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How did it all start?


Pups_mum
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I'm in a nosey mood this evening! How did everyone's DDs/DSs start dancing? Are you a "dancing family" or did your child's interest come out of the blue?

I have The Tweenies to blame. When my DD was just turned 2 she saw an episode in which Fizz went to a ballet lesson and immediately started saying that she wanted to go too.I smiled and told her that she could when she was older, fully expecting her to forget and move onto something else in a day or two. But she didn't. After 6 months of constant pestering, I gave in, picked up the Yellow Pages and called the nearest dance school. The principal told me that she didn't normally take children under three years old but I could bring her along for a visit and we would talk about a start date then. The start date proved to be immediate, and she has practically lived there ever since!

I knew nothing at all about any type of dance before she started, and nor did anyone else in the family, so I would never have thought of suggesting ballet lessons had she not asked. I'm glad she did though as it's enriched my life as well as hers, as I now love to watch ballet myself and I've made some wonderful friends through her dancing too. (my husband is reading over my shoulder and muttering something about money but I'll ignore that..)

What's everyone else's story?

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Similar really! I did about 2 terms of ballet but although I adored doing my own version of ballet to Swan Lake, I remember not liking some of the other girls at class, and asking to stop. I always danced at home though when I was a little girl. Then my brother took up sailing, I got dragged along, and spent the next 12 years sailing!

 

DD had a Tweenies book though - funnily enough about Fizz having a Ballerina birthday cake with ballet shoes on! She wanted to try it so we took her along. Even as a tiny little girl of 3 the teacher said she had never seen such a focused, serious child at ballet. She moved schools at 7 and became serious about wanting to dance when she got a Distinction at Grade 1. The teacher took her under her wing and that was that!

 

Seems those Tweenies have a lot to answer for.....

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I sometimes think that I was "born to dance" but my parents sent me to vocational music school so I spent 12 years playing instruments instead of dancing. At the moment I dance salsa as a hobby only. When my daughter was old enough (3,5 or 4 - can't remember) I took her to nearest ballet school but she didn't like it! About a year or two later she said that she want to try ballet again. After the very first class her teacher said that she is quiet good and moved her to more advanced class and after no more than a month my daughter said that she wants to be a ballerina and since then she didn't change her mind! I often ask her if she's still happy to do many classes and exercise at home. I don't won't her to fulfill my dream - I need to be sure that she is following hers. Sometimes I think that it is not normal for 8,5 years old girl to be so focused and determined. I wonder how long will that last - few more months or for ever?

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We have a daughter and the thing was to take them to ballet, son who is 6 years younger had to accompany daughter when she had class. When son was 18 months old daughter was selected to take part in a local show, son had to come for all rehearsals then performance. To celebrate the performance a BBQ was held with a showcase of the dance when son just got up and joined in the performance he knew the routine perfectly and stole the show. The following was not an easy ride, he started classes at 3 and cried when he was left, luckily the teacher knew he did this and accepted his behaviour. Then a show came along and everyone wondered if he would do it, that was it once on the stage you couldn't get him off. The babes were allowed to leave once they had performed not him, he stayed for every performance right through to the finale. He then became DS.

 

The school DS was at didn't inform you about what was out there and we knew nothing about JA's etc but the school was sold to a lady who directed DS to JA's and the rest as they say is history....

 

DD still dances but she prefers tap to ballet and I'm very proud of both of them

Edited by KathyG
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I wanted to go to ballet from the time I was three, from hearing Tchaikovsky's ballet music and seeing pictures of Degas dancers.I sent my eldest to ballet to do something constructive with her energy and my youngest saw her dancing at 2 and cried to join in. My eldest teacher said she would take her if she wanted it that badly enough and she danced until she was 18 and now is again for her theatre course and hopefully her career.

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None of my family danced, but at four I started asking mum for ballet lessons, money was tight so as a way of deflecting me she bought a second hand pair of black ballet shoes which had ribbons. she said if I learnt to tie them myself I could go to class (I'm sure thinking she had bought herself some time as I'd fail). I sat every day after nursery school and tried to tie the shoes until I could do it and then she took me to class. I was keen and later took up tap, modern and acrobatic dance (as I got older my teacher gave me free lessons in return for help with the the little ones classes).I passed teaching qualifications and taught in a dance school until starting my family.

