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Ballet Talk for Dancers
danceintheblood

What led your child to ballet?

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Clara 76

For my 15 yr.-old, it was his friend (they were 11 at the time) who had seen Riverdance, and wanted to take tap.

 

We had tried everything else ( soccer, basketball, baseball) and he never wanted to practice, and didn't seem to like the idea of 'Team' sports- he likes being the center of attention tooooo much!! (Gee, I don't know where he got that from- must be his father :angry: ) :D

 

So we thought we'd have him try tap, at least long enough to get his friend into it.

I told him he'd only have to do it for awhile, until Ryan felt comfortable. He went begrudgingly into the studio. I was worried the whole class that he'd come out at any moment and demand to be taken home...

 

But no, instead, I got berated after class- "Why didn't you make me do this before- this is awesome!!". After 1 year of tap, he decided to try ballet because he wanted to audition for Nutcracker, and we haven't looked back since. He's now had 4 years of tap and 3 of ballet, and he's attending his first SI this year.

 

And now, my little one wants to dance "Just like Bubby"!

Clara 76

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danceintheblood
but still seemed to have energy to spare.

 

tutumonkey - you could be talking about my dd! Her energy levels are amazing (if only she could pass some on to me, who seems to be always tired)! She is able to be on the move from morning to night and seldom tires!

 

As an aside, it has taken me until the past year to realise that the best friends for her are ones that have similar energy levels. I had a couple of reports from her non-dancing friends parents that their poor children were coming home exhausted after a day spent with dd. I had to have a chat with dd about recognising the signs of flagging energy and explaining that not all kids have the same energy levels as her. She now knows when to accept doing a quiet activity with a friend when they are wearing down, although still sometimes finds it frustrating when she still wants to be climbing a tree, playing tennis, or doing any sort of outdoor activity!

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Happy_in_Md

I have a video of DD age 3 with a pull-on ruffle-y tutu, pulled up under her armpits, over a leo that vainly tried to hide the 'big girl panties' dangling out the leg openings, scowling at the neighboring child who was enthralled with said tutu, and was just trying to touch it. It was the "recital" for a "creative movement" class - 12 weeks and all she could do was scowl over a folded set of arms. At the time I was appalled (but I've since sat thru enough recitals to know that is mostly the norm for age 3 CM students. LOL.)

 

We set "creative movement" aside so we could expose her to other sports, but she never enjoyed anything else more than ballet. She did well in swimming for a couple of years, but dance became a priority in middle school when she made the conscious decision to "want to dance like THAT" (as I recall, she was pointing to a video of Susan Jaffe as Kitri in DonQ.) I told her I could find her a good school and drive her to lessons but she would have to do the work. I did, she does, and sp far she hasn't looked back.

 

(Can you imagine how thrilled this kid is this year to attend Susan Jaffe's SI. Whooboy. !! Can you imagine how thrilled Dad and I were when this child was offered a multi-year scholarship at her year-round school. Whoooweeeedogggee!)

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Shanynrose

My younger DD (since my oldest has just started class) first started with jazz/acro and jazz/tap classes. My husband gave her an ultimatum - take ballet over the summer or no more class. She walked into that first open class and when the teacher came out, she got promoted to the "tracked" and much more strict level. DD? The minute they started barre, her face lit up and she was only 6 at the time. She walked out and said "I love the other classes, but THIS IS IT!!!"

 

I blame it on the fact that we still believe she has Asperger's syndrome. She had to overcome a lot to become the social butterfly she is now. She had gallbladder surgery this past January (after a situation that took her out of dance for 6 months, when she returned and promptly tore a tendon) and she stopped talking for three days; she only communicated with the lead surgeon. She has problems with certain sounds, many textures, touch or otherwise. Strawberries make her throw up and she can't stand the feel of silk or velvet. She didn't say more than "no" and "mine" until she was about three. But because she's social now, nobody believes us.

