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Is Your Dance Teacher Qualified?

By | Ballet, Boys, Health | No Comments

Not unlike many parents, when my child was young, I wanted to enroll her in ballet.  My initial concerns included things like: commute, online reviews, schedule of classes, tuition….. But safety??  Without open water, baseballs, or heights to contend with I wasn’t really concerned.  Turns out, I just got lucky.

Unqualified instructors are not only a waste of time and money, but life-long consequences can arise from not stretching correctly, improper posture, or going en pointe too early.  Younger students are particularly at risk as their bodies are still developing and may not be ready to command the physical control necessary to execute the movements being asked without risking injury.  It is important that the instructors are knowledgeable of the physiological and psychological demands required at each stage.

Starting out with a good foundation is important as bad habits are hard to break.  Ensuring that one starts with a good routine, which includes a warm up, setting realistic goals, and being part of a supportive team are all skills that are will serve them well throughout life.  Muscle memory, the body’s tendency to revert to a learned position, develops naturally yet may require a great deal of conscious effort to “correct”.  I’ve heard from a number of current and former dancers that strangers will remark that their ballet background is evident simply from the way they carry themselves as they move about in everyday life.

I have come to really appreciate the true integrity and dedication to the art of ballet that Capitol Ballet instills in their students.  Dancers are placed and promoted based on ability—not age or parent preference.  The emphasis is on precision and technique—not performances or profit.  Check out some of the alumni; a testament to the quality and caliber of their instruction.

For more, read this BBC article: Unqualified Ballet Teachers Can “Damage” Children

Header Photo Credit: Thinstock; BBC

Ballet & BMX Bikes

By | Ballet, Boys | No Comments

By chance, one family in the UK found themselves in a whole new world.  The parents said that they hadn’t previously considered ballet for their oldest son, Oscar, when he was invited to audition for the Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB) at the age of 6.  They now have three sons who are active dancers, and Oscar continued being awarded scholarships to further his ballet education. 

A letter accompanied the boy home from school after being selected by a scout for the BRB.  As part of an outreach program, the ballet company actively recruits students who may have not have otherwise exposure or opportunity to dance classes.  Equal numbers of boys and girls are selected to audition and 80 are offered free weekly lessons taught by their staff.

In addition to ballet, the boys are competitive BMX racers.  Their father told the Independent that dancing helps them to be better athletes overall “…you can see that their ballet helps them in terms of their balance, strength and stamina”

Photo credit and Original Story From the Independent: Our band of Billy Elliots: Why our boys do ballet