Monday, September 29, 2008

Article in Chateliane Magazine..

I found this article in an old Chatelaine magazine when I was sat at the doctors office or somewhere and I thought I would post it for you to read. I actually e-mailed Chatelaine and they dug it out of their archives for me. It is called 'My son, the dancer' by Katrina Onstad. It's an interesting read, especially for me teaching ballet and having two boys. Their Dad is pretty adamant that next year Caleb won't be joining the ballet school, whereas of course I can't wait to sign him up! I tried to get Sean to read it but he looked at the picture of the little boy sat between the two girls in pink tutus laughed and handed it back to me. So here you go, see what you think... enjoy!

My son, the dancer
by Katrina Onstad

In the pink ghetto of ballet class, the sight of boys still makes people squeamish. Let me say this: I was not trying to make a point when I signed my son up for ballet. Registering your kids for classes in Toronto is a particular kind of hell: It’s airplane-delay hell, it’s on-hold hell; it’s the hell of total helplessness in the face of one’s very best efforts. There are too many people in the city and not enough classes, so when I finally got through the online registration process, gymnastics, “creative movement” and swimming were filled. This is how my son ended up in preschool ballet. And I didn’t give it too much thought: A three-year-old boy doing ballet can’t be such a big deal, right? We’re post–The Bad News Bears; we’re even post–Billy Elliot. On the morning of our first class, I upsold: “You’re going to take ballet. You’re so lucky. You get to dance around for half an hour while Mommy reads the paper, something she hasn’t done in four years. I love ballet!” J. just looked at me, and said, “Mom, ballet’s for girls.” I felt nauseous. How had this happened so soon? Where had I failed him? An image came to mind: A dreadlocked boy who often showed up at my son’s daycare in dresses. His mother, forever breastfeeding some sibling or other, casually telling me, “He wears what he wants. Why fight it?” That kid would never scoff at ballet; he wasn’t the socially constructed cog that mine clearly was. “Nonsense!” I shouted. “Let’s go to YouTube!” I sat J. in my lap and showed him men dancing when I requested she produce in the flesh these hypothetical groundbreakers.
Nonetheless, she proved an excellent teacher. Through the window, I watched J. as he tentatively
pointed his toes and raised his hands above his head. When it came to the free dance, he went mental in the way I’d hoped, frogbouncing and pinballing. At the end of the class, he announced, “Good,” and left very happy. The next week, his father took him, reporting back that it went “great!” He paused. “Except . . . .” He said that just as J. was approaching the studio, one mom looked in and exclaimed, “It’s a sea of pink! So cute!” And then turned to see my son in his army shorts and England soccer shirt. “Oh . . . ,” she said, surprised. When I went the next week and peered through the glass between newspaper sections, I saw everyone in pairs, except my son. J. stood, bouncing on his toes with his hand out, his open-to-the-world face tilted upward. No girl would hold his hand. The pink cloud next to him, maybe four years old, squealed and ran away; so did two others. The moment was frozen for me: my son, rejected because he’s male. It seems that, at least where ballet
is concerned, the gender divide is as wide as ever, for both kids and parents. Kelly Bale, who manages the recreation programs at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, says that the school has been actively recruiting boys for years, offering all-boy classes and financial incentives simply to get the male numbers up. In the recreational program, 36 weeks of instruction for a girl is $460; for a boy, it’s $88, which just covers the costs. Even so, only about 20 percent of the students are boys. The repercussions for the art are serious: Can you imagine a ballet without men? Bale admits she’s heard stories about boys being picked on in the schoolyard. Yet at registration, it’s not the boys who are hesitating; it’s often the dads. “They’ll say, ‘He can’t do it that day. He has soccer,’” she says, laughing. “We play up the athleticism and the coordination to the parents. We say that it will supplement sports.” But why is a boy doing ballet for ballet’s sake such a scandalous idea? Clearly, there’s a whiff of homophobia in this aversion; ballet is about grace, beauty – pink. It’s feminine, and feminine is still only okay for females, unless you’re, you know, gay. But girls are encouraged to borrow from the best of masculinity with little controversy anymore, integrating hockey and football, learning power and teamwork without having their sexual identities defined. The river doesn’t seem to flow both ways. While I watched my son dancing, I thought about my daughter and how hard I’ve worked to tell her that she’s strong and smart and not just pretty and pink. But that was easy for me, instinctive, somehow, to protect her from the cages that seem poised above her head at every step. How shameful, then, to admit that when faced with the prospect of my little boy doing ballet, my first instinct wasn’t to tell him that he could be part of something sublime, that he could use his body to convey ideas, not just power. Instead, I pointed out that Superman wears tights. I told him
ballet could make him strong, like a man, not beautiful, like a woman. By masking ballet’s intrinsic importance, wasn’t I saying that beauty isn’t available to him as a boy? What else am I so casually
denying him when I keep him away from girls’ worlds? Am I, too, failing to take his hand?

