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Ballet - Beginners
How old does a child have to be to start "real" ballet? en>fr fr>en
By mom_2_3 Comments: 244, member since Tue Oct 28, 2008
On Wed Sep 02, 2009 06:29 PM
Locked by mom_2_3 (203614) on 2009-09-03 20:28:46 WAY out of hand!
Unlocked by Lirit (28370) on 2009-09-04 03:24:09 Actually, there's quite a bit more to be said on the subject.
Frozen by Lirit (28370) on 2009-09-04 03:24:23 So let's here the community out, shall we?

I have a daughter who is very anxious to start "real" ballet. Standing at the bar, doing her exercises, learning her positions, etc. Problem is that all the baleet schools in our area tell us that she is "far too young" for this. I have been told that ballet cannot start until after a child's 6th birthday. Has this changed in recent years? I have pictures of myself and a group of other girls between the ages of 3 and 5, all wearing tutus, ballet shoes, up on stage doing our dance. We actually stood at the barre doing plies, learning steps and positions, etc., so when I was told that "creative dance" was all my 5 year old qualifies for, I was shocked!

Is this just my area, or is this now the norm? Thanks in advance for all your help!

44 Replies to How old does a child have to be to start "real" ballet?

re: How old does a child have to be to start "real" ballet? en>fr fr>en
By Serendipity42Premium member Comments: 1879, member since Sun Aug 16, 2009
On Wed Sep 02, 2009 07:53 PM
My experience with the littlie I have says it's pretty much the norm. She was 5 when she went into a REAL class but that was only with special dispensation from the teacher, who is a friend of mine, and also MY teacher. My littlie did well, but even so, she was very young.

I personally don't like to see a child start "real" ballet till about the age of 8, though. It was just lucky that this teacher had a group of 6 year olds, and my littlie was going to be early enough in the school year to allow her to start. She'd been begging to go, though, having caught the dance bug.
re: How old does a child have to be to start "real" ballet? en>fr fr>en
By pols Comments: 872, member since Thu Apr 26, 2007
On Wed Sep 02, 2009 09:06 PM
I started 'real' ballet at five years old (in 1991). We did do lots of skipping around and stuff but that is important for learning timing/musicality. I didn't realise that there was such a thing as real versus kiddies ballet.
re: How old does a child have to be to start "real" ballet? en>fr fr>en
By mom_2_3 Comments: 244, member since Tue Oct 28, 2008
On Wed Sep 02, 2009 09:11 PM
I guess I should explain that she has been doing "real" highland dance for 3 years, done 2 years of "creative dance", has been on the competition circuit for highland for over a year, and has brought home top six placings in her last 7 competitions. She has a lot of experience in performing as well as we do a lot of exhibitions in our community.
re: How old does a child have to be to start "real" ballet? en>fr fr>en
By toroandbruinmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 3519, member since Fri Oct 10, 2008
On Wed Sep 02, 2009 10:24 PM
In my opinion this depends a lot on the kid. From what I've read, here, until the age of 7 or 8 kids are still learning basic musicality, basic muscle control, etc., and this is probably true "on average". But consider a contemporary Mozart in the field of music. I can just see a first or second-grade teacher trying to confine him to "Do, a deer, a female deer...." And consider reading. I had a heart murmur during the year I was 4 so did not attend kindergarten but when I got to first grade at the age of 5 I learned to read by the end of the school year. After that I read everything: the newspaper, my mother's old first-year nursing textbook, my uncle's "Field-And-Stream"-type hunting/fishing magazines, some of my father's library books, etc. Of course some of the ideas and concepts in them were quite puzzling so I had to ask my parents to explain. And at school I ripped through the second-grade reading text within the first week then daydreamed while the rest of the class plodded through during the subsequent months. Boooringggg.

