Dads who accompany their sons to ballet classes are to be banned if they use abusive and threatening behaviour from the side-lines. The move has come after complaints by other parents and ballet teachers that children are being pressurised and officials threatened by a growing number of angry fathers.
An increase in anti-social behaviour off the dance-floor has led to schools up and down the country banning parents from attending rehearsals. One ballet school described how a female teacher was physically assaulted during a rehearsal of Swan Lake.
“A rather bull-necked gentleman leaped onto the stage and told her to ‘watch her f****king step or else’ before cuffing his son across the ear.
Despite the teacher’s attempts to bring the rehearsal back to order the irate father began to pace up and down front stage yelling at his son to ‘Shake his f****king feathers’, ‘Chase ‘em down!’ and ‘Get stuck in!’ causing a group of cygnets to scatter into the wings in tears before he grabbed the teacher by the throat.
Speaking later in his defence at Maidstone Magistrates’ Court he outlined what had happened.
“Look, I might not be a qualified ballet teacher but when Charlie was told to perform a frontal Grande Battement straight after he’d come out of that Grand Jeté, I personally thought that was a step too far. As I saw it, he had time to do a couple of pliés before chasing after them cygnets. It’s logic. Besides which it really got my goat.”
A spokesperson for the National Ballet Association said, “Whilst we understand that parents can get a little excited in the heat of a ballet performance there is no room for abusive behaviour. As a result, only boys with double-barrelled surnames will be admitted to ballet schools in future and anyone called ‘Elliot’ will have to contend with contemporary dance.