When DD came along I was so paranoid that people would expect me to push her into a dance class before she could walk that it wasn't until she was five and it was very clear that her dancing was driven by her that she started classes. Ballet has been just as big a part of her life and she has gained so much from it and enjoyed it so much that even without the progression to vocational sixth form (she's so academic university is definitely her focus) it's been worth it, and she'll be going out on a high in the summer in the biggest show on earth.

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I hold my babysitter/next door neighbour responsible for introducing my DD to ballet at the tender age of 3.She wanted to do girlie things having only had traditional football playing boys.I am a totally novice dance mom.I also hold a certain other balletcoer responsible for encouraging my DD to audition for RBS JAs with her DD .Since then ballet has ruled our world .I'm sure Angelina Ballerina had a role in there somewhere too. For the best part of 8 years my DD seemed more or less to live at our local dance school - I suppose a good preparation for waving her off to vocational school.I wouldn't change our experience for the world I absolutely love watching my DD dance anywhere from the living room to stage and we have both made some wonderful friends through ballet.

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Hi my DD first saw Angelina Ballerina when she was a toddler and used to copy both Angelina and the children dancing in the programme. I told her mummy used to dance like Angelina in a dance school then she started asking if she could go........ I remember calling the local ballet school and being told she could attend the baby ballet and tap childrens class as long as she was toilet trained and behaved herself!! DD was still 2 and used to take a teddy and wand to dance with!! I kept her first tap shoes tiny size 9's and gave her size 7 ballet shoes away to another little girl as we had painted them red for a show!! I used to do ballet and thoroughly enjoyed it so probably felt comfortable with her attending at such a young age.

Her sister also started years later when she was 3 as she had been brought up with lots of dancing and performing little shows in the house. Even now they still love to put on little shows when we have visitors.

Ax

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My daughter started ballet at the age of 4 at our local school. But after less than a term she announced that she didn't want to continue any longer as 'it wasn't proper ballet, just a lot of skipping around' her words not mine. So reluctantly I told the receptionist we would not be returning. When she asked why I felt I had to tell her what my daughter had said but apologised and said she was a very headstrong little girl and it was no reflection on the teacher. She paused for a while and said she thought she may enjoy it if she had another teacher, but we could not join this class for another term as they were in the middle of shoe rehearsals. I thanked the lady and told my daughter who said she would try again then. As it would be several months until we could join I assumed she would forget about it.

But after a couple of months had passed she asked when she was going back to ballet? I contacted the school and enrolled her in the new class. She came out of the first class and announced in a loud voice" now thats what i call proper ballet". Within six months she had taken her first exam and she is now at Vocational school. I am very grateful to the receptionist who suggested another teacher because she wouldn't be where she is now without her advice.

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I pulled my youngest out of of local dance dance school because she was passed over to her Grade 1 and another child who had been dancing for 6 weeks was allowed to do hers. I sent her to a different school and she never looked back. I later found out that the child who had been put in ahead of my DD had been told that she could not do her exam after all. I do not like teachers who behave in that way at all!

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I probably would not of thought of ballet but a friend's little girl wanted to try it and wanted someone to go with. My elder DD was just turned 3 and was hooked from the very 1st class. This was just ballet classes at the leisure centre, not a ballet school and she moved to the ballet school just before her 4th birthday. My younger DDs 1st ballet class was at the ballet school and I will never forget it. She was 3 1/2 (normal entry is 4) and several of her older friends from nursery were in the ballet class so I told her to stick with them and do whatever they did. Big mistake as that particular week two of them started crying so my DD copied them and was brought out of the ballet class by the teacher. She was so cross with me for that but luckily the teacher laughed when she realised that my DD thought the tears had been part of the class and she was allowed back in the following week. Neither of my DDs have ever looked back.