So if the kid has realized that dancing well depends on form and technique she is not learning in her current classes, then I'd say consider classes with older kids. She may, indeed, have the physical ability and mental concentration to do well in them. It's worth a try. Otherwise she may get bored and frustrated.
re: How old does a child have to be to start "real" ballet? (karma: 1)  en>fr fr>en
By Elfiemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 4184, member since Thu May 01, 2003
On Thu Sep 03, 2009 02:28 AM
Edited by Elfie (64279) on 2009-09-03 02:31:29
Edited by Elfie (64279) on 2009-09-03 02:41:37
Edited by Elfie (64279) on 2009-09-03 02:43:54
There are actual physical reasons for this. Ballet is one of the most "unnatural" dance forms because of the high demands of constant extreme turn out. If a kid is too young their bones still haven't ossified, and the strain of training this way for a longer periods of time puts on them might actually change their shape in ways that may cause problems later. Yes medical information on these effects has increase in recent years, and therefor the change.

Ballet also puts extreme demands on the kids ability to concentrate. To work at a place on complicated but slow and small movements, is no small accomplishment for a child. Children are very different, but most people of her age are not able to really do it, to get full advantage of that kind of training. Even if she is, she would be in a class of older girls, a class designed for that level of development, and it would be hard mentally as well. I'm a teacher and I've had many of these cases of pushy parents putting kids into groups of higher age. In most cases it causes problems, nearly all cases even if a child manages with extra ordinary enthusiasm, I feel there would have been no "set back" from being in the appropriate group. A strong foundation in the basics is much more helpful even for the really talented children, than learning the more complicated a tricks a few years early. In most cases the transition from pre-ballet to real ballet is very gradual anyway. Most pre-ballet/ creative movement classes will teach those very basics, such as names of the most basic positions, and first classes of "real ballet" will still incorporate stuff that is more preparing for ballet, than actually dancing ballet. In my school ballet one is for ages 7-8 and that still includes many pre-ballet elements.

I really wanted to go into a ballet class that was "real ballet" when I was 7, but they actually refused to take me because I was so small for my age. I still remember how bitterly I cried. I started ballet then the next year. I've still got some tibial torsion, meaning the bones that should be straight have spiraled outwards. Sure it gives me a few much needed extra degrees of turn out (though from the wrong place so to the trained eye it only looks like forcing it), but messes my lines, and therefor makes me a little more prone to injury. I would hate to think what a mess my body would be if they had let me to go to a real ballet class at age 5, and trust me, at that age I would have done anything to get there. I was practically doing nothing but my own dances all the time, and dreaming of being a ballerina.
re: How old does a child have to be to start "real" ballet? (karma: 1)  en>fr fr>en
By RosePremium member Comments: 9079, member since Sat Dec 30, 2006
On Thu Sep 03, 2009 05:38 AM
Young children, under the age of 6, have a small movement vocabulary. If you would compare classes for 4 year olds in gymnastics or any kind of dance, you would see a lot of the same (kind of) movements.

From the age of 10 you can offer 'real' balletclasses. I'm talking here about 90 minutesclasses with everything in them.

But that doesn't mean you can't offer 'real' ballet exercises before the age of 10. Some are harmless for the young body when performed without stress, and are a good preparation for the 'real' balletclass when older. I'm talking here about plié and tendu parallel for instance.

Skipping is not part of a 'real' balletclass, it never is, but it IS a good preparation for other steps. Skipping requires a certain coordination of the bodyparts, and so the brains are trained also. By the way, most children get skipping naturally by the age of 6 even without much practising.

I was trained with ballet from the age of 4. No harm done to me.
But it is not necessary! And during this age periode the child is more open for other things to learn, like expression, listening to the music, freedom of moving. These things are harder to learn when the child is older.
Take a 10 year old that only did ballet, tell her to dance freely in the space, and there is a big chance she will be blocked in her mind, because she has never done that before and is scared to look silly. But a good dancer must be able to improvise when things go wrong on stage as well as in rehearsals.

Vocational school usually start at the age of 10 with proper balletclasses. Before that they sometimes offer introduction classes. But besides the fact that you want to introduce your child to ballet, there is no reason to start with 'real' balletclasses at a much younger age.
re: How old does a child have to be to start "real" ballet? (karma: 1)  en>fr fr>en
By Arakmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 18113, member since Sun Aug 13, 2000
On Thu Sep 03, 2009 06:22 AM
You can put a small child in a tutu and ballet shoes and lead them onstage to twirl and skip and they won't know the difference. Most of the little ones I teach wouldn't be caught dead without a skirt on their leotards. They think they're doing "real ballet", but really they're not, because they're just not ready for it mentally.

