When you have a child who wants to jump into dance classes, it's easy to get overwhelmed by all the rules and expectations. But getting started in ballet for kids doesn't have to be scary!
We've narrowed down the major things that parents and caregivers stress about the most and broke them down so you can get your child involved in dance without the stress!
The Best Age to Start Ballet
There is no perfect age to start your child in ballet class. However, the earlier you start them off, the more likely they are to stick with it for life.
Depending on the dance studio you choose, some studios have classes for children as young as 6 months old. Studios organize classes by age at first and then by dance style as children get older.
It's also important to remember that ballet isn't a girls-only activity. Boys make marvelous dancers too!
Dance is a great way to keep your young children active and involved in group activity without the fear of concussive injuries. The earlier you start, the better!
Preparing for the First Class
Most dance studios have a required dress code for all children, no matter what age they are. Don't freak out, the dress code has a purpose!
When children are properly dressed, teachers have a perfect view of their form and how their bodies are moving. This helps the teachers show them how to perfect their technique and prevents any injuries.
Clothes for Kids Ballet
The exact dress code for your child will vary depending on the studio you choose. Most studios require that your child come dressed in dance attire, which means single-color leotard and tights.
For boys, athletic wear is usually acceptable. However, some studios may require tights and a form-fitting white top. Make sure you contact your chosen studio for guidance before purchasing ballet uniforms.
If the dance school doesn't have a dress code, make sure the clothing you pick for your child is well-fitted and breathable. Avoid metallics, as they trap in sweat and cause overheating quickly.
Shoes for the Tippi Toes
You must find the right ballet shoes for your child. This means finding a soft shoe with leather or canvas tops and suede bottoms. They come in pink, white, or black options. Your specific dance school may require a certain color from a certain brand, so make sure you double-check before purchasing.
Schools do this because they want their students to match during recitals and having a designated brand and color is the easiest way to do that.
The correct shoes are important because improper shoes create a slippery surface that invites injury.
Equipment to Attend Class
One of the great things about ballet is that other than clothes and shoes, you don't need much else for a successful class! You might want to bring a lightweight sweater along for your child if they get chilly in the studio, but there isn't much else required.
It's a good idea to bring along a water bottle. But prepare your child for the fact that they will have to wait until designated break times to take a drink. Teachers generally won't allow children to run and grab a drink whenever they want.
You can also get a dance drawstring bag to store everything all together.
If your child is nervous before class, the way you talk about the class can change that profoundly. Make sure you only mention positive things about the class and don't dwell on your child's nerves or shyness. Get to the studio a little early so your child can say hello to her teacher, and they can start to bond and build trust.
Give Your Child Room to Grow
This is the hard part! For parents, it's difficult for us to learn when to let go and let our children run ahead without us. But in the instance of ballet class, the more willing you are to let your child be independent, the more successful they are.
Many studios have observation days. These are days where parents are welcome to sit in and observe how their children are advancing in dance. Other than that, it's generally expected that parents wait in the lobby until the class is over.
This is because it can be a lot of pressure on children to be observed constantly, for every session!
Ballet for Kids: By the Age Group
The specific activities in each ballet class will vary by age group. Here are some things you can expect.
Under a Year
For baby ballet, you will likely be heavily involved. This class is designed to teach your baby bodily awareness and control while allowing them to socialize! This class is meant to be a fun activity to learn how to dance, sing, and move joyfully with parents by their side.
For children who are ready for a more structured dance class around 2-3 years old, dancers can expect to hone their gross and fine motor skills. In general, parents are welcome in this style of class as well, and children will start to transition on their own as they get more comfortable. This is a great age to teach children the basic movements of dance!
When a child hits the 3-7 age group, their lifetime love of dance can really begin. Teachers will show students the foundations and technique of ballet, teach them the terminology, and will introduce them to how music and movement relate to each other!
This is the perfect time to introduce a child who is new to ballet. As they advance, their classes will become more fast-paced and serious.
7 and Beyond
As your child ages up and advances in ballet, the movements and techniques they learn will become more difficult. They'll be given more involved dance routines and will likely be expected to practice outside of class as well. For children who want to continue dance for a long time, they may even be able to come back and help student-teach this class when they're older!
Watch Your Child Bloom
Ballet for kids is a great activity that can teach them coordination, joyful movement, and other lifelong skills that can benefit them in the dance studio and beyond. With this knowledge, you can jump into your child's first ballet class with confidence, knowing that they're being prepared for beautiful routines!
If you're looking for the perfect ballet costumes for your child, check out our selection today.