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As a toddler, our son was always up on his toes, and a friend of ours (whose daughter was about 3 weeks different in age) said, you should take him to ballet. So we did - aged about 3 years old. When he was about 5, he stopped for a short while as he said to me "Daddy, I want to play with boys now", then we took him back after a couple of weeks and there we are - he is still dancing now at 13, and also still dances duets with his friend so we have photos of them all the way from 3 months old, through to teenagers.

 

Our younger daughter started young as well, enjoys dancing but often prefers to stay with friends in a class she likes rather than progress through grades. Our eldest daughter never realy enjoyed dancing at all, but we all now enjoy ballet and the music of ballet as a result. DVDs of performances get watched a lot!

 

does our friend claim the credit for suggesting ballet? of course! :)

Edited by Stirrups36
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DS was 'spotted' dancing around when he was 5 by a dance teacher (not ballet lol)and we were told that he should be doing ballet. It never ever occurred to us and it took around 6 months to come round to the idea.I took him to his first class and when we came out he was upset that he would have to wait a week before he could go again. When I asked him what he had been doing he replied 'dancing'. I told him it was ballet and he said he didn't care what it was he loved it!

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My DD started dancing at the age of 2 1/2 at the same dance school , with the same teacher as myself!!! The teacher spotted her very early on ( prob as she knew she was my daughter ) and really pushed her through as she has a very good head on her shoulders and absorbs instructions like a sponge for one so young.She couldnt have been more pleased with herself as she ran on stage in her first show age 3 as a dove ( she told everyone she was a duck , i did try and tell her , but she was having none of it !!!) Still being to young to take the primary and grade 1 , DD went to all the exam classes with her friends , just couldnt take the exam ( RAD rules )so just moved up after a in house exam . Finally , at last , the excitment was more than xmas ,she got to take her 1st exam - grade 2 and passed with a Distinction with 92 ! the same year she reached the finals of the All England with her ballet solo . It s funny how dedicated she is to her dancing and how much she enjoys it , all this has come from just sending her to baby ballet lessons , as " isnt that what little girls are supposed to do"

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Slightly different background for dd.

 

Dh is a vocal coach and I have a drama/music background. Dd began at the Stagecoach where we both work just before the age of 4 and took to it like a duck to water. She started baby ballet at nursery, a teacher came in once a week to do 30 mins with the little ones and then when she went into reception class it was run as an after school club. I remembeShe tr joking to the teacher when I passed her in the corridor about her not being the world's most graceful child. She gave me a strange look and said well actually I'm thinking about putting her into her first exam. At exam practice I was allowed to watch and was amazed at her in comparison to the others.

 

We moved her to a local dance school as the school based classes began to clash with her drama and there dd became a small fish in a much bigger pond which was good for her. She loves her dance (now does tap & modern too) but we and the teacher know that it is designed to complement her other training, she is very much a drama/musical theatre girl.Saying that she did get distinction in her latest ballet exam (RAD Grade 2). She has been lucky enough to have danced in a touring opera and local panto and a small non speaking role(as a chicken!) in a touring theatre show. She is currently rehearsing for a show called Her Benny where she has one of the child leads so we are very proud of what she has achieved.

 

We are coming to a point where she has to decide if she wants to try for vocational school for drama but it would mean giving up her dance. I personally think she should stay where she is until age 16 or 18 as there are more options available for courses that are musical theatre based. I think she would regret giving up her dance at this young age. Its not about whether she is good enough to have a career, it is about all the other things that dance (and the performing arts in general) gives you.

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My daughter was a painfully shy toddler who would hide if anyone spoke to her and she struggled to make friends at toddler groups. So at two and a half I took her, clinging literally to my leg, to the local dance school where her elder sister (now an anti-dancer!) went, to see if it would help her with her confidence around people. It didn't take long!! When I watch her at festival or dance school shows now, feeling so at home on the stage, and I think about the direction her life has taken since, I am so glad I dragged her (not quite kicking and screaming but nearly!) to the dance school that day. Just a few weeks ago, her dance teacher was remembering how, even at the tender age of 4, she took her ballet very seriously and couldn't understand why the others just couldn't stand still and point their toes!!!

Isn't it funny how a decision you make without much consideration (it could just have easily been swimming or gym I took her too in desperation all those year ago!) can change your lives so completely?

