Pre-School/Baby Ballet – classes for 18-month to 5-year-olds
Welcome to our Pre-School Ballet programme, a fun and gentle introduction to the world of ballet and dance. Children as young as eighteen months can take part in our colourful, imaginative classes. Your little dancer will grow in confidence, improve motor skills, gain musical and artistic sensitivity, grow in autonomy and enjoy learning together and making new friends. We help children to work happily to the best of their abilities within a kind and caring studio environment. Our highly experienced teachers create a positive, nurturing and fun environment where young children can thrive, instilling a love of movement, music and dance from the earliest age, which will benefit all areas of their life.
For more information, read the Q & A with our Baby-Ballet Director, Julie Alltree below or email [email protected].
The gentle teaching method is effective in helping your little dancer to grow in confidence, improve their motor skills, and to gain musical and artistic sensitivity, plus in the kind and caring studio environment, they can enjoy learning together and making new friends at the same time.
Double Duty Mamma
Read the full blog here
Danceworks means so much to me and have such happy memories, being able to bring my daughter here is just the best feeling.
Tuesdays 10.45 am – 11.30 am: 18 months to 2.5 years
Tuesdays 10 am – 10.45 am: 2.5 to 4 years
Fridays 4:15 am – 5:00 pm: 3.5 to 5 years
To register please contact [email protected] or call Danceworks reception on 020 7629 6181.
To ensure a regular place for your child, you can pre-book for the 16-week term at £10 per class. Alternatively, you can drop-in as before for £12 per class, however places cannot be guaranteed as we will have a maximum number per class.
For information on Academy classes for 4 – 18 years please click here.
Director of Baby-Ballet: Julie Alltree
Julie trained in Yorkshire with Dorothy Stevens MBE. She was awarded a scholarship with the British Ballet Organization and trained with John Field and Anne Heaton.
Julie has had an extensive career spanning twenty years on stage and television. She has covered a wide range of styles in addition to Ballet, from Jazz, American Tap and Irish dance.
Julie returned to the British Ballet Organization to train as a teacher and has been teaching children and adults for seven years. She cares deeply about her students’ learning and strives to help them achieve their full potential while nurturing a love of dance.
Q & A with our Baby-Ballet Director, Julie Alltree
What is the best age for children to start ballet?
There is no “best age” as such. Children can begin to dance as soon as they can walk or toddle! So why not bring them along to a Pre-Ballet class? Some parents worry that their child won’t have the focus and discipline to take part in ballet, but Pre-Ballet classes are geared towards helping little ones enjoy dance and music at their level. These classes are a colourful and imaginative introduction to the world of ballet. The emphasis is on creativity and fun in a child-friendly environment.
If your child dreams of a career in ballet they should be building to a more technique based training from age six or seven. Danceworks International Ballet Academy aims to have their students taking a professional class by the age of 12. However, if you do have an older child who develops an interest in ballet, they should still be encouraged to try out a class. Ballet can be a fulfilling hobby and there are a few late starters who have made it: Misty Copeland, soloist of American Ballet Theatre, started dancing at 13.
What are the benefits of ballet for the physical and emotional development of children?
The physical benefits of ballet include improvements in muscular strength, flexibility and range of motion. Ballet teaches children to find and hold a good posture throughout moving combinations. This legacy of postural awareness is a lifelong gift and will save much back pain in later life. Balance and coordination will also improve along with proprioception. Jump combinations will improve stamina and cardiovascular health.
Pre-ballet classes will help children to pick up useful skills such as listening to a teacher, observing and following activities, building a circle or line, taking turns and working as part of a group. These skills can transfer to nursery or school situations. I’ve noticed that the children grow in confidence and independence with each class. A really important benefit is happiness. The children and parents seem to enjoy the class so much. For an older child the benefits are even more sophisticated; finding their own motivation, achieving a sense of pride and accomplishment which can boost self-esteem. Taking part in a performance can help develop commitment, artistry, teamwork and confidence.
Ballet and boys: is ballet training for young boys different?
In the early years, the training for boys and girls is the same. It’s only later that boys and girls will take specialised classes; boys will focus on jumps and pirouettes, girls will take pointe class. There are some ways in which we teach boys a little differently, for example, port de bras, the way we move our arms, boys are encouraged to be a little stronger, with clean, simple lines.
How can parents choose the best ballet/dance class for their child?
You can, of course, check out websites. These will give you a wealth of information about the school’s mission, the teachers, their experience and qualifications and the class timetables. But I think the best way is to try a class! You can see how your child responds to the teacher and the class.
You should be looking for a safe environment, a knowledgeable and approachable teacher who has a good rapport with the children and is able to control the class with appropriate firmness and fairness. Every child and every teacher is unique so trial a class, see if your child is comfortable, happy, engaged and feels encouraged. With a pre-ballet student, I’d advise persevering for a few weeks; sometimes it takes a little longer for the child to feel confident, especially for a shy child.
Read the full blog from A Mum in London here.