Should my Child Take Ballet Classes?

wiseGEEK Writer

Many parents look at ballet classes as inevitable for young girls, or young boys, and are eager to sign their kids up as soon as they are old enough. Others may be concerned about the increasing level of competition