If you think your daughter, or son may be a budding ballerina then it should be easy enough for you to find local ballet lessons for them to join.
Many classes will take children from as young as two and teach them right through into their teenage years.
In the Ballet Class
Even from a young age there is often an emphasis on the technical aspects of ballet. Ballet teachers can be quite demanding and in my own experience ballet lessons may not be the ideal place for any child with a short attention span. I had the feeling that even the smallest children were treated as little adults! Not that this is necessarily a bad thing.
Lessons usually take the form of short drills to teach children specific routines, parts of a dance and when starting out how to point their toes. Repetition is often the order of the day. Although this may sound a bit boring to adults many children seem to thrive in this atmosphere as they slowly but surely pick up the steps and learn dance routines.
Children are usually grouped by age. For the very youngest children lessons usually last for about half an hour before building up to an hour as they get older. Ballet lessons usually take place after school although some schools operate at weekends as well.
Finding a Good School
In my view a good school is simply one where children enjoy going. Don't be afraid to try out a few schools in your area to find the one that suits your own child's needs the best. One question to ask is how many teenagers the school teaches. This is a good indication of pupils staying with the school for many years. Ask to sit in and watch a session and look out for calm, but assured teachers. I would also suggest checking any qualifications the teacher has. Look out for those from the Royal Academy of Dance and Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing.
If you would like your child to take ballet exams in the future it is worth checking the pass rates the school has as well.
Again speaking from personal experience from my daughter's dance group and also from discussions in shops selling ballet clothes different dance schools will have their own requirements. This can include different colour schemes and some teachers are very definite about what the children should wear.
The bill can add up as shoes wear out and children grow out of various pieces of kit.
Not all ballet or dance schools produce shows. The frequency of shows can also vary. Therefore if your child likes the idea of performing in shows then you will need to check out how often this happens before joining a school.
I was amazed just how seriously shows are taken. Teachers can show signs of strain and extra practice sessions can be the order of the day. This strain can be transferred to the children. Be prepared for plenty of rehearsals and dress rehearsals. You may also have to pay for special costumes to be made.
One of the reasons why children are taught the technical aspects of ballet from such an early age is because most schools are based around ballet examinations. The most common exams are set by the Royal Academy of Dance. There exams are broken into two sections. Those for children under 11 and those for children over 11. The exams taken by the older children are recognised in the dance world and can open doors to further education and ultimately careers in dancing. The other major exam board is the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing.
If a child shows a special aptitude for ballet then there are a number of dance schools around the country. Schools such as the Royal Ballet School offer A level and BTec courses.
You can find ballet teachers in our directory: Ballet Schools
I have been teaching ballet for several years. I think when teaching children, the approach is vitally important. I try to keep it fun whilst teaching ballet technique which is crucial for exams. Not always easy especially when as mentioned above some of the very young have a paticularly short attention span. It's important to remember that for many, ballet is an after school activity, or a rites of passage for little girls.
Posted: 25/Jul/14 at 16:02:06
I think like you say, it's really important to keep it fun for the kids but a good way for them to socialise and learn new skills
Posted: 01/Aug/14 at 16:31:30
What do you think?
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