A Guide to Ballet for Kids and Parents
Enrolling your child in ballet classes can be one of the most exciting things for parents and children alike. But it can also be accompanied by feelings of anxiety, which is completely normal for a new activity. After all, you want to be completely prepared in order to get your child off on the right foot.
In order to have a concrete action plan and provide your child with the best experience possible, you should consider some key items. To this end, we’ve prepared a guide to allow you to navigate the dance world with the same ease and grace your child will eventually show (with a little time and hard work) in ballet.
Getting Ready for Ballet Class in Toronto
When getting ready for a ballet class, your child’s clothing and appearance are two of the most important considerations. Having the correct attire lends itself to a child being more amicable to the more focused aspects of structured learning. Furthermore, if your child feels good, they will perform better. Other considerations, like flexibility and bringing a positive attitude towards the classroom, are also important.
What to Wear
Functional clothing is a prerequisite for learning to dance. There are many different types of clothing available for sale, but the best plan of action might be to start with the basics, and then build from there. If special costumes or additional items are required, you are better off acquiring them as needed rather than stockpiling items with the possibility they will remain unused or unneeded.
Female students should wear a leotard and pink tights. It is recommended that your child have at least two leotards. Male dancers will require a white t-shirt and black leggings. All clothing items can be purchased from a dancewear shop, either in store or online, however you may prefer to buy in-person in order to try different sizes first.
Girls typically wear pink ballet slippers; boys require either black or white slippers. You must make sure that the slippers fit correctly: snugly, but not too tightly, as the toes should be able to move around. Shoes can also be half a size larger than the normal shoes your children wear, as this will allow for growth; however, it is inadvisable to wear shoes that are too large.
Ballet shoes are either made of leather or canvas, with leather being the more expensive option. As long as the shoes are correctly sized, the material of construction is about personal choice based on “feel.” Know that canvas shoes will be easier to clean, as they are machine-washable. If you have younger children, you may look for ballet shoes that have pre-sewn elastics on them.
Ideally, girls’ hair will be pulled back, very neatly into a bun. This is where the term “bunheads” comes from. There are a variety of ways to achieve this hairstyle, but one simple method is to brush your child’s hair until it is smooth; form it into a ponytail; then using an elastic or hair wrap to secure their hair tightly near the top of their hair. This is the classic ballerina bun, although many other variations are functional. If boys are sporting longer hair, it too, should be pulled back.
Besides musicality, flexibility is a major component that is necessary to excel at ballet. Flexibility throughout the body’s different ranges allows a dancer to more easily attain certain ballet positions.
A knowledgeable instructor will lead dancers through stretches at the start of class, and prescribe additional work if a dancer opts to improve their rate of progress. Be aware that mobility must be achieved while following guidelines for safety and that there are optimized methods to stretch that should be paid attention to. Strength and control are equally important in development. Overstretching a young dancer can be dangerous and cause damage to young hips, as well as other bones.
The best thing that you can do as a parent is cultivate a positive attitude for your child’s growth within dance. Whatever their journey in ballet holds for them, it’s important to remember to take the time to savour and enjoy each moment as your child progresses through various stages. Any student will have days both good and bad, and they will occasionally need support and direction in order to keep them focused and engaged.
It is a great joy for every parent to witness their child progress from learning the basics to mastering more advanced concepts within ballet. To know that you were a part of their journey and watch them fly across the stage can bring the deepest feelings of contentment imaginable.
Our Staff Can Help You at Our Convenient Studio
If you don’t know or understand every single convention of ballet, don’t worry. The job of a good studio is to both introduce concepts involved in dance, and to continually encourage deepening awareness throughout your child’s journey within the arts. It is up to the instructor and studio to offer a positive learning environment, and a culture of supportive peers so that your child can flourish. Our staff at Performing Dance Arts is specially trained to help answer all of your questions, and help you as your child progresses through dance.
Enrolling your child in ballet classes is a great idea. With 25 years of excellence in ballet training, Performing Dance Arts is the ideal dance academy for any child who wants to learn ballet. We are proudly celebrating our fifth year in our Vaughan location, with a new dance studio that opened in Etobicoke this year. Other programs we offer include our competitive dance teams, as well as beginner lessons in jazz, tap, ballet, hip hop, and acro. To learn more about our ballet training, as well as the the amazing programs we offer, contact us or drop by to visit our studio today.
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