Three Truths About Ballet:
What is "ballet" ? To the majority of the public, ballet summons up a picture in one's mind of fluffy tutus, glittering tiaras, shiny pink pointe shoes and silly giggling girls. That is the child's dress-up play version of what ballet really is. Ballet requires much more than being able to play dress up. Learning to dance does not work like school; where everyone is put in a class with people their same age and they all move along through life at roughly the same pace. There isn't a magic age where you magically get you pointe shoes. Everyone does not graduate into being a "professional" all of a sudden when you are done going through the levels of ballet classes. If you are interested in learning a little bit about what being dedicated to ballet looks like, we have compiled a short list of answers to three huge questions that we get asked the most. We are here to work with both the students who wish to dance has a fun after-school recreational activity, as well as to train up young ballet dancers who are hoping to become paid ballerinas one day. Ballet is surely fun to all of our students and we are here to share in that fun with them as they grow from small children into beautiful and graceful young ladies.
Pointe shoes are awarded to students who have developed both their bodies and their minds correctly. Each student takes their own time to develop. We cannot rush into pushing our children into pointe shoes simply because of their age. Injuries occur most in students who's muscles, bone structure and minds have not matured or strengthened enough to handle the grueling pains of pointe shoes. Not only does a child's understanding of ballet terminology and execution of the steps need to be very fine tuned and consistent, but their muscles and bones need to have developed correctly as well. In order for a young dancer to progress into receiving her pointe shoes, she must be in ballet class more than one to two hours a week; she must do it for more than just a recreational activity. The execution of ballet steps needs to have become second nature to her so that when she puts her pointe shoes on, the shoes only enhance instead of hinder her movements. A student looking to receive her pointe shoes needs to have a close relationship with her teacher and her teacher should know her body. By being able to observe a student's body several hours each day, a teacher gets to understand how the student is developing, can work through weaknesses and help the student strengthen both her mind and her body. "Twelve" is merely an estimate of when a person's body should be mature enough to handle the stresses that pointe work places on muscles and bones.
The majority of our youngest students are grouped together based on age because it is scientifically proven that during specific age ranges, certain abilities, both mentally and physically either have or have not been developed yet. During our two classes specifically designed for young children, we help nurture and build and sometimes even speed up a process that is already taking place inside your young child's body. At these young ages, we have a base curriculum to teach and work with them on, but as their teachers, we take our cues from the class at hand and guide our students according to the abilities of the whole class. If a student shows that they have developed more coordination and a better understanding of how to move their body as well as how to focus their mind's better, then, regardless of age, we will move that child into a class that will better serve their abilities as a student. We will never hold a child back simply because of age. However, age does not play a part in the process of being able to move to the next level of Ballet. Ability of both the body and the mind is very important when graduating to the next level.
The reason ballet is so wonderful to watch and the reason we all covet a ballerina's gorgeous body and her endless strength and stamina is due to the fact that ballet is built around a serious striving for absolute perfection. A ballet dancer takes class to build her technique and strength from breakfast to dinner time with a small break for lunch in between. She has to take special care to keep her body at it's peak in order to be able to perform effortlessly when she needs to.