 

She does regress under certain situations (never at dance - that's her security.) Anyway, the precision and counting were AMAZING for her. VERY, very therapeutic. Different teachers may have slightly different styles, but she can walk into a ballet class - or will be able to once her current injury heals - and have a basic idea of what to expect.

 

She just had an investigational treatment where they inject the injury site with her own platelets; this is supposed to strengthen/regrow the tendon sheath. We hope she only has to do this once - average is 1-3 treatments, though some go as high as 12. But she's going to miss SI AGAIN, which just kills her, so she went to stay with her grandparents for awhile. THIRTEEN needle sticks was plenty - she looked like she had stepped into a wasp's nest.

 

My older daughter? Took the same classes to start out - jazz/tap and jazz/acro. She was good - really good for her age - but she fell in love with ice hockey and quit dance to play. At 11 she was cast as a party girl in San Diego Ballet's touring Nut where they use mostly local dancers. I made her take class before the show went up and by the end you couldn't tell the difference between her and the girls who had been taking ballet for years (albeit at a competition studio.) Her technique looked awesome. The studio offered to move her to a higher level class but she declined since her sister was in the higher class trying to get all the hours she could. Older daughter ended up going back to hockey - inline this time - and was the best defense(wo)man in the league.

 

Now older daughter, who is once more a DD...well, she's a TK (Theater Kid) now and she needs the classes for musical theater. She can sing, act, and has choreographed for her school's show choir (as well as being cast in lead dance roles.) Since she's starting again at 17, I doubt she'll ever do pointe - a bummer because she'd love to be chorus in Phantom (okay, she'd rather be Christine but she doesn't have an operatic voice) - but real classes start today and she is superexcited. She has around 1.5 hours each of ballet, jazz, and Pilates daily, but if necessary she could pick up more dance hours elsewhere. I think she's good for starting out. She took two Pilates classes yesterday to decide which class to take. We were able to compress her schedule to leave time for work, since her hair maintenance is really $pendy.

 

DD was very generous - before she left on her trip, she said "Obviously I can't use them yet, so you can use any of my leos that will fit you....but DO NOT touch my skirt."

 

Anyway, one loved ballet from the first class, the other learns quickly but really REALLY loves ice hockey. But she also loves musical theater and is the petite blonde mezzo belter type so she needs to learn to dance. Incidentally, DD number one can also sing and act, but she has a funny voice. Think Adelaide from Damn Yankees or Norma from Victor, Victoria, with the legs to go with it.

 

Yes, I have two VERY different kids.

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LauraR

My oldest dd started taking at a Dinkle when she was 3. We moved her to another school that was not quite a Dinkle, but not pre-pro a couple of years later, but when it come to serious ballet study, she was out of there! :grinning:

 

In the meantime, my youngest would watch big sister through the window. She was two years younger and would mimic whatever the bigger girls were doing. As soon as she was old enough to take dance (ballet/tap combo), she just fell in love! We were fortunate that her teacher was from a pre-pro school and the last words I remember her telling us were to enroll in the pre-pro school downtown. :thumbsup:

 

My oldest wanted to quit dancing and I decided that if my youngest wanted to dance then she should get proper training. At five years old, we enrolled her in the pre-pro company based school and she has been there ever since! Now she's spreading her wings a bit and has fallen in love with musical theater. She enjoys ballet, but would like to explore other facets of dance as well. The challenge is finding the sort of training for those genres outside of the Dolly Dinkle world. (Sorry for the Dolly Dinkle name-calling...I don't know what other word to use :thumbsup: !)

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page

I took my daughters ages 3 and 5 to ABT’s Romeo and Juliet. I know, I know... a 3 and 5 year old to a full length ballet? I’m one of those people who can’t stand disruptions from small children during concerts, movies or performances of any kind! We sat in the first row of the orchestra on the aisle. My thinking was that if they had any problems, I could remove them immediately. My hope was that sitting up close would engage them enough to last through the first act. They did beautifully and both sat enraptured the entire time.