Enroll her in whatever class is recommended for her level. She may not even notice it's not "real ballet" if she's having enough fun with it. At age 5-6, usually classes consist of exercises and activities that begin to prepare them for real ballet, and slowly introduce concepts like standing at the barre, using real ballet terminology, the basic positions, etc. In my pre-ballet class, I take them to the barre for a few minutes every day and they learn a handful of ballet positions and steps, especially in the second half of the year, to prepare them for the next level and real ballet with the traditional class structure.

I have taught in the past for a studio that did teach ballet technique to their little ones, and I tell you it was a disaster. They wanted me to teach their creative movement classes things that were way too advanced for them, like grand battements, pique turns, and chaines. They were trying to teach 4 year olds to spot! They did not get it at all, needless to say. And judging from the state of the older girls' technique, they still had bad habits they'd acquired from doing these things before they were ready to grasp the concepts completely. No one had ever corrected them, and I spent most of my time with them trying to re-teach the basics. This place turned out to be the most Dolly Dinkle school I've ever experienced, for many other reasons. I didn't stay long, once it became clear that my opinions on their methods didn't matter. So my opinion is, if you do find a school that says yes, no problem to teach your 5 year old real ballet, RUN, don't walk, in the opposite direction. Taking things slower and doing them correctly will benefit her much more in the long run.

Think about this: Even the major prestigious ballet schools in the world, like the Vagonova Academy or the School of American Ballet, won't enroll a child in ballet technique until age 8 or so. And obviously if they're so competitive and churning out ballerinas right and left, they'd want to do everything they could to give their students an advantage and if they don't think their students would benefit from beginning real ballet earlier than that, then there must be something to it.
re: How old does a child have to be to start "real" ballet? en>fr fr>en
By Elfiemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 4184, member since Thu May 01, 2003
On Thu Sep 03, 2009 09:32 AM
Atually students at Vaganova academy at grade one are 9-10 years old. Mostly 10.
re: How old does a child have to be to start "real" ballet? en>fr fr>en
By BlackTights Comments: 938, member since Fri May 04, 2007
On Thu Sep 03, 2009 10:17 AM
My son entered "real ballet" at age 9. All the girls (he was the only boy) in his class were between the ages of 8 and 10.

What I have read and learned about early ballet training agrees with the posters who are discussing the physical issues with training young children in ballet, as well as the cognitive development that needs to happen in order to go forth with ballet training. I don't believe this is a recent development in dance education, either. There may be newer research that supports this sort of timeline of training, but as far as I know, it has been a general rule that proper ballet training isn't meant for the youngest age groups.

I have never seen "real ballet" offered to children under the age of 8. Rather, it's been all sort of "creative movement" type classes, regardless of whatever they called it at that studio--some called it pre-ballet, others creative movement, others called it ballet 1.

There is really no reason to rush things at such a young age, and no reason to rush ballet training as a more general rule. The best and safest ballet training moves at a very slow pace, over the entire childhood/young adulthood, and takes into consideration muscular and skeletal development as well as emotional and mental readiness. This might be hard to understand if you're coming from a competition school or a competitive background, but that is how things are done in the best schools around the world.
re: How old does a child have to be to start "real" ballet? en>fr fr>en
By bunheadmom Comments: 54, member since Fri Apr 06, 2007
On Thu Sep 03, 2009 10:19 AM
I suppose it depends on your objective and what you consider 'real' ballet. A child can be put in a tutu and go through the motions at any age - and love it.
If you are concerned that your 5-year old is missing out on valuable training time leading to a professional career well then yes 5 is too young. 8-10 year olds can grasp all the (age-appropriate) concepts needed in a short time for the beginnings of 'real' ballet training.
I have a child in a pro program - and my observations are that the overtrained child, pre-puberty, are not usually the best candidates for serious long term training
re: How old does a child have to be to start "real" ballet? en>fr fr>en
By mom_2_3 Comments: 244, member since Tue Oct 28, 2008
On Thu Sep 03, 2009 12:17 PM
I think I didn't explain myself well enough with my original posting.......

Firstly, I'm not a pushy parent, I am a PUSHED parent. My daughter is the one that comes to me and tells ME it's time to practice and my response is always "do we have to??" She is very "addicted" to dancing and clearly loves it.