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I took my dd age 4 to her first ballet class as a distraction from all the medical problems my then baby son was having. Little did I know then that it would then lead onto tap, then modern, national etc. What was meant to be once a week eventually turned into 6 days a week alongside festivals, shows and Royal associates. It took over our lives. However, we made lots of friends and had so many good experiences from it all. I was glad though when she eventualy went off to vocational school and I didnt have to run around half the country so much.

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DD started ballet at around 3 yrs as her best friend wanted someone to go with, and still enjoys classes at 13 though no real drive to take it further than for her own pleasure. DS likewise dragged along age 10 or so as a friend of mine wanted her sons all to do ballet and asked the teacher who did her adult ballet class to run a boy's class. DS told repeatedly by teachers and my ballet aware friends that he had potential but didn't really take it seriously until we moved to East Sussex and he started having Vaganova based teaching (pure coincidence that the only teacher I could find with another boy taught this discipline and is also an astoundingly good teacher). So at age 12 he went from 1 lesson a week to 2, then 3, then to London Russian Ballet School for extra classes, then summer school scholarship at Kirov Academy in Washington which led to full scholarship at the school where he has just completed his first year with the only A grade in ballet in his class. No dancers in the family on either side. We are still slightly shellshocked.....

So I have my friends to blame!! They are both exceedingly smug at having spotted his potential at an early age....

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Our doctor had twins who danced and suggested I sent our 3 year old daughter to ballet classes as she have various health problems and she felt ballet would be beneficial. She adored it from the word go. Her teacher persuaded our son at the age of 9 to have a go. They both have gone on to have careers in dance.

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First posting after being a long time reader (stalker?!) of this site. DD started dancing aged 6 (she turned 12 last week) when we moved back to my old home town. I'd never really thought about dance classes till then, but I thought it might be nice if she joined the dance school I'd gone to as a child. After a year or so I had a couple of phone calls from her teachers wanting to move her up a grade because she was "talented". Her modern teacher also couldn't work out why she looked different to another child the same height until we realised it was because her limbs were that much longer! Apparently she has an ideal physique! She's more of an all rounder & ballet is actually her least favourite - she loves modern (good enough for Janet Cram) but has asked if she can try for York Scholars so we'll see how that goes in a couple of weeks. Sorry - a very long posting for my first go. But to answer the point of the post, without a move dictated by hubby's work she'd probably never have tried dance at all!

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Welcome to the forum,Ellington. Sadly,my 15 year old son takes after his late father and has 2 left feet. Oh, and the plans i used to have for any future children. I wanted any i had at White Lodge by the time they were 11. Oh well.!!!

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We first tried dance classes in an attempt to tire out a very energetic toddler!

same here - along with gym, tennis, football, bike riding, roller skating... slowly slowly over time they faded out and the ballet just took over. It was like a natural evolution. (I've never danced, by the way).
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What a lovely thread pups-mum. It has been so nice reading everyones stories.

 

We are not a dancing family although many do music.

I have twin dd'sbut the i will tell you about the one who loves it as i sometimes think my other dd is there by default although she does like it to ,

i don't think we would be so committed if it was just her.

 

My dd, well you know how people say their son or daughter could sing before they could talk, well i swear she was dancing before

she could walk. She loved the disney sleeping beauty film and i had videos of her dancing around to the music from the film at just over a yr old in

our garden. Sadly that video got damaged. My mum saw it one day and said i have to get her dance classes, so took her to our local dance school

at three. They do a show every year and while everyone else was dancing to a nursery song she was standing there doing her ballet arms in different positions

funny thing is she hadn't been taught them yet. LOL. Even though she went to classes it wasn't til she was 6 she decided she wants to be a dancer. I have never known someone so focused, its amazing to watch her juggle school work and other things just so she can do her dancing every day, and yes she does get time to go see her freinds.

 

Ballet is her first love and always will be,she is good, gets distinctions and i'm always told she has an mazing quality and will go far, but as the years go on she has been opened up to theatre to help with the acting side of dance and she loves that too and music.

 

Who knows where life will take her but she as found the thing that makes her happy in life and as parents we can't do much more for our kids. Can we....

