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At What Age Should My Child Begin Ballet Classes?

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Question: At What Age Should My Child Begin Ballet Classes?
Answer: Parents often seem in a rush to enroll their children in ballet classes. However, formal ballet training should not be introduced until the age of 8. Before then, a child's bones are too soft for the physical demands and exercises of ballet. It is actually possible to delay training until the age of 10 or 12 and still have a great future in ballet.

Pre-ballet classes are often offered to dancers between the ages of 4 and 8. Most teachers believe that the attention spans of 3-year-olds are too short to deal with, and prefer parents to wait until a child is at least 4. Pre-ballet classes have become quite popular in private dance studios. The classes are loosely organized and simple. Children may be encouraged to move around the room to the rhythms of different styles of music. Some pre-ballet classes may even introduce students to the five positions of ballet, stressing the importance of proper posture.

Many dance schools offer creative movement classes for very young children. Creative movement classes are much like pre-ballet classes, as they serve as an early introduction to formal ballet. Creative movement provides a way for children to explore movement through music. Cretive movement involves the use of body actions to communicate certain actions, emotions, or feelings. By following a teacher's instructions, a child can develop physical skills as well as encourage the use of imagination.

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