“Dance classes for babies – can babies really do ballet?”
I am asked this question all the time – and my answer is always – absolutely yes! Although with a slight caveat – baby ballet is really for toddlers and older, not tiny babies. For my classes to have a real impact, being able to stand up, move and walk confidently is a must, so I always suggest a good starting age is 18 months. That being said, we often have baby siblings at my drop in classes and I actively encourage parents to include them in the lesson as early as possible: there are always parts of the class in which even the tiniest little person can engage!
There are so many positives for children taking baby ballet and other dance classes…
… the most obvious being developing co-ordination and gross and fine motor skills, along with the extra benefits of gaining musicality, growing confidence, developing creativity and starting to listen and respond to teachers (which will be at its most useful when starting school). Our Hildenborough classes have been running for over five years now and so many of my original class of baby ballet dancers have continued their ballet lessons, with my very first students now studying for their ISTD Grade 2 Ballet, which is so rewarding for me. They are a committed, engaged, and talented group of students, and starting at such a young age certainly proved to be beneficial.
But it isn’t actually proper ballet, is it..?
Well, yes it is, actually. Like maths and many other subjects, ballet is all about building stepping stones on which to grow and develop complexity. So we start at the beginning with our baby ballet and teach the absolute fundaments of ballet (and also apply to many other dance forms) – plies (knee bends), pointing toes, turning out, port de bras (arm movements) etc etc… And whilst we may follow our own baby ballet syllabus, the content is much like an ISTD or RAD syllabus ballet lesson, just on a much more basic level.
Our baby ballet classes for children and parents in the Tonbridge, Sevenoaks and Hildenborough area run on Friday mornings at Hildenborough Village Hall. They are drop in, so no need to book or pay in advance. It would be great to see you there.