Tips For Teaching Beginners and Children Ballet
Most children will start ballet when they are quite young. For the under sixes, ballet is generally based on creative movement and lot of imagination and working with different sorts of music to encourage their musicality. With young children, bar work is not normally introduced, as they are used to being in the centre and moving. The best thing to start working on in the centre is foot and leg exercises on the floor, as well as some stretching, to introduce them slowly to the more serious side of classical ballet training.
Once they do get to the bar, it is always best for them to start by facing the bar and maybe start to work on posture and alignment in an easy to understand manner. Now would also be a good time to show them how to hold the bar lightly. Showing them how to tell if they are too close to the bar or too far away will put them in good standing for years to come.
When starting to teach the children about posture, it may be a good idea to show them the lengthening of the back and the lifting of the tummy as two separate exercises. It is very difficult for a young child to hold the proper ballet posture for any length of time. Now would also be a good time to introduce some simple breathing exercises, so they don’t associate pulling in the stomach with holding their breaths.
When introducing turnout to young children, never let them force it. It will only lead to long term damage. A good way for them to feel where their natural turnout is, is to have them lie on their backs on the floor, flex their feet and let them open from the hips slowly.
When first teaching them to do tendus or plies, it is a good idea to teach these steps parallel first. When demonstrating the ballet steps to young students, careful that you don’t stand too turned out, or they will try and copy you.
It would also be a good thing to start them using their heads. This will go a long way to helping them in the future. Do exercises where the children look to all the different directions required in ballet and get them to keep their shoulders still and the neck long and lifted. Inclining the head head with the ears close to the shoulders is also a beneficial exercise, and this will help them tremendously as they get older and the steps start getting more intricate. Start adding the head to a simple port de bras in the centre.
It is also a good idea to give them simple spotting exercises during this stage of their development.nj
Kids also love to jump, so remember to add some parallel jumps that will eventually turn into sautes and echappe sautes. Emphasise keeping their bodies held and their arms still – they will find this quite a challenge.
Towards the end of the class, you can start to introduce steps that move across the floor from the corner. Turning in one direction with their hands on their hips is a great introduction to turns, and they will have fun attempting this. Things like gallops with partners, step hop in attitude devant can also be added gradually.
The most important thing for teachers to remember, is to try and not overwhelm the children with too many difficult movements too soon, as they will think it too difficult and give up. The trick is to take the transition slowly from creative movement to form ballet dancing classes.
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