There are a lot of great reasons to get children interested in ballet. Not only does learning ballet enhance a child’s confidence, focus, physical strength, and grace; it also exposes them to great art and music in a way that other physical activities don’t. Dancing is a really good activity for both girls and boys, and there are lots of easy ways to teach them about ballet at home. We have found some wonderful DVDs, books, music and games that can help kids learn everything they need to know about ballet.
An easy way to get small children to learn a few ballet positions and some of the basic terms is to let them watch a DVD. There are quite a lot of ballet DVDs for kids, here are a few of the most popular and some of our favourites:
Toddler and preschoolers will love Baby Ballet. It is a fantastic introduction for children ages 4 to 6. You can watch a preview of the Baby Ballet DVD that shows the step-by-step formal ballet class including a barre warm-up, stretches, center practice and across the floor combinations by dance teacher Rosemary Boross. You can get the Baby Ballet DVD on its own, or as part of a compilation DVD called Dancing for Kids also by Rosemary Boross that includes Baby Ballet as well as with Tot Tap and Junior Jazz.
Another great choice for younger kids is Tinkerbell’s Learn Ballet Step by Step. You can view a preview with instructor Michelle Lungberg, who takes kids through step-by-step instructions & easy-to-learn steps. Some of the things that are taught include
1st through 5th positions, Pliés, Tondus, Degajés, Rondejámbs, Passés, & Piqués.
Petite Feet for kids ages 2-5 uses engaging and imaginative exercises, games and stories to introduce children to basic ballet positions and vocabulary, as well as general dance and musical concepts. The preview gives a good overview of what you can expect with this DVD.
When small kids are interested in ballet it’s a great opportunity to also get them interested in in some of the classic ballet stories and music as well. Along with the instructional DVDs, your kids might really enjoy learning about ballet stories. There are a few really cool DVDs that will introduce kids to some of the great ballets in a kid friendly way. A great series that does this is by Prima Princessa they have DVDs for the Swan Lake, The Nutcracker , and Sleeping Beauty.
A similar DVD to the Prima Princessa DVD is the My First Ballet Collection that has excerpted performances including Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and Cinderella as well as others that are perfect for young kids.
Since ballet is such a favourite activity for yosung children to get interested in, there are some fantastic ballet books available. We are only featuring books that are a good introduction to ballet, but there are many story books that would also be wonderful for any ballet obsessed child. Here are a few really lovely books about ballet:
- Prima Princessa Ballet for Beginners by Mary Kate Mellow is a book from the same people who did the Prima Princessa DVDs. This book is sort of an insider’s look at the New York City’s School of American Ballet (SAB) in Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and one of the cool things about it is that it shows how dancers train. It has images of young students demonstrating all the basic positions, and what goes into getting ready for a performance.
- A Child’s Introduction to Ballet by Laura Lee and Meredith Hamilton is a book and CD that introduces kids to twenty-five of the world’s best-loved ballets through fun facts, dancing instruction, history, information, artwork, and profiles of the world’s great dancers, choreographers, and composers. There are also instructions on ballet positions and the key moves that kids will love to learn.
- Ballerina: A Step-by-Step Guide to Ballet by Jane Hackett is an introduction to ballet guide that has beautiful photographs, informative text, and a free instructional DVD to help beginner and intermediate ballet students.
- My First Ballet Book for ages 5- 8 is a practical introductory guide to ballet. It goes through what to wear and to how to perfect positions, it also teaches kids about turns, leaps, and arabesques and it also show what goes on behind the scenes at a performance. The book is full of hints, tips, and step-by-step instructions.
- Wish Upon a Ballet has everything your young ballet dancer needs to know. The site has ballet history, ballet stories information on famous ballet dancers and much more.
- AngelinaBallerina is the website for the famous cartoon mouse who loves ballet.
Hopefully you found something that can help your budding ballerina or ballerino. If you have any great resources that you use to teach your kids ballet at home please let us know in the comments below.