Bad habits is exactly what I'm trying to avoid. I'm not talking doing arabesques and leaps, I'm talking putting your feet in the right place for positions, where do your arms belong, how to point your toes WITHOUT curling them, learning how to turn your feet and legs out properly, standing up straight ("butt in, chest up" as my teacher used to say!), etc....simple ballet basics that will support her highland dancing and, well, life in general.

We have ABSOLUTELY NO expectations for a "professional" career. If she choses that when she is 13/14/15, well that will be her choice. "Valuable training time" is not our concern, our concern is spending HUNDREDS of dollars establishing bad habits that we will then have to spend HUNDREDS of dollars undoing.
re: How old does a child have to be to start "real" ballet? en>fr fr>en
By BlackTights Comments: 938, member since Fri May 04, 2007
On Thu Sep 03, 2009 02:01 PM
None of the posters have stated you're a pushy parent.

There are answers to your questions as to why not NOW as far as proper ballet training goes in all the posts here.

If you're concerned about not spending money on training that is substandard, then you should see why it makes sense to not search for "real" ballet training for your daughter at her young age, and why you are only running across creative movement classes offered by your local schools for a child of her age.

"Real" ballet training begins at an older age, as everyone here has noted. "Real" ballet training for a very young child is simply not "real" ballet training. It can be dangerous to the young child's physical development, and is not indicated for young children due to this reason and for reasons of cognitive development. As arak said, a school that will teach your 5 year old proper ballet is not a safe or well developed school.

See what Effie wrote about turnout at a young age--turnout is part of learning how to properly stand in the ballet positions, which you seem to know, and have asked about again despite what Effie wrote. Also note the tibial torsion she spoke of. Surely you don't want your daughter to experience these sorts of issues because you felt she should have "real" ballet at a very young age.

It's great that your daughter is so interested in dance and you are a supportive mother. I think it is best if you simply encourage her to participate in her age appropriate classes and not worry about what she isn't learning at her very young age. There is plenty of time to learn "real" ballet as she becomes older, and in a safe and sane manner. Right now, for her, "real" ballet training is creative movement.

If you are asking about what you should be looking for in terms of an appropriate creative movement class, I think there are plenty of people who could help with that question.

You might also go over to the website called Ballet Talk for Dancers. It is moderated by a number of very experienced ballet teachers and parents, and you could ask the same question there and see what sort of responses you get from that community.

dancers.invisionzone.com . . .

Good luck.
re: How old does a child have to be to start "real" ballet? (karma: 2)  en>fr fr>en
By RosePremium member Comments: 9079, member since Sat Dec 30, 2006
On Thu Sep 03, 2009 03:13 PM
mom_2_3 wrote:

I'm talking putting your feet in the right place for positions, where do your arms belong, how to point your toes WITHOUT curling them, learning how to turn your feet and legs out properly, standing up straight ("butt in, chest up" as my teacher used to say!)


Your daughter is 5. Her joints are 'open structures' now.
Image hotlink - 'http://www.hip-baby.org/tpictures/xray025.jpg'
This is an X-ray of a baby.

Image hotlink - 'http://www.netmedicine.com/xray/img_xr/pelvis3.jpg'
This is an X-ray of full grown hips. That is from the age of 15.

You can understand where the development of a 5 years aproximately will be. It has effects on her muscles and tendons. Tendons are attached to the bones (which are not even present yet).
For these reasons it is very normal for a toddler to have a 'bad posture'. Correcting this is not very useful because the muscles aren't strong enough to hold that position. Forcing it (by demanding) means that the physical structures are stressed. It is normal for a toddler to push her tummy forwards and her bottom backwards. That is a way to keep her body in balance. Due to lack of enough strenght in the muscles, it is a natural way to stand up straight.

No, it will not harm any child to hold her tummy for a while. But neither will it really change her posture. To train muscles you need to exercise at least 3 times a week, for at least half an hour. At the age of 5 you can only get a start with 'body awareness'.


You ask for the right feet positions. Well, for a 5 year old they are different than for a 10 or 15 year old.

