Ballet lessons are a wonderful way for children to reap the health benefits of dance as well as learn self-discipline and body control. Any child can enjoy the beauty and grace of ballet dancing, regardless of age, body size or fitness level.
Ballet is a form of exercise that requires the dancer to work many of the major muscle groups at once. Ballet lessons also promote strength, flexibility and balance as ballet dancers must learn how to properly control every part of their bodies while holding perfect posture.
Ballet helps to foster a positive self-image in children as it enforces self- confidence, self-discipline, poise and grace. A child introduced to dance at an early age is also likely to develop a love of the arts and a passion for rhythm and movement.
The first ballet classes will introduce your child to the basic positions and techniques of ballet. He/she will be taught how to hold their body correctly, including how to hold their hands and how to point their toes. They will practice simple skills such as skipping and jumping to improve their coordination and flexibility.
Pre-ballet classes are sometimes offered to dancers between the ages of 4 and 8. Most teachers believe that the attention spans of 3 year olds are too short for a class and prefer parents to wait until a child is at least 4 years old. Pre-ballet classes have become quite popular in private dance studios and the classes are often loosely organized and simple. Children may be encouraged to move around the room to the rhythms of different styles of music as a way to learn basic dancing moves. Some pre-ballet classes may even introduce students to the five positions of ballet, stressing the importance of proper posture.
Ballet began about 500 years ago in Italy as a form of entertainment in the courts.
The first full-scale ballet was staged in Paris on 15th October, 1581.
When ballet first started the dancers wore masks and heavy costumes that were difficult to move in.
Women weren’t allowed to dance in public until 1681.
The word Ballet comes from the word “dance” in Latin.
There are four levels of dancers in a ballet company. At the bottom is the largest group, called the ‘corps de ballet’. Next are the ‘corphees’ who lead the corps de ballet and sometimes dance the smaller parts. Then there are the ‘soloists’ who dance alone. And at the top are the ‘principals’ who dance the lead roles.
A male dancer lifts over 1-1/2 tons worth of ballerinas during a performance. That’s like lifting 1,350 big bags of sugar!
Pointe shoes are handmade. Their toe boxes are painted or "blocked" with glue, then baked in ovens to stiffen and strengthen them. Some professional dancers can go through 20 pairs of ballet shoes a week; in fact, some can wear out a pair of pointe shoes in one hour. On average, England's Royal Ballet troupe goes through 15,000 pairs of pointe shoes a year!
Before a ballet class you rub ‘rosin’ on your shoes to stop them from slipping. This is a yellow powdered crystal that comes from pine trees and is the same substance that cellists, bassists and violinists rub on their bows to improve their instruments’ sound.
A prima ballerina can complete 32 fouette turns (a complicated turn where they whip their leg around), while staying in exactly the same spot on the floor. After the turns, her pointe shoe tip is hot to touch and it is so worn out that it is only then used in rehearsals.
You DO NOT have to be tall and thin to be a ballerina.
Key questions to ask the ballet school:
Do they follow a dance syllabus and enter children for ballet exams?
How many other children are in the class? Is it mixed gender?
What is the studio space like? Can you go and have a look at it before you sign up?
Is there a strict dress code? Usually children are expected to wear specific leotards, tights, shoes, costumes etc. You should allow for this in your budgeting costs. Do you need to purchase these items before your child starts their ballet lessons or can he/she wear their own clothes initially in case they decide not to continue?
The English National Ballet is one of the world's great ballet companies.
De Ballet is a network for people who love ballet.
The Ballet Association gives active support to the Royal Ballet companies and promotes interest in all aspects of their work.
The British Ballet Organisation has devised a safe and developmental program of dance study.
The British Theatre Dance Association for teachers and examiners.
The qualifications depend on where you go to dance. However here are some example of the exams / qualifications available:
The British Ballet Organisation (BBO) has devised a safe and developmental programme of dance study that recognises students’ progress and achievement through taking examinations. The BBO provides an Examination Syllabus in Classical Ballet, Tap, Jazz and Modern Dance which has been designed to accommodate a wide variety of candidates of different ages, experience and levels of achievement.
British Theatre Dance Association (BTDA) offer the following qualifications for ballet:
The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) offers an internationally recognised portfolio of examinations and assessments. Students may start with the Pre-School Dance Curriculum, move up through Pre-Primary and Primary levels and then into eight Graded levels or six Vocational Graded levels. Students may move from the Graded pathway to the Vocational Graded pathway at an appropriate time or they may study both pathways simultaneously.
The International Dance Teachers’ Association is one of the world’s largest examination boards, covering the full spectrum of dance examinations on a global scale, with over 7,000 members in 55 countries.
Ballet is a great way for a child to keep fit, strengthen core muscles and a lovely way for him/her to explore their imagination through the magic of dance. They gain a sense of self-confidence and pride in their bodies and what they can accomplish through practice.
The skills learnt in ballet are useful for other forms of dancing like tap or jazz if they want to try something different at a later stage.
Anna Pavlova (1881-1931) was one of the most celebrated and influential ballet dancers of her time. Her performances in La Fille Mal Gardée and The Dying Swan were critically acclaimed and inspired many future generations of dancers.
Mikhail Baryshnikov (born January 27, 1948) is a Soviet-born Russian American dancer and choreographer, one of the greatest ballet dancers of the 20th century.
Margot Fonteyn (1919-1991) is known as the greatest English ballerina. She was born in Reigate, Surrey. Her most famous partner was Nureyev.
Darcey Andrea Bussell CBE (born April 27, 1969) is a retired English ballerina. She was Principle Dancer at the Royal Ballet School and is considered to be one of the greatest English ballerinas of all time. She attended her first ballet lessons only because her friends were going and often spent more time under the piano then actually doing the ballet class!
A ballet dance video. "Anaheim Ballet: More Than Dance..."
Young ballet dancers audition for the London Children's Ballet 2009 production of Snow White (Peacock Theatre, in London's West End).
Children between 7 and 11 years old performing a little choreography for their parents – very sweet.
An insight into the English National Ballet.
Ballet classes: Getting back to the pointe - Jasmine Malone re-visits the ballet classes of her childhood but there’s not a pink tutu anywhere to be seen!
No-nonsense: Choosing ballet schools for boys - A great article to help you chose a ballet school for your son.
HI BUTT FACSE
Hi everyone I am tala sorry for what was written in the top but know I will tell u what do I think about Ballet. Ballet is a great sport it is fun that I think small kids in my age should try playing it cause it has a great future + it gives us something like gymnastics I advice everyone to dance ballet. Thank you :)
Ballete is very fun and active thing I think that ballete is a very fun sport
I think that it is quite sad and depressing when you read people's opinions on this page because every single one has either a spelling mistake or a grammar mistake. Just saying. But anyway this is quite an informative site. Thanks, JOLLYROGER182
i say i think it is very great is awsome.
This a very detailed site but it could have more, i'm not saying it's bad i'm saying that it is AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
i say that ballet is cool and awesome and I am happy in did ballet
-?I love Ballet?-
i love ballet