Friday, September 26, 2008

An amazing moment...

Last night I was truly privileged to be present during an amazing moment.. my close friend and cousin Catherine and her partner Ralph gave birth to their first born child, a beautiful baby girl.. Lainey Beatrice Kate Priddle.

Catherine was amazing and I am so grateful that she allowed me to be there for her.. We are so very happy for Catherine and Ralph!!! Lainey is just beautiful, she has delicate features, dark eyes and a whole head of dark hair.. Catherine said 'just as I ordered'!!!

Welcome baby Lainey and good job Catherine! We love you very much! xx

Thursday, September 18, 2008

My new Suffolk Solo's....

One of the things I did this summer was go to Toronto for a seminar with Tini my ballet teacher and we stopped at The Shoe Room in Toronto, which is at The National Ballet for a pointe shoe fitting. This may not sound very exciting to anyone who is not a ballet dancer.. but it was pretty exciting. I purchased a pair of Suffolk Solos and have now retired my old Bloch's. The fitting was great, the girls there spent an hour with me while I tried on a million different pairs to get the right fit.. the end result is a great fitting pair of shoes that have WAY more support for my feet (and overweight body) than my old pair do. I had my first lesson last night but unfortunately I had cut my one big toe nail too short so it was frustrating that I couldn't do too much on them! But there is a lot to be said for having a proper fitting and I would highly recommend The Shoe Room.. it's well worth the trip!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Q & A - Walter the Spider

I am responding to Kavita's blog about Walter the spider. I started writing a comment then realized that it would be really long!!

So is Walter outside or inside?? If it is inside I would say 'just kill the damn thing' and I like Rich would run for the insect spray... but then again you have named it :) It's really funny as I don't want bugs in my house, mice anything that shouldn't be there but my husband is like you. He can't kill a house fly, spider, nothing. He gets me to come and do it or he catches it and sets it free... We were watching this 'verminator' show on the discovery channel or something last night and they were catching rats in this barn, I was totally grossed out that they had caught bucket fulls of rats, but Sean however was most upset that these 'poor rats' were dead. (????) I say bring on the insect spray!!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Our first house.

So Sean and I are getting super excited about the new house.... if you didn't know we get the keys September 25th (17 days yay!!!!). I just love it. It was built in 1914 and has been in the same family since it was built which I think is really cool. It has all the original trim and woodwork, hardwood floors and a beautiful yard. We have all kinds of plans, first is to rip out all the carpet and reveal the hardwood. Then I am thinking the bathroom and kitchen needs some love :) After that one room at a time. Like I said exciting but part of me is thinking 'arrrrggghhhh a house.. shit'. You know now I really am a responsible adult with the kids, the house, the car, the dogs, the yard, the bigger hydro bills, the renovating costs, the new roof it needs etc. etc. etc. you get the point :) Like I said super exciting but a little scary all at the same time!!!!


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