 

During intermission I said we were going home and my five year old noticed no one else was leaving and asked if the performance was over. I told her that there was another act and she begged me to stay. I really wanted to stay too, so allowed myself to be persuaded. They both did so well, we stayed for the third act, but by the end of the performance my little baby three year old climbed into my lap crying.

 

It was an absolutely fabulous performance. Romeo dancing with the limp form of Juliet was heart rendering, but I realized that the final scene with everyone dead in the dark crypt wasn’t the best thing to expose my poor three year old to. What can I say I wasn’t thinking and I had only planned to stay for the first act! As I hugged my sobbing girl, I asked her if she got scared at the end. Through her sobs she said, “No mommy, it was sad!” I was amazed that she “got” the ballet and yes, it was my baby three year old who has turned out to be the dancer and although she doesn’t specifically remember her first ballet experience, ask her what her favorite ballet is and she’ll say Romeo and Juliet. (Okay, I may have told her the story once or twice…..)

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Shanynrose

Romeo and Juliet was DD's first real ballet experience too. She was 9 and I braved a terrible case of the flu to sit under the chillers in the balcony (awesome view, though) and introduce my daughter to "real" ballet as opposed to what was offered in our town at the time. We had moved from a city and her very disciplined studio to one that only had a competition school, but she wanted to dance so we did the best we could until we got out of there. A touring company from Russia made a stop in our little town's excellent performance hall and R&J was the offering.

 

I remember DD was most impressed by the orchestra - we didn't know they toured with a full orchestra and DD's other art is the viola. She loved Act One, and that's pretty much where it ended.

 

See, curtain time wasn't until 8PM. My daughter was very much an early-to-bed, early-to-rise type. "Early" to bed meaning between 7 and 8. I never, ever had to tell her to go to bed. She would just fall asleep wherever she was, unless she had a performance when I guess she ran on adrenaline.

 

She fell asleep, I could NOT wake her up (Although I think she woke up for what she still calls the "Tybalt Gets His dance") and she woke the next day thinking she had seen a nice happy ballet where people fell in love. She didn't learn until much later that the story was sad. I probably should have told her right away, but it was fun letting her have her illusions.

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Fiz

I took my eldest to ballet at the age of three, hoping it would be fun way of using up her excess energy. I didn't find out she had ADHD till much later. I was heavily pregnant with my second child who kicked and squirmed so much, I said "it" would either grow up to be a dancer or a soccer player. the baby was another girl, who did not like waiting in the dressing room and by the age of eighteen months would rattle on the door to go in too. Then it was Christmas watch week - she was rising two and was just about dry. She squirmed to get down and join in and cried when I kept hold of her. I spoke to the lovely teacher , who had seen all of what had happened and she said if my daughter was dry and not disruptive in class, she would let her come next term. So she did. She stopped for a little while when she started school as a dance lesson straight after school wore her out. Three months later, she was watching the Kirov dance on a children's TV programme and silently crying. I asked her what was wrong and got " Oh Mummy, I miss ballet so much!" as a reply. So back we went until she was 17. She by then wanted to do drama and is hopefully on a theatre course in the autumn at a uni that also does ballet and jazz at the level she was at when she stops, so she's joining the gym just for that!

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ballet7up77mom

My DD would make me rewind the credits on videos and play them over and over so she could dance to the music. When we went shopping she would dance to the music playing in the stores. She would watch the Olympics and dance to ice-skating and gymnastics. I couldn't find any dance schools that were for 2 year olds, but, one day at the mall a ballet school was having a show and she was dancing as she watched. I knew that school said the students had to be 3 but they saw her dance and said she could join. She was so happy. Now she is 14 and still loving it. I think some people are just born to dance.

