Did you know that BalletMet, through its Dance Academy, offers Early Childhood Classes? That’s right – we offer dance instruction for students from 4 to 7 years of age. Through the dance classes, young children can experience the joy of movement through musicality, creativity, coordination and social interaction.
Last Tuesday, I was able to sit down with some parents who currently have their daughters enrolled in the Creative Movement classes. These classes are for children ages 4-5. The classes open up the opportunity for the students to learn to love dance through individual expression and discovery. Simple movement sequences emphasize musicality and coordination while developing the children’s ideas and fantasies into movement and dance.
Why did these moms decide to enroll their daughters in ballet classes? For some, their daughters had expressed an interest in dance. For others, they wanted to expose their daughters to the arts. One mom commented that these are the princess years for the girls. It was hard to argue that with little girls prancing around in pink tutus! There was an overall consensus that the classes provided their daughters with a good social and structural experience. One mother said that the classes would be a good precursor to kindergarten classes.
Before the class began, you could find the girls standing in front of the studios watching the older dancers. One of the tiny dancers noted the beauty of one of the dancers in the studio by saying “Look, she’s so pretty!” Then Miss Julia (the instructor) came over and asked the girls if they were ready to dance. As they formed a little line behind her, one girl couldn’t contain her excitement and shouted “Come on guys, let’s dance!”
I followed the girls to the dance studio and was able to sit in on the class. Let me tell you what – it was one of the cutest, most entertaining things I had seen all month. On the particular day I sat in, the girls were practicing for their final performance (or, in other words, their last class where there parents were going to watch them perform). Their final performance will be ‘Four Seasons’-centric with the girls portraying different concepts for each season. This class was dedicated to Spring and flowers!
Julia made sure to not only teach the girls, but to gauge their opinion as well. At one point, as the girls were practicing their dance, Julia asked each girl what animals they might find in a flower garden. Some girls said ladybugs, some girls said rabbits. One girl said a giraffe! The girls were then asked to pretend to be each animal they had guessed. While giraffes may not frequent any flower garden you’ve ever seen, she made sure to include it as an animal they pretended to be.
After the class, I had the privilege of speaking with some of the tiny dancers. While most of the girls were shy around me, a few spoke up when I asked what their favorite thing about the class was. The smallest girl of the bunch told me that she really liked dancing with her friends, echoing the mothers’ sentiment that the class provides a good social experience.
Overall, it seemed like the girls really enjoyed being part of the class. Laughter and giggles accompanied the enjoyment you could see in their faces as they danced around the studio. After watching the class, I’ve already made the decision that my future daughter will most certainly be enrolled (as long as she wants to be).