Little I has just started ballet lessons, which has been a milestone moment for us.
From the minute I found out I was having a girl, it was a foregone conclusion that she would learn to dance as soon as she was old enough. Ballet genes run strong in my family – both of my parents were professional dancers and my mother has run the Murilova Ballet School in Bournemouth for 25 years, which luckily is within driving distance for us. So my daughter has her Granny to teach her how to dance.
Little I is the youngest in the Pre Primary class, but she keeps up with the others, possibly a touch more clumsily! It had been many years since I had observed the baby ballet class and I have been so impressed with the level of discipline. Parents are allowed to watch but they are encouraged to sit quietly on the side. A big part of ballet is good old-fashioned courtesy and respect – nowadays there are few activities for young children which enforce that.
Throughout the class the children are expected to follow the teacher’s instructions, and at times they are made to wait their turn, quietly sitting cross-legged on the floor. This might seem a bit unachievable, but it only takes a couple of classes for the most free-spirited child to understand how they are required to behave, and to say that the children enjoy it is an understatement. It is amazing how much more can be accomplished, and more fun had, when a group of pre-schoolers are encouraged to listen and follow instruction!
Ballet obviously has far more benefits aside from discipline. The children are taught musicality, poise, co-ordination and balance, as well as it being a great form of exercise and social.
But setting all of this aside, it’s been wonderful to watch the sheer joy in Little I’s face during each ballet class so far. Being the youngest, she’s usually the one responsible for the little shrieks of joy and quivers of excitement…and her first pair of ballet shoes are her most prized possession.
Also, don’t be fooled into thinking that ballet is just for girls. Currently one third of my daughter’s Pre Primary class is boys, and so there is plenty of opportunity to be giants, train drivers and soldiers…as well as fairies, flowers and butterflies!