My Girls love ballet. LBG goes every Friday after school and I love peering in through the window watching her hold her little blue skirt and skipping around the room. It reminds me of my days dancing in the village hall on Saturday mornings in a crossover ballet cardigan lovingly knitted by my mother. Ballet has so many benefits to young children- strength, agility, poise, rhythm- I can’t help wondering if it shouldn’t be on the National Curriculum.
If you aren’t sure about how to get your child into ballet, here are some super tips from Prima ballerina, and star of the National Ballet, Laurretta Summerscales:
- Start Young - Children are able to dance as early as 2-3yrs of age, and the Primary Ballet Royal Academy of Dance curriculum takes students on at the age of 4yrs for their first grade exam
- Explore with music - It’s important to explore the dance opportunities available to your child, and what kind of music and natural rhythm they enjoy, from pop, to classical to hip-hop. Download a selection of popular ballet songs from the internet to play in the background of their play area, to see what sparks their interest most
- Use their Imagination – Ballet is all about telling a story through dance. The music of The Sugar Plum Fairy or Swan Lake sets the scene, and can inspire children to imagine the fantasy world around them. Encourage children to imagine they are fairies collecting flowers from the famous Giselle ballet or to dance like a swan, and create their own movements. The DVD ofBarbie™ in The Pink Shoes provides the perfect inspiration for children whilst encouraging them to follow their dancing dreams.
- Practice Exercises – Ballet is a great source of exercise, particularly in young children who are still developing their mobility in their feet and ankle strength, whilst their bones are still supple. Children absorb things very easily and are able to pick up several skills from ballet, including flexibility, creativity, a sense of timing and increased confidence. Ballet can also help with posturing and adjust the alignment of the spine and give little ones good posture for life. Practice circular movements of the feet with your children, pointing and flexing will help strengthen their ankles and improve leg to feet co-ordination.
- Encourage boys to dance – Male ballet dancers are held in high regard and it is a wonderful vocation for boys to choose, as many lead parts are offered to boys in a less-competitive environment. These positions require tremendous amounts of strength and agility.
- Find your nearest Ballet Class – Ballet is a great way to introduce structure and body discipline through body conditioning and posturing, You can find your nearest Royal Academy of Dance registered teacher by visiting the www.rad.or.uk although you may want to check out your local Church Hall / Activity centre first to try an introductory course.
We were lucky enough to be sent a copy of Barbie and the Pink Shoes ahead of it’s release on 18th March 2013 and I have to tell you that it is fabulous. The Girls loved all the ballet, I loved that they were being introduced to some classical music, and we all thoroughly enjoyed the story. I won’t give too much away but suffice to say that it all ends as it should in Barbie’s world. Even better for us, Dimples received two Barbie Pink Shoes Barbies for her birthday so both girls can play happily with their dancing Barbies whilst watching!
If you have a Barbie-fiend at home, then you will be delighted to learn that I have two copies of the DVD, along with a colouring and sticker book, to give away. That’s right, two lucky winners.
All you have to do is tell me what your favourite colour shoes are. Leave a comment below with contact details. UK entries only. Winners picked by random.org after close of competition at midnight GMT on 25th March 2013. Prize will be redrawn if there is no response after 72 hours. Prize provided directly by PR.
*disclosure: we were provided with a copy of Barbie and the Pink Shoes for the purposes of this review. *