What Makes A Child Want To Enter The Ballet World?

Mum, I Want To Take Ballet Classes

young-ballerinasHave you ever wondered what makes a young child want to enter the world of ballet training? Have you ever contemplated the reasons why so many little girls want to grow up to be ballerinas? Everything has a reason; including the desire to learn ballet.

It is also a fact that many children are placed into the dance classroom for practical reasons that have nothing to do with their own personal ballet aspirations. Below are several real life thoughts or scenarios in which ballet training fulfills a human need, a secret wish or an exciting challenge for a young person:

1. Ballerinas Are Very Pretty

Nutcracker-ballet
Visions of Sugar Plums danced in her head

Every year like clockwork, homes around the world tune in to the holiday season fantasy ballet of The Nutcracker story. Not only do young, impressionable kids get to listen to beautiful music, they get their eyes full of glorious costumes and magical characters that leap and spin.

To a small girl, a perfectly poised ballerina must look just like a princess. She gets to wear a lovely crown. Her stage makeup makes her prettier than any doll she has ever seen.  She wants to wear a fluffy tutu skirt too. Ballerinas are just so pretty.

2. Can I  Make My Body Do That Too?

Galina Ulanova's pointe shoes
Galina Ulanova’s pointe shoes

Look,  Mum, she can dance on her toes!  What little girl wouldn’t become mesmerised by the sight of someone dancing on the tips of their toes? Even the toughest grown men find the whole thing enchanting to watch.

I remember the very first time I saw a photo of a dancer en pointe in a library book at the age of 8 or 9.  My heart leaped at the sight of those pink satin shoes.They were so different from any other type of shoe in my closet. They were so shiny and very pretty.

Little girls want to know everything about them. Are they made of wood? How does a ballerina balance in them? How do they tie the ribbons? Do they hurt? I wonder if I could rise up onto the tips of my toes too?

3. Fulfilling A Parental Dream That Never Came To Fruition

Sometimes, children end up in ballet studios because one or both parents had dance aspirations that never came to be. There are hard-core stage Mums that push, nag and coerce a reluctant child to make a career as a dancer. There are parents who simply loved taking lessons as a child and want to give their kids a chance to test it out for themselves. Eventually, those students who have no real passion for the art fall by the wayside. The good news is that many kids who try ballet grow to love it.

4. A Secret Wish For Fame And Admiration

In the spotlight
In the spotlight

Can a ballerina be famous and yet remain a wallflower? Even though quiet or shy children may love the silent style of communicating through movement and music, ballet is theater. Ballet is drama. In order for drama to have an effect, it must have an audience.

* Ask any small child if he would enjoy having a temper tantrum all alone with no one to watch him scrunch up his face, flap his arms or hear him yelling. It’s much more fun having Mum, Dad and the whole family watch the show!

Every child who takes ballet lessons will eventually find themselves in front of an audience.  Having the attention and admiration of hundreds of people is extremely gratifying to the human ego.  Although some of us prefer to live quietly behind the scenes, all of us want to be loved and admired by others.

5. Needing An Outlet For Emotions And Expression

Dance: the art of expression
Dance: the art of expression

Nobody ever listens to me. Nobody understands me. Why don’t they get my feelings?

If it’s one thing that makes growing up difficult for kids it’s getting the grownups in their life to support them emotionally through the ups and downs of childhood, adolescence and puberty.

Sometimes, Mum and Dad are so busy trying to provide for the family that discussing feelings becomes unimportant compared to the hustle and grind of daily life. Physical activity is a healthy way to vent and release those frustrations. Ballet is incredibly healing for sensitive children that need to release what is inside of them. Character role-playing helps disconnected kids explore the world of their own emotions in a positive way.

6. A Personality That Thrives Under High Expectations

The truth is that each and every child born into this world has its own unique character traits. Some kids are quiet and can sit patiently for hours knitting a scarf or reading a book. Others find it impossible to sit longer than a few minutes without squirming. Some kids are introverted and some extroverted. Some kids enjoy routine and some require lots of new and challenging things to do.

Some kids crack under the pressure of high expectations, but some children love climbing the most difficult mountains you can give them.  Creating genuine success as a ballet dancer is definitely a tall mountain to climb. These young mountain climbers love the physical challenges of ballet; working hard to achieve turnout, flexing and arch control, daily barre work, extensions, jumps and turns. They even get a kick out of the weight restrictions and diet plans so they can “win” the temptation to have another bag of crisps.

7. A Craving To Be Different From Others

RAD Boys Ballet
RAD Boys Ballet

Unless you live near a dance theater or in a populated performing arts district, the chances are slim that you will see large groups of poised, beautifully proportioned dance students carrying their dance bags to class. You may only know of one or two students in your school that actually take ballet lessons.

You can always tell a serious, well-trained ballet student from the other girls or boys in a school. They have the best posture. They seem to glide when they walk. Non-ballet students shuffle and slouch. A dancers carriage can be noticed head and shoulders above the rest. They may even walk with a slight turnout.

While the other neighborhood kids might be out eating candy, chewing bubble gum, goofing off and getting into trouble, the ballet student will be learning discipline, respect and sacrifice.

8.  Ballet Children Are Incredibly Special

Baby Blue Tutu
© 2014 Design Copyright-Monica Newell

Classical ballet is made even more beautiful when you see heart-melting photos like this one. The combination of this child’s beautiful features and the professionally designed tutu together is priceless. The tutu ensemble fits her little frame so beautifully.

Her little slippers, delicate makeup and pretty bun make her a star. This precious girl has the poise and grace of a dancer twice her age. Even though she is tiny, she leaves a big impression.

As far as ballet training goes, children at this young of an age who are exposed to the world of the performing arts can only grow up to become well-rounded teens and young adults.

” Children see magic because they look for it.”
― Christopher Moore

Experiencing the thrill of competition and seeing lots of other young people enjoying the same event gives a child a sense of community. Ballet brings families together.

The little ones are the future of dance. They are the mini-Maximova’s and petite Pavlova’s  that will grace our future theatrical stages with encore performances.

Image Credits: Flickr.com, Nutcracker Ballet-Savannah Georgia by Dizzy Girl, No Modifications, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/, Galina Ulanova’s pointe shoes by shakko (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons, Flickr.com, Boys And Ballet by Rad Boys A, No Modifications, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/

All other images Pixabay Public Domain Free.

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One comment

  1. this subject is so fascinating to all of us, the magical lure of this perfect fantasy world that we just cant resist tip toeing into. The tutus, the shoes, the dancing the music, the atmosphere at the theatre. Pure heaven to so many of us. With the high level of dedication required comes wonderful rewards. All children who take part in ballet as you point out gain confidence, posture, presentation, and an exhilerating outlet for their energy and emotions – as you so well imply how can we resist.

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