adult) daughters sent this article to her daddy today with a note that said “he was a rockstar while they were growing up!”

Enjoy and feel free to make comments:


Excellent! I especially liked the rule about not breathing during a performance. I remember a number of years ago being at a distant college where my daughter was doing a riding test to determine her qualifications for an Equine Certification program. After she and her horse made their way around the carefully laid out course and followed all the instructions coming from a matronly woman at the judges table, and had finally dismounted after a flawless ride, I exhaled and said to the other parents in attendance, “Now I can finally breathe again”.

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Yes, and this should also apply to dads whose sons take ballet. Support their dreams.

Definitely! Hear, hear! It really bothers me that in other countries (e.g., Russia), it is consider a good thing for a boy to study ballet, while in the U.S., it just doesn’t happen as often as it should, even though ballet is is one of the best workouts available, and many athletes in other sports take ballet training to increase their strength, flexibility, and agility, not to mention to have an “artistic” outlet.

Most men (and many women, including me!) have no knowledge of “how to dance.” We are totally on the sidelines at weddings or balls. What a shame, and how much we all miss because we have to “pretend” to dance by holding onto our partners and swaying back and forth.

Our family (my husband and our two daughters) has been involved with the sport of figure skating for several decades now. BOYS in the sport are a rarity, but when they do get into the sport, they can actually make good money while they are growing up! Here’s how:

Figure skaters work on a series of figure skating tests in order to advance through the levels: Pre-Preliminary, Preliminary, Juvenile, Intermediate, Novice, Junior, Senior. The skating you see on television is Senior-level skating, the most advanced. But everyone has to start at the beginning.

Ice dancers (Merle and Charlie, or Torville and Dean, etc.!) also have to pass tests to get to the Senior level of ice dancing. U.S. Figure Skating allows the skaters to test with their coach for the first few ice dance tests (same sex coaches in many cases), but as the tests become more difficult and the criteria for passing includes more “dance presentation” skills, the skaters are required to test with an opposite-sex partner (since that’s the way ice dancing is, at least at this point in history, in the competitions).

But finding a male partner to test with is pretty difficult for a lot of girls and women! We live near Chicago, and there are quite a few male ice dancers in the many rinks and figure skating clubs in the area. But throughout the rest of the country, there may not be any males who have passed their ice dancing tests.

So…the figure skating clubs PAY boys and young men to come to their rink and test with the girls who are testing.

I am not kidding. When my girls were growing up, they knew a boy in Chicago who spent most of his free weekends flying to different rinks around the country and earning thousands of dollars testing with the little girls and younger teenagers. The older he got, the more advanced he got in ice dancing, and the more valued did his partnering become! The skating clubs payed for all his expenses and the skaters paid him fees for partnering. The more advanced the test, the higher his fee!

His mother told me that he was paying for college by partnering young ladies who were testing.

Way cool, right?!


At one of our local colleges, there aren’t enough male dance majors, amd the women are learning to “lift” each other. Which takes a lot of muscle strength.

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