By Mimi B.
It’s been so long since I’ve borrowed mom’s keyboard. But today I have to tell you something important.
I took my first dance classes lately and I really liked it.
The first time Mummy B. took me to the Ballet School, we didn’t know what to expect. Mummy B. passed by the school and, looking later on their website, she found out about a drop-in Creative Dance class (no need of a monthly or annual subscription) for children from 2 years old. Several slots were available like Tuesday at 11 am, perfect for us who tend to go at a snail’s pace in the morning. Payment can be made on each course ($ 18) or you can buy a card of 10 pre-paid classes for $ 160.
The school is located in a short fifteen minutes walk from home, so it’s very convenient.
For my first class, Mummy B. was authorized to stay in a corner of the room to observe and reassure me if necessary, but she should not intervene or guide me. Indeed, this course is run by three teachers (Miss Amanda, Miss Hailey Miss Haley), and they are in charge of giving instructions to the children while the parents are on the other side of the glazed room or can even (if their child is comfortable in class) go in town during the 45 minutes it lasts.
Between songs, mimes, fun games and learning exercises, I had a lot of fun. Mummy B. was worried that I could be a bit lost with this course all in English, but I’m “doing great” (Miss Amanda’s words) by observing and mimicing what the teachers and other children.
So the following classes, Mummy B. stayed outside the room with others parents, but I could see her through the windows. That reassures me and for now I keep waving at her from time to time. But it is also a moment when I forget her most of the time to focus on what teachers tell us and do my best to successfully perform the exercises.
The next step (from 3 ½ years old) is the class of Pre-Ballet, so we already learn some ballet bases. The first things are discipline: and focus: here you can’t run everywhere or shout. You have to listen to the teachers who try to teach us gently but firmly. Before each exercise, we have to watch and listen to understand what to do. Often wa have to wait in line patiently for our turn and we can begin only when the other child has completed the exercise. And no way to pass by somebody or start before another finished, a teacher catches up with us and puts us in our place … no exception to the rule! No tantrum is accepted when you receive an accessory (musical instrument, for example), nobody cares if you wanted the blue and not green, you have to accept whatyou received without whining.
Mummy B. is very satisfied with this teaching, very different from what seems to be applied to most children met at the park …
She is also happy about the premises, a real dance hall with mirrors and bars. We did not feel like in an indoor play area with flashy colors, but in a nice place where they teach an art to children. Fantasy comes from the playful tone of the teachers, selected musics and mid-recreational mid-educational exercises. For once, we are not in a special kid-designed place but we are in touch with a world a little more restrained but equally interesting and rewarding for children.
The waiting room for parents and the office are also very pretty. With lots of frame about passion for dance and pretty sentences emphasizing individual development. You really feel that here people want to give the love of dance to children and enthusiastically support their progress.
Course content is also very interesting. Ballet bases: coordination, rythm, positions of the feet, knees bent, point our toes, flex our feet… we approach the first ballet notions that are essential to any future ballerina without really thinking of it. We must stand tall and we are reminded before each educational exercise to put our hands on our hips. Sometimes you have to follow a particular route, sometimes jump an obstacle (mini-mat for example) placed on the floor or stand still when the music stops. We also sing the alphabet, count the number of children that we are (sometimes up to 20), give the colors of accessories or sing the famous american rhymes like “If you’re happy and you know it “. At the end of each course, I also get a little sticker which I bring at home like a trophy.
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As I really love this class and I always come back very proud of what I’ve learned and joyful to meet lots of other children, Mummy B. will try to take me there every week. In general, after the course, we go to the library and / or to the park, so we really enjoy our walk to downtown Walnut Creek.
Now I only need one thing to be a perfect ballerina : a suitable outfit! Although it is not mandatory, it will be in a few months if I want to incorporate the course of Pre-Ballet. Black leotard, Pale pink tights and slippers dance. Some girls come at school already dressed like that and I look forward to have my own dancer outfit.