Ballet Dads: The Next Hot Political Bloc?

April 19th, 2012  |  by  |  Published in Edumucation, Travel  |  3 Comments

Eager ballerina

One of the things I most looked forward to, after our family’s return to Brooklyn from Taipei, was taking Sasha to her Saturday-morning ballet class, held in a church in Cobble Hill. This is not because Sasha is a Natalie Portman-in-the-making. I mean, she’s a fine dancer for a 3-year-old, but she’s more into the idea of being a ballerina than actually learning her positions and pliés.

No, I like ballet class because for roughly 45 minutes, I get to hang out with the other dads who’ve brought their daughters. There’s the guy who lives across the street from me, the guy who works in a Chelsea art gallery, the graphic designer who once, long ago, came to check out my office. We talk about, well, whatever: travel, kids, art—I can’t even really remember much.

All of this is, for me, a novelty. There’s this image I’ve always had of unacquainted guys just hanging around, talking easily, and it’s an image in which I never pictured myself. I’m just not the type—too slight, too nerdy, and utterly unable to discuss that most guy-like of topics: sports. When I imagined such situations, I felt like a little kid myself.

But at ballet, it kind of works. There’s something nice about seeing everyone each week, drinking my takeout coffee and talking about iPhone apps or motorcycle trips or pre-K applications. There’s moms around, too, and we talk to them—this ain’t junior high—but there’s always some gender-based grouping off, as if the other guys, like me, relished this chance for some low-stakes, low-key male bonding. And it’s all over in 45 minutes.

In this election season, I like to imagine that we somehow form a real political bloc to which candidates should start pandering, for surely there are other ballet dads in other cities and towns and states. But then I realize: This is Cobble Hill, and we’re all just wussy liberals who are going to vote for Obama anyway.


  1. Vincent | @CuteMonsterDad says:

    April 19th, 2012at 10:33 am(#)

    You’re very fortunate to have other Dads in the mix at your daughter’s Ballet class. More times than not, a Dad taking his child to a class will find himself alone and alienated from the circle of Moms. Those 45 minutes you spend in Ballet class might not fly by quite as quickly in this scenario. Enjoy this time with the other Dads because it may not come around again.

    Wrote about Fathers Not Being Needed. Take a look won’t you? And hey, you can hear me sing an original tune!

  2. Brent Ward says:

    April 19th, 2012at 10:04 pm(#)

    I agree with the post above. I’m that dad that has to sit alone in the lounge while getting strange looks from the moms and having to keep your eyes downcast because you don’t want to be labeled as some weirdo for even appearing to look the wrong way at either another woman or one of the girls (age doesn’t matter) in the room. That’s why I usually sit in the car and stream Netflix until I absolutely have to go in there. I actually took her to class today…and there was another dad, but he looked the same as I did…eyes buried in phone, waiting to look up only when he heard his daughter’s voice, ready to leave immediately. It would be kind of cool to have other people to talk to, because Netflix gets lonely. Although, where I’m at we are all closeted conservatives who are afraid to tell people we’re going to have to vote for Romney, even though we wanted Santorum, because we really couldn’t be taken serious for supporting Ron Paul.

  3. Matt says:

    April 20th, 2012at 4:17 pm(#)

    You guys make great points: I don’t think I even realized how lucky I am not to be looked at as a weirdo at ballet class (though I’m looked at that way everywhere else in my life). But that’s NYC, where “engaged fatherhood” is the norm—yet another reason to needlessly compete and outdo each other.

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