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Ballet Talk for Dancers
danceintheblood

What led your child to ballet?

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danceintheblood

I sent off dds first audition forms last night and was reflecting on her ballet adventure so far and its oh so humble beginnings and became curious about how other dks started off.

 

Our story:

Husband and I had taken a sea-change and moved to a small coastal town (population 1500) when dd was two, myself to run a restaurant and husband to write the "great Australian novel " :P ). When dd was 4.5years old, a couple moved to the town, he to run a fishing charter business. His wife (whose name I can't remember for the life of me) was a former dancer and a ballet teacher. She decided to run classes for kids five years old and over and had a local seamstress make up little pink skirts with pink ribbon trim. These were covetted by the little girls and I certainly caught dds eye!

 

Within a short time, dd was begging to start classes but had to wait until she a) turned five and :P finished soccer season. The birthday week arrived, the skirt, leotard and ballet shoes were presented and she went to her first class. Classes were held in the local town hall -a very old weatherboard building with an ancient timber floor.

 

At the end of the year we watched dd in her first 'ballet performance'. A love affair had begun.

 

We moved back to the city when dd was seven and she has now been with her current studio for five years, years that seem to be flying by! :thumbsup: Her little five year old cousin started classes this year and is now proudly wearing that same little pink skirt to classes!

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LRS

Dd started taking dance class when she was 3. All of her friends were boys and I figured she could meet some little girls that way! She came home from her first class disappointed because they didn't "dance". She wanted to wear a tutu and perform on stage!

 

11 years later dd still wants to wear a tutu and perform on stage! She has many wonderful ballet friends that she has met over the years. Girls and Boys! :P

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calamitous

DD was a relatively late starter to dance who ended up there almost by chance. We moved to the city we live in now when DD was in third grade. In the previous home town she had done karate and soccer (and an array of other sports/games). When we moved DD auditioned for a musical and got a lead part - who knew she could sing and act. After that she begged, rolling on the floor pleading, to let her go to the public performing arts school.

 

Well for the school the little ones (4th grade) were required to audition for all the arts areas and she was accepted in to dance, in addition to vocal arts, drama and orchestra. When we registered for school we had to rank our choices of the arts the kid was accepted into. So we put dance as 3. She started ballet in 4th grade and has loved it since. Now going into 8th grade next year she has been accepted into the schools' performance group, jumped up a class level and was accepted into her first SI.

 

We struggle to battle ballet and music theatre now, but for the next several years (no real professional theatre parts for teens) it looks like we will be dancing.

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Marenetha

Knock knock:

 

I started ballet through my preschool at the age of three. :P It was actually a surprisingly good school--sent 3 or 4 girls a year off to the Royal Ballet School (this was located in downtown Tokyo)--but it wasn't exactly any sort of training at age three, just 'pretend you're a butterfly' and whatnot.

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Mrs. Stahlbaum

Although this is not what led to her taking her first class, dd says that Gelsey Kirkland in the Nutcracker video is what made her want to dance. I've heard of plenty of other dancers who were thus inspired. From what I've read, I don't think that the making of that video was especially magical and fairy-tale-like....but in some ways I guess it ended upwith a storybook ending because the performance inspired so many young dancers, even years after it was made.

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Lily

We had just moved to a new town and a new dance studio was opening right down the street. Dh and I thought it would be a great way for dd to meet some friends in the neighborhood. Dd was 5 and took tap,jazz,lyrical, ballet combo classes for a year (yes, dolly dinkle). Ballet was required at this school in order to be on the "dance team". All the other students grumbled about it - dd never did and could never understand why nobody wanted to take ballet.

 

We never gave dd's interest in ballet much thought (she played on the travel soccer team) until her ballet teacher approached us and told us we had to find dd a different school. She was almost 8 at the time. Her teacher actually took us to another school (only ballet) and arranged for dd to take a class. The owner of the dolly dinkle was not very pleased. We were grateful for her teacher's kindness. Her first teacher still comes to see dd in performances - and I thank her every time!

 

Lily

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sujet59

I have taken ballet classes for many years. Most of my performing experience has been in musical theater. When I was pregnant with DD I continued to take ballet classes until I was about 7 months along. After DD was born and through her toddler years, I would take her to my adult ballet classes where she would quietly sit in her stroller and watch very intensely. She would applaud for the class after every exercise (plies, tendus, etc.) or variation. It was quite funny. The other students loved having her as an audience. She applauded whether the variation went good or bad. She loved us no matter what.

 

Before DD entered kindergarten, I performed in a lot of musical theater. DD would come with me to rehearsals and also sit quietly in the house or with the musical director in the pit and watch and listen intensely. Once in awhile I or other cast members would find her acting out a part or dance by herself in a corner or in front of the rehearsal mirrors.

 

When DD was about 6 years old I decided it was time for her to take ballet. Seriously, did she really have a choice? I was afraid that maybe she won't like it. Well, she is now 16 years old and ballet is her passion. She has developed into quite an elegant classical ballerina.

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ami1436

Knock, knock --

 

Mrs. Stahlbaum hit the nail on the head with me! I saw the Kirkland Nutcracker (or should I more accurately say the Baryshnikov Nutcracker???) on PBS when I was maybe three years old, and fell in love. I had already developed a penchant for various acting/singing/etc displays for attention... And the Nutcracker gave me a new idea: I could dance! On the Coffee Table! (Luckily it was a very sturdy coffee table - my folks still have it in their house!). When mum realised that this new hobby was not a passing phase, I was packed up and sent off to class!

