What age should my child start ballet classes?
Most teachers agree that it is good to start as soon as your child shows an interest. Of course, formal ballet classes require kids to be old enough to understand and follow instructions, as well as having the coordination to attempt some of the moves. Most sources agree that four or five is a good time to start. However, if you take a look at our activities page, you’ll find plenty of ballet and dance classes for younger children, including babies and toddlers. These classes are more about developing balance, agility and coordination and are likely to involve things like skipping and moving to music - all of which build the foundations required before starting more structured classes.
Are ballet classes good for children?
Ballet classes teach children discipline, self-control, confidence, and body awareness at an early age. According to The Child Development Institute, as well as being great for discipline and body control, ballet helps young children to learn to follow instructions and become more comfortable with performing in front of others. It also keeps them active - which has all kinds of benefits for both mental and physical health.
Ballet classes are also the foundation of many other types of dance - so they can be a great way to get started.
Are ballet classes for boys and girls?
Absolutely! As parents, it's important that we instill in our children that they - girls and boys alike - can do anything they put their minds to. Shows such as Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing on Ice have put dancing firmly in the public spotlight and shown us that dancing is not just for girls. Many classes are mixed - with boys and girls learning the discipline together, while others are boys-only, in a bid to increase the number of boys going into the sport. The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), which launched a boys-only masterclasses in 2014 and also runs two-day workshops called Boys Only!, has recently invested £30,000 in encouraging boys into the sport, resulting in an increase of more than 20 percent in the numbers taking part in its boys’ ballet activities in the first year of the programme.
What should my child wear to ballet classes?
If you’re a regular reader of Pebble blogs, you know that we always recommend caution when it comes to investing in any kind of kit for your kid's activities. Always try out the class first, and make sure they’re committed to going back before you splash any cash.
For the first few classes, wearing something comfortable and non-restrictive is the most important thing. Leggings or shorts and a t-shirt are usually fine for both girls and boys. If they stick at it, some ballet classes will have their own uniform or leotards. If not, online shops like Decathalon and Sports Direct do dance and ballet kit at reduced prices.
How do I choose the right ballet shoes for my child?
For many teachers, investing in ballet shoes is more important than any other type of kit. Dancing barefoot can cause too much friction (think sweaty little feet sticking to floors!), while dancing in socks can be too slippery. However when it comes to ballet shoes, the choice can be overwhelming. They usually come in a choice of Satin, Canvas, or Leather in pink, white, ivory, and black, with a choice of a ribbon or elastic fastening. Teachers will often have a preference, so it is worth asking for advice before you buy anything.
When buying ballet shoes for a beginner, the most important thing is that you know the difference between a ballet slipper and a ponte - ponte shoes are the ones with a box over the toe which must be professionally fitted. Ballet slippers are the only shoes that should be worn by beginners. Soft blocks will be worn if they progress to exams. As they grow, boys and girls may need different types of shoes (boys tend to be wider, and without ribbons) but, at a young age, they’re generally the same. Our top advice is to consult your dance teacher about their preferred shoe type, as well as their preferred colour.
What activities can we do at home to improve my child’s ballet?
Realistically, any kind of movement that helps to keep kids fit and healthy is a great help for their ballet training. You don't need any special equipment to help them practise ballet moves at home - push the furniture aside or use the garden, make sure the floor isn’t too slippery, and use the back of a dining chair as a barre. If you don't know your first position from your third, or a plie from a pirouette, this article from Dancewear Central can give you the info you need to give your little dancer some encouragement.
Where can I find kids ballet lessons near me?
Simply check out our list of suppliers, which can be filtered by location and age, to find ballet classes that are close to home. If we don't currently have a supplier in your area, then let us know, or check back soon. Our team is constantly adding new suppliers to make sure that Pebble helps you to find children’s activities near home.