Monday, February 17, 2014

Happy Ballet Day (February 7)

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I want to wish everyone, young and old, male and female, the fit and unfit this celebrated time of national ballet day.  As I sit here, I needed a little inspiration to get me something to write about, when I looked in my phone and opened a little-known app called Checkiday.  It tells you what national day it is.   
I believe there are two types of little girls....the ones that want to be all girly and the ones that are not.  Neither type is a bad thing, because it fits whatever personality that little girl wants to be.  I wrote something similar back in 2012, I believe, and it still holds true today.  Everyone is an individual, but that does not mean that you cannot be part of a group. In fact, team building is a very important skill.  I will tackle that another day.
So what is National Ballet Day?  It is a day of celebrating all things ballet.  Now folks, I am not suggesting that you all run to the nearest dance store, grab a leotard, some tights, a tutu, or 2, some pointe shoes, and strut your stuff.  Not everyone is a graceful ballet dancer.  (Guys, you may want to skip the tutu part, or not, I am not stopping you).   It take years of discipline to do this.  Trust me, I should know. 10 years is all a girl can take, and now my feet cry when I see a pointe shoe.
(This is a pointe shoe, up close and personal)
You start from ages 3-7, learning the basis or technics of all things ballet.  If some of you who watch Dance Moms think Abby Lee Miller is bad, think again.  She is mild compared to a straight-faced, technique-driven, no-fat on the body ballet teacher.  These teachers are not a needs-to-win-every-competition like Abby does.   They are performance driven and you have to eat, drink, and breathe ballet.   They do not want you to take up any other form of dance either.
Once you get your basis down to a science, guys still do demi-pointe (or tip-toe) work, while the girls rise to the occasion (get it), to begin preparing for pointe work.  There are pointe tests to make sure you are ready for the challenge.  They are technique and the strong feet test (you do know your feet and ankles have to be very strong, right?).  I do not know the actual name of these tests, I just know they are there.   I am going to stop here, because it will take at least over a thousand words or more to explain, and frankly, time is money.  I do have a few tips:
  • You do not have to start at age 3.  I personally do not recommend it.  Why?  Dance needs to be something fun for your child to enjoy, not loathe by age 13.  Some children start at age 7 and in pointe shoes by age 12, but you have to know your child.   A good dance mom (or dad) listens to her (his) child.  If your child is crying while they do their first recital, pull them out of dance for the next year and let them sit it out during that time.  This will give the child a chance to “miss it.”  If they mention dance while absent, put them back in, but have a discussion first.  Do not keep pulling them in and out of dance class.
  • The best way to start a child out is use the recreation center.  If you are going to an actual dance studio do your homework.  Ask about all the fees up front, dance schedule, how elite classes are run, and about contracts. 
  • Most studios do have fees for costumes, concerts, and other outings.  Do not join if you do not have the time nor the commitment to do so.

Otherwise, have fun, dance the night away.  If you love to dance, but do not want the discipline, there is always the rec center, and they are not that big on technic at all.  Happy Ballet Day everyone!!!!