Easing the Transition from Early Childhood to Ballet Basics
While early childhood pre-ballet programs are designed to prepare your child for ballet class, an abrupt transition can cause anxiety, insecurity, and a general loss of interest. The success of this transition is pivotal in determining whether your child will continue with ballet and approaching it in a positive and thoughtful way can make all the difference.
Here are some of the strategies that we've found to ease the transition into beginning ballet:
First, one of the most important steps to a successful transition into beginning ballet is mental preparation. Beginning in the six year old year, we will let your dancer know what changes to expect in the coming year. Whether your six year old is new to our program or experienced, he or she has come to expect a predictable class structure. Structure is comforting for students, and we think it's important to let them know about the little changes that will come with their passage into Ballet 1. For example, Ballet 1 students will have their first experience working at the barre and will begin to experiment with more complicated steps and patterns. These experiences should not be daunting because they are unexpected, they should be exciting because they are anticipated!
Second, we'll get your dancer excited for ballet class. Helping dancers understand that they've earned the privilege to move up to beginning ballet through their increased skill level, their classroom behavior, their hard work, and their persistence will make them proud to move up to a more challenging class. We change the focus of the transition so that dancers are focusing on what they're gaining, instead of what they're losing.
Third, we'll introduce all these changes gradually. The first three to four weeks of our Ballet 1 class will look similar to the end of the six year old year. While we're reviewing the steps we learned last year, we'll also be reviewing classroom behavior and ballet etiquette. We'll remind your dancer that changes are coming and that we're just as excited for those changes as they are. You'll see your dancer working hard to earn the barre and becoming more and more enthusiastic about transitioning into a more demanding class. Instead of dreading their time at the barre, we get students excited to earn the use of the barre during Ballet 1.
Finally, we'll make it fun! We understand that a seven or eight year old dancer is not an adult. They still respond to creative examples and need added motivation to hold their interest in a 75 minute class period. We might play hangman with a ballet term or use our imaginations to describe the steps we're learning. We'll work with partners to make familiar steps more complicated in a fun way. In general, we'll work hard to make sure that your dancer is engaged in learning ballet and not just going through the motions.
Your seven or eight year old is ready to work hard and become more serious about ballet class but still needs a touch of fun to keep them interested. We understand how important it is that your dancer makes a positive transition into ballet and work hard to keep them engaged in learning proper technique while still having fun!