You ask for pointing toes without curling them. Well, the fine motorical skills of a 5 year old are not well developped yet. That's also a reason why writing starts a bit later. Now she is still trying to hold her colouring pencils the right way and make them do what her mind wants.
Her toes are a lot further away from her brains. The message from the brains is not always getting completely down, it just gets lost somewhere halfway. That is just happening. Curling toes are normal. If she would be able to master her toes the right way, she wouldn't be 5.

You ask for turn out feet and legs properly. Well, turn out starts from the hips. And as the X-rays showed you, they are not even present yet.

And 'butt in, chest up' sounds very like in the army. Nothing wrong with that sound, but a lot of soldiers had/have problems with the typical militaristic posture. It's not considered as healthy.
A good (ballet)posture has more nuance than just butt and chest.


But if you don't like the way your child gets class now, look for another teacher.
re: How old does a child have to be to start "real" ballet? en>fr fr>en
By pointeshoeluva Comments: 57, member since Thu Sep 03, 2009
On Thu Sep 03, 2009 05:04 PM
A child does not have to be 6 years old to start ballet class at my studio- I took my first "real class" when I was 3! We danced at the recital to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and learnt the pre-primary syllabus. Seems to me you might have to keep looking for another studio that might suit you and your daughter's needs!
re: How old does a child have to be to start "real" ballet? en>fr fr>en
By RosePremium member Comments: 9079, member since Sat Dec 30, 2006
On Thu Sep 03, 2009 05:11 PM
^You might have missed what is meant here with a 'real' balletclass.
re: How old does a child have to be to start "real" ballet? (karma: 1)  en>fr fr>en
By Elfiemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 4184, member since Thu May 01, 2003
On Thu Sep 03, 2009 05:56 PM
Edited by Elfie (64279) on 2009-09-03 18:26:27
Edited by Elfie (64279) on 2009-09-03 18:28:34
I'm just going to be blunt and say this. How about trusting that the teachers at the studio are professionals and very probably know what they are doing better than your 5 year old kid? There is absolutely no harm done by letting your kid be a kid, and either enjoying creative movement, or if she doesn't waiting a few years. so your kid really really wants to dance real ballet. I have no doubt given the option she would love to chance to dance Swan Lake in pointe shoes, no? Some kids really want to play with matches, this is where the crappy part of being an adult comes in for parents and teachers sometimes to keep them safe you just have to be the mean and horrible one and tell them no. In most cases the only thing that really has changed is just the name, to keep parents from having unrealistic expectations like this.
re: How old does a child have to be to start "real" ballet? en>fr fr>en
By mom_2_3 Comments: 244, member since Tue Oct 28, 2008
On Thu Sep 03, 2009 06:39 PM
Edited by mom_2_3 (203614) on 2009-09-03 18:47:18
The teachers in the two studios I have already spoken to have NEVER seen my daughter, nor do they even want to. If they had even talked to her or met with us before slotting her into a group they would find a five year old child with the attention span longer than most of the 8 year olds I have taught.

She actually doesn't want "Swan Lake" she wants to LEARN something. And quite frankly, I don't want "Swan Lake" either! I enjoy her interest and the fact that dance only takes a couple of hours out of my week. The thought of dancing 10-20-30 hours a week before the age of 15 or 16 in my mind is crazy. I would rather she has fun, learns something, mixes with kids outside of home and kindergarten, and still gets dirty in the sand box when she gets home. I am already aquainted with parents of other 5 year olds that can't believe my DD only practices when she wants too and only dances a total of 1.5 hours a week for 8 months of the year.

My biggest reason for posting this was to see if the norm is having children run around a studio for 1/2 an hour once a week for lots of money or if there was something different out there than what we are getting here.

Also, I am well versed in body development. I'm not asking for a "perfect" 1st, 2nd or 3rd position (fourth and fifth are going to be beyond her legs), I am looking for someone to tell the class standing at the barre: "while in 1st position you make a piece of pizza and have your heels together, while in 2nd position your feet are about as wide apart as the length of your favorite bear, while in 3rd position your heel is against the inside of your foot with a mini piece of pizza between your big toes, when you turn your foot out it hurts when you twist your whole body.... , etc.