 

The funniest part is that I felt very shy with the prospect of just a leotard (well, I just had a one-piece swimsuit at that time) in class, and insisted on keeping my t-shirt on underneath it, making for a very lumpy-looking little dancer! :)

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Siegelife

That is so wonderful Mrs Stahlbam and Ami1436!! I had always been a fan of Gelsey and Baryshnikov, of course Nutcracker. So, at Christmas time I used to always look for it on TV. It became a tradation to watch Nutcrackers on TV before Christmas. Then I found it on VHS and now DVD!!!! So exciting. I guess DD took notice. We then went to see the local Nut that was put on by her school. That was it. She was enrolled three years ago at seven. It's so wonderful to see how much she has grown and progressesd over these past three years. You can see how much she truely enjoys what she does. It has given her so much self-esteem and has made her a very proud little girl. Gelsey is still around in our household much more than around Christmas now.

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msd

It was a local Nutcracker for DD -- when she was three, we decided to attend the local company's performance of Nut. I made a deal with my husband -- if he'd distract her as needed so I could watch Act I, I'd take over the walking-in-the-lobby duties so he could watch Act II. Well...I ploppedd DD on my lap...and she did not budge during the entire performance. The version that was danced that year had Clara come to the living room to sleep w/her nutcracker on the floor. When we got home, my 3 year old went on strike -- she, too would sleep on the floor until we found her dancing lessons.

 

So...I headed out and found a movement class for preschoolers. She hated it -- "I don't want to be an airplane, mommy -- I want to dance." We were lucky. I stumbled into a studio that was perfect for young dancers -- still creative movement, but beginning to immerse the kids in the language and music of ballet.

 

When she was about 8, I noticed some resistance to the once-a-week class (we had moved across town, so had switched to a different school). I figured that the "ballet thing" was over, and started to question what sort of activity she thought she might like after the current semester ended. She told me that she loved ballet, and needed somewhere "more serious". So we headed off to look at the pre-pro school.

 

Since then, she has danced in that company's Nut three times, is looking at increasing her hours at the studio next fall. It's not a path I would have imagined for her, and certainly not starting so young...but this has been her drive and her focus. I can think of worse! :)

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2thepointe

True story: At age 2 1/2, dd, still in diapers, also watched the Baryshnikov Nutcracker on video. She pointed to the ballerinas and said, "Mommy, I do that!". I told her that none of the ballerinas in the Nutcracker wore diapers and that when she was potty-trained, I would take her to dance class. Needless to say, just 2 and a half weeks later she was fully potty-trained and put the Nutcracker video in the VCR. She pointed to the ballerinas and said, "Mommy, I do that now?" I took her to the dance studio the next day. :)

 

2thepointe

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Renata

Similar but not the same. My DD had friends who were in the professional ballet company’s Nutcracker. When we saw them, she said, “I’d like to do that too.” The next year she was in a car pool and a “party girl”. She has never looked back. Of the original 4 who were in that car pool, 2 are serious dancers some 7 years later (the other 2 are not dancing at all).

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Redstorm

DD started her first class at age 10. She took one class a week for her skating. For the first 6 months it was one class a week, then two. She was moved very early to the older class where she was challanged to move up quickly. Within the year she was up to 3 classes a week. Skating started to take a beating and she eventually quit at 11 1/2. She was still taking her 3 classes a week and had some rehearsals added in for local performances. The winter, after she turned 12, she wanted to audition for SI's. We had no idea what to expect. 3, sometimes 4 classes a week....technique only with a 1/2 hour of pointe before one of the classes. :) DD would wear her pointe shoes during barre for extra practice. I knew nothing of ballet and thought this was normal. :D Auditions went well, she went off to her first SI and realized this was her dream, passion etc... She came home, announced she had horrible technique and needed to change schools...fast. I had been on this board for a while by this time and realized the same thing. We moved to a school with excellent teachers who tore apart her previous training and had her start over. Auditions this year were much better and she is off again...

The rest is yet to come.............

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gsmom

When my DD was 3&1/2 she watched--in it's entirety--a DVD of Swan Lake with Nureyev and Fonteyn. "I want to be a dancer!" was what she said after it was over.Shortly after that she started "lessons" at our pre-pro school and 5 years and a couple of Nuts later,she's still going strong. At the time I had popped the DVD in hoping to get maybe 15 minutes to myself--never expected her to SIT and watch the whole thing... :)

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rubiraven

I have told our story before but.... My DD's biological mom did jazz and modern dance as did her sisters. She started DD in a free movement class when she was 3 and then she passed away a few months later. My husband saw the performance and decided that ballet was what he wanted her to do. She was at a good studio at age 7, this was when I married my husband but she told me that she wanted something more. I can't dance but I can research so we moved her to a new studio at age 8 and at 15 she was at the University of Utah in the high school concurent enrollment program.

 

Now she is 17 and preparing to audition in the UK. She did RAD Vocational exams (Int, Adv 1 and Adv 2) in 5 months so she could learn how "they" did it so she could hopefully fit in the UK.

 

I am amazed that her focus and drive has never wavered and we have had many adventures along the way. Dance would not have been my first choice for her but it is HER first choice :)

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