Ballet Mom's Cheat Sheet
My nine-year-old daughter has taken ballet classes since she was four. For several years we've enjoyed the nearby professional ballet company's Christmastime production of the Nutcracker, and each year she's said, "I want to be in that Nutcracker, Mom." This year we decided to go for it, switched to the professional company's school and auditioned for the Nutcracker. Fortunately, my daughter's had excellent training at her old studio, and she won two roles: an angel and a little soldier.
Daughter began taking classes at the studio. Her level takes three classes a week, plus one rehearsal for angels and another for little soldiers. She went from one session a week at the old studio to five at the new one. She loves it and can't wait for the performances in December, so it's all good.
Over My Ballet Head
It quickly became obvious that ballet is taken very, very seriously at this school. I've been told that if my daughter decides to pursue ballet professionally I'll have to find a school that will let her take the afternoons off to dance, find an online program or homeschool her.
There was the thirteen page information packet with surprises like, oh yeah, she'll have to rehearse in costume every night during tech week (the week before performances start), even though they're school nights and we have a 40 minute drive.
It's a new world. But as I said, she loves it. I get the feeling we're going to spend a lot of time at the studio over the next few years, so I've decided to brush up on my ballet knowledge so I can take part in informed discussions. I've always loved ballet, so I'm anticipating my quest for ballet knowledge. I'm assembling my best webpage finds here for other new ballet moms.
Recently a couple of other ballet moms were talking about how their daughters were preparing variations for the Grand Prix. I smiled and nodded, then ran to the computer as soon as I got home to find out what a variation was. It's a solo!
Here are a few guides to ballet terminology, so when your child comes home complaining, "We had to do our tendues in sur le cou-de-pied, Mom!" You'll know what the heck she's saying.
Great Ballet Dancers
Everyone's heard of New York City Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. But what about Missouri Contemporary Ballet? Or Alabama's Montgomery Ballet? There are many, many smaller companies out there. Several of them operate ballet schools where your child will be taught by professional dancers, or run summer intensives where he or she can experience different styles of dance and teachers.
There is much discussion about which companies are the best in the world, and in the United States. Most would place the companies listed below somewhere in the top ten. In no particular order...
Top United States Ballet Companies
New York City Ballet
American Ballet Theatre
San Francisco Ballet
Pacific Northwest Ballet
Top Ballet Companies Worldwide
New York City Ballet
Paris Opera Ballet