I had never seen a ballet before my daughter and I don't even remember songs played on the radio, but some how I have a daughter that has music flowing through her body. At least I know how to drive her to classes, help in the studio as many ways as I can, and find ways to pay for it all. :D

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Mobadt

Okay, I could swear I posted this somewhere before, but I can't find it.Forgive me if I'm repeating myself. :wink: My hubby and I had DD in gymnastics at 2 and a half. She seemed to like it...and we put her in it only because I liked gymnastics and 'dabbled' in it when I was a child. We had to do something as she seemed to really need to 'move'. We actually have video of her however (we were a little camera crazy with her since she was our first) constantly dancing - she never stopped moving! We played lots of music in the house - all kinds - but mostly rock and classical - and even when she couldn't walk she would move to it. Bouncing constantly up and down to the music. When she was about 2 and a half we taped her 'dancing' very seriously to some classical music. Pointing her feet, even doing what looked like an arabesque with her little foot pointed behind her (I had NO IDEA what that was at the time of course) but she just seemed to be moved by the music. We even have us talking on the tape in the background saying, 'this would be great blackmail video if she ever becomes a ballerina'! And then one day when she was about 3 and a half and still in gymnastics, she came to us and asked if she could 'do ballet'. Don't have any idea where she got that, or why she asked, we just looked at each other (me and my husband) shrugged, and said, 'okay'. We found a studio near us, and just enrolled her in a class. I am so very thankful it was such a wonderful place! Ten years later, we are still there, she dances there and at her day school as well, and she is thriving and still wants to 'do ballet'. As another post mentioned, I guess when you are just born to do something, you can't avoid it, in spite of everyone around you! I still to this day have no idea what made her choose to dance; I am just so incredibly grateful that she found her voice to ask us to let her. :D

and a side note: her influence has spread to her younger sister who has the ballet bug and thrives as well - that DD is 10 and loving it as well!

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2dancing

My dd had such a silly beginning to her career. When she was turning 6 she wanted a birthday party. We had a Cheerleader party at our local dance studio. Got to talking to the director and decided to sign dd up for a hip-hop class. She took 2 years of recreational hip hop and the ballet teacher saw her and asked to evaluate her. Turns out she had some natural talent and "good" feet. She started ballet at 8 years old and was behind everyone in her classes. Fast forward a few years and she just started as a Freshman in UNCSA's ballet program. Who would have known?

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askaherm

My DD first took ballet at 3yo, did her first Nutcracker and switched to gymnastics until 7 yo. She then switched to rhythmic gymnastics and competed for 5 years. During that time, she went back and forth with taking ballet classes at a studio. Finally, almost years ago, she switched completely to ballet and has not looked back. She's at an advanced level and wanting to dance professionally. My little DD has been dancing since for 4 years since she was 3yo. We'll see where she goes.

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WriteLife

My dd has a mild case of sensory integration dysfunction. When she was young she couldn't stand loud noises, tags in her clothes, bright lights and strong tastes. She hated the wind on her face so no days at the park - they didn't end in massive tantrums, the tantrums started the minute we got out of the car! She didn't like crowds. Basically leaving the house set her off. I was trapped and needed adult conversation. One thing my husband and I noticed was that she loved music and bounced up and down to it all the time. I took the chance when she was three of enrolling her in a creative movement class. Just 5 kids and soft music. To my surprise she was a willing participant. That was good for me because I was able to talk to other adults. I found out later that kids with SID tend to gravitate to movement activities because they help them integrate their senses better ( watered down explanation).

 

She stopped dance for a year and tried a little gymnastic class. Again small number of kids nothing scary and quit when she had to stand on the balance beam. Went back to dance. Had a lovely teacher who encouraged her. When she was five I took her to see Swan Lake. My mom had tickets and I didn't have a baby sitter. I wasn't all that interested in ballet but I thought it would be fun. I prepared her for the whole sitting quietly thing and brought coloring books in case she got bored. She was as still as a statue the entire time and then clapped wildly at the end.

 

After that she wanted to take ballet. Eight years later she is determined to be a dancer and while I question whether or not that will actually happen, her father and I support her all the way. For the most part the SID symptoms are gone. Ballet has been very theraputic for her. And it has been good for her self-esteem. She has some learning disabilities but never went down the low self-esteem track that a lot of kids do because she has something in her life that she is good at and that other people compliment her on.

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