She has already done 2 years of creative dance and quite frankly she was bored. I have found a new studio that is about a 40 minute drive away and have made an appointment with the teacher for next week. She wants to see my daughter and see what she can do before she places her. Since my daughter could potentially be a new student who has previous dance experience the teacher doesn't want to place her until they see what she can do. Guess you could call it an audition.

We'll see what comes from that. It is very gratifying to FINALLY find a teacher that is willing to work with the child and their different abilities than just using a "cookie cutter" to put them into a group! Can't wait!
re: How old does a child have to be to start "real" ballet? en>fr fr>en
By BlackTights Comments: 938, member since Fri May 04, 2007
On Thu Sep 03, 2009 07:41 PM
I'm sorry, but a placement audition for a five year old is just nuts. This is unheard of in terms of "real" ballet training, which you claim you are looking for. It seems apparent that what you are REALLY looking for is someone who will advance your daughter beyond her developmental and cognitive abilities, regardless of what anyone says.

You've been given solid reasons (including x-rays, for crying out loud) as to why formal ballet training isn't appropriate or safe for a child of age 5. You are totally unwilling to listen or consider any of it, and keep insisting that she work on turnout and posture, and things of that nature, in spite of what professionals posting in this thread have told you.

You wanted to know if creative movement is normal for a five year old--the answer is a resounding YES, if that wasn't obvious. That is developmentally appropriate ballet training for a child your daughter's age, regardless of how phenomenal you think her attention span is, or the fact that she's a veteran of highland dance competitions at the age of 5, or the fact that you believe you know more about body development than the people who teach young children ballet.

If this need to study "real" ballet is truly driven by your daughter, at age 5, there is absolutely nothing wrong with telling her "no, you will take these classes until you are old enough and strong enough for the next level, when it will be safe for you to do so". This is normal parental responsibility.

I really hope your daughter doesn't end up hurt due to your insistence that she do things that are beyond her physical and cognitive development, and I hope that at some point you learn to temper your vicarious nature towards your daughter's dance training. It will only hurt her in the long run, and probably you as well, once you realize the damage you've caused.

BT, daughter of a pushy mother.
re: How old does a child have to be to start "real" ballet? en>fr fr>en
By mom_2_3 Comments: 244, member since Tue Oct 28, 2008
On Thu Sep 03, 2009 08:28 PM
BlackTights: You are completely out of line. If you felt pushed than maybe you should have said something earlier to your mother. Please do not take it out on me for asking a simple question and trying to see if 5 years old is too young to stand at a barre.

I will be closing this thread as I do not have the money or time to waste on a class where children are allowed to run around the room. I would like to get some value for my money. We will be continuing with her first love which is Highland.

If the RAD certified teacher is willing to do more structure in her classes, we will be doing that after we talk next week.

I'm sorry this got so out of hand. Maybe I should have done this as a closed poll. All I really intended by my very misworded original post was to find out if it is strange that ballet schools in our area seem to charge large amounts of money for children to run around the room.

I'm also sorry to anyone that were offended because I didn't make myself clear in the beginning. As I said I was looking for a simple answer such as age 5 - 10 or 6 - 8.
re: How old does a child have to be to start "real" ballet? (karma: 1)  en>fr fr>en
By Elfiemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 4184, member since Thu May 01, 2003
On Fri Sep 04, 2009 04:38 AM
Edited by Elfie (64279) on 2009-09-04 04:42:59
Edited by Elfie (64279) on 2009-09-04 05:35:47
*sigh*

Let's take a good hard look at those X-rays again. That is no more a "cookie cutter" than the fact that she's loosing teeth (or that will happen soon). It's biology, it's being human! It has nothing to do with how talented your kid is. 3rd position is definitely not something she needs to learn right now. Serious study of ballet technique is still beyond her, she doesn't have the physique or the body awareness to grasp such things as use of turn out and correct position of the body, and there simply is no way around that. This is simply not the body she will be dancing with later, both physiology, the brain and proportions are different. It would either be harmful or the very least a much bigger waist of your money, than just running around. Please understand we are concerned for the safety of your child! Right now you and your kid are perfect candidates to an unqualified teachers and Dolly Dinkle schools, who are not properly educated on these matters and will just give you what ever you want for your money. Unfortunately it's your child who will pay the price with her health and learning improper technique!

Maybe rather than asking the teachers to see your kid, you should see the teacher. Maybe you should watch a class and ask and educate yourself on what creative movement really is, before you dismiss it as simply running around. 5 year old may not understand that they are learning different dynamics of movement while pretending to be butterflies and robots, but a teacher will be able to tell you that.

If your kid doesn't like it, is bored and rather suited for something more technique oriented with her marvelous attention span simply wait a few years. Buy her a kids tutu, play her ballet music, encourage her to make little dances on her own little dances to perform to family and friends, take her to see performances, and buy her ballet videos. Maybe try gymnastics for that age group or maybe playing the piano for a musical education that will also help her later instead. But for goodness sake don't put her feet in 3rd position or take her to anyone who will! I agree that an audition for her age is simply ridiculous. Bad or boring classes maybe hundreds of dollars, but a healthy body is priceless!
re: How old does a child have to be to start "real" ballet? en>fr fr>en
By adageacemember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 3982, member since Thu Sep 01, 2005
On Fri Sep 04, 2009 05:54 AM
I think this whole thread has got off on the wrong foot due to a misunderstanding over the phrase "real ballet".

Now, to me, this means serious study of ballet technique. But what I think the OP actually means is "a little bit more structure and gradually introducing a few of the simpler ballet-like concepts". I may be mistaken there, of course, but that's the impression I'm getting.

Most places I've been, the early grades actually do that. Taking my studio as an example - the 3-5 year old class does a lot of creative movement, nursery rhymes and songs, "good toes bad toes", and learning to move different parts of their body. Moving on to the primary class, they get more structure, but it's still very much in line with what children are physically capable of at that age. There's lots of skipping, running on tiptoes, walking on flat with their toes pointed, introduction of first and second position (with only gentle, natural turnout, no pushing), rises with feet in parallel, 'knee bends' (ie demi plies in first), 'jumps in first', gallops, and development of rhythm. And so it continues gradually introducing a little more until around the age of 8 or 9 the technique really starts to kick in - or to use the earlier phrase, "real ballet".

OP, what I've just described is what I'd expect from a good "pre-ballet" / "creative movement" class. It's not all running around, no structure and learning nothing.
re: How old does a child have to be to start "real" ballet? en>fr fr>en
By elaina16member has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 895, member since Mon Aug 14, 2006
On Fri Sep 04, 2009 06:07 AM
mom_2_3 - I see where you are coming from. But please listen to the advise you are receiving. As parents we tend to think that our child should be in a higher class, but there is physical limitations to it. My daughters both do highland, one does ballet as well. The school we attend does not start ballet/highland until the children are 7. Not only because of the physical aspect but a lot of younger children find it slow.

Yes I know highland as well uses a lot of turnout in it, but take a look at the dancers who are younger like your daughter for most of them the supporting leg will not be turned out. Why not wait another year, I take it she is still in primary so there is a lot more dances to learn and improve on in highland.

I even watch my 9 year old novice dance, and see that she still loses the turnout in here supporting leg sometimes, and she takes - Jazz, tap, Hip Hop and highland with 5 years of dance behind her, and a year of highland and jazz competitions. I have kept her out of ballet because I did not think she is ready physically for the demands of it. She will be doing it this year but she is 9.

Let her enjoy her year to go from primary to a beginner dancer, lots of new dances to learn and compete with, also talk with her highland teacher about this see what she thinks.
re: How old does a child have to be to start "real" ballet? en>fr fr>en
By Danamember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 7517, member since Wed Nov 28, 2001
On Fri Sep 04, 2009 07:00 AM
The suggestion of teaching her about the art of ballet is a good one. She CAN'T take a "harder" class yet, unless you're really into shelling out for physical therapy when she's a teenager, so go to the library and get some ballet videos and watch them. There are about a million ballet books aimed for kids out there. Read them with her. There is more to ballet than just going to class.
re: How old does a child have to be to start "real" ballet? en>fr fr>en
By Theresamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 33905, member since Wed May 22, 2002
On Fri Sep 04, 2009 07:17 AM
My studio doesn't offer ballet to anyone under 6. They certainly have an armys worth of classes that kids under 6 can take, but they aren't true, correct ballet classes. My son who just turned 3 has already done a dance recital - his class does tap. :)
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