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Not about a DD or DS but rather about myself :)

 

I started taking ballet about a year and a half ago - when I was 23! I'm still not sure why I decided to take a ballet class: I had just completed an Olympic Triathlon for charity that had taken a year or so of intense training. I wanted to try something completely different, not really sport related and 'out of my comfort zone'. For some reason, ballet sprung to mind! I had only really seen one ballet before ( a touring production of Swan Lake and old girlfriend had taken me to see on a date at Uni) and didn't know much about it. After a bit of internet research I plucked up the courage to go to my first class (I was studying in the US at the time) and promptly got addicted! I'm now taking 8+hrs of class/rehearsals a week and aiming to take my RAD Intermediate exam sometime soon :D

 

A part of me really regrets not taking ballet when I was a kid, but I'm not sure I would have had much opportunity when I was younger even if I was interested. I grew up in the middle of nowhere in the far North East (just south of Scotland) and it's all a bit Billy Elliot around there - not many dance classes and I don't think anyone else in my family has ever seen a ballet! I'm so glad I found ballet though, even if a bit too late to do much with it. I'll just keep taking class, performing with a couple of local adult groups and watching as much of it as I can! ;)

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David, on looking on the web for Chelsea Ballet SCHOOL I came across an amateur adult company called Chelsea Ballet which may be of interest to you in the future. It stages ballets and runs week-long workshops. I don't know anything about it but it may be worth having a look at. I notice that Gary Avis is the company's patron (what a busy man he is).

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Thanks Aileen! I'd heard of Chelsea Ballet before (although I didn't realise Gary Avis was the patron - that's so cool!) - I currently dance with a couple of groups in Bristol (I'm doing a PhD at Bath at the moment) and the lady running one of them used to dance with Chelsea Ballet and used it as inspiration for the group at Bristol. I feel really lucky to be able to perform as an adult - I know how rare the opportunity is and I've managed to find 2 repertoire groups here! :)

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Two different but related stories for my two dancers (there was a third but he only danced because the others did, and despite being really good at tap, gave up when he was about 12).

 

DD start ballet at 3, just really because it was an activity to do. My sister-in-law owned her own dance school at that point (not locally) so I asked her advice and she told me to look for an RAD school, which I did, and found one only a 10 minute walk away (and we're still there 14 years later). We're all fairly musical in our house, and she took to dancing quite easily. Even as a very young child, she always looked more like she knew what she was doing when they were on stage than some of her friends ;) . She was asked to do a ballet solo at 7 and around that time she also took up tap and modern. Went on to be an RBS JA, but then hit puberty and that was that. Has carried on with festivals - does groups and solos (and occasionally duets) and used to spend almost every night at the studio (but only a couple of nights now!).

 

DS used to quite enjoy watching dd dancing so I gently tried persuading him over time to give it a go. We went to see Cats and he said he wanted to be able to dance like the men in that, so I again mentioned the idea of ballet, and soon after he saw RB do Nutcracker and thought the children looked like they were having fun, so he decided to give it a go (he was nearly 8 and dd is 16 months younger than him). Joined his sister in a Grade 1 class, took his exam almost straight away; moved up to Grade 2 and took his exam very quickly (before his sister); somewhere in all this the teacher suggested he tried for RBS JAs. I'd never heard of it, but off we went - didn't get in for year 4 but got in off the waiting list the following year. He LOVED JAs (fortnightly) and after being persuaded to audition for a part with the RB in Cinderella (I think I had to bribe him - he was always wary of new things at that age) there was no turning back. He loved being on that stage :) . Did Sleeping Beauty the year after and also danced with NYB - he really loved dancing at Sadlers Wells with them. It was a steep learning curve all the time as everything was new to me. We did know someone with a daughter at WL, so she gave us a little advice along the way, and I met a lovely man at the RB rehearsals who had two daughters at WL, so a friend and I used to take him for coffee (or wine, depending on the time of day) and grill him about it all. So all a lot of luck really - no grand plan - we just enjoyed each step as it came. I am eternally grateful to his teacher who suggested JAs - he'd never be where he is now if that hadn't happened (unless you believe in fate I suppose).

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