Does your young child aspire to become a dancer? If so, then you may want to consider enrolling him or her in a ballet class. Ballet classes can begin at a very young age (as early as your child's toddler years) and can be an excellent way to keep your child active and agile, and to teach him or her discipline. Still, you don't want to enroll your young child in just any ballet class; in fact, there are a few specific questions you'll want to ask a ballet instructor before you sign any paperwork.
How Are Children Placed in Your Classes?
Start by determining how children are placed into the classes themselves. In general, you'll want to avoid classes that are based solely on age; after all, a five-year-old with the right training can be just as talented as a six- or seven-year-old ballet dancer. Instead, you should look for an instructor who will place children based on their current abilities. This will mean that your child will need to "audition" in a sense, but this will be done to ensure that he or she is placed in the right program.
Is Your Studio's Dance Floor Cushioned?
Ballet isn't always easy on the body, but with the right protection, your child's feet, tendons, and bones will be just fine. Aside from making sure your child has the right ballet shoes, you should also ask the ballet instructor whether or not the floors at their studio are cushioned. Cushioned dance floors have a thick layer of padding underneath them that's designed to absorb shock and help prevent injuries.
When Are Students Put On Pointe?
The on pointe technique in ballet is achieved when the dancer is able to bear all of his or her weight on the tips of the toes. This move takes a great deal of practice to accomplish, and each child will reach the ability to be on pointe at a different age based on growth and genetics. Therefore, when you ask an instructor when a child will be expected to be put on pointe, he or she should not give a canned response. Rather, it should really depend on the child's development and abilities.
Are Students Required to Compete?
Some ballet programs will include participation in competitions, which is something not all parents (or children) are comfortable with. If you decide to enroll in a program that involved competition, be sure you're aware of any addition costs for competing or potential scheduling conflicts.