Formal ballet training usually begins at the age of 6 or 7. By formal, we mean the learning of classical ballet technique and terminology, with a structured class consisting of barre work, center work and jumps (allegro). Why don’t children start learning technique at a younger age? It’s because children need to grow in their physicality as much as their ability to receive and understand instruction.
Does that mean that there is no value in enrolling them in ballet before the age of 6-7? Of course not! And here is why: before children start on formal ballet lessons, they enrol in a pre-ballet class, where teachers develop their interest in dance, movement and music. The children will learn fun and interesting ballet-inspired exercises and simple choreography because as we all know, children learn best when they are having fun!
But it’s not all just play and games in our pre-ballet lessons. Stretching and strengthening routines are a big part of our lessons so that we build up the children’s physicality and muscle tone - all of which are needful for the good placement and control that formal ballet training requires. We also teach them basic ballet positions and how to hold them, so that by the time a child completes their pre-ballet lessons, they would be physically and mentally ready to train formally in classical ballet.
Children have a natural instinct for music and movement, and here at Russian Ballet Academy, we love giving our young dancers a performance experience because there is nothing quite like being onstage that gives children that spark of joy and confidence as they dance for others! The stage is where many of their ballet dreams and aspirations begin, and is what motivates them later when they get started on the hard, serious work of ballet. While there is no fixed age for a child to get started, there is much value in letting them explore and develop their physicality, musicality and performance experience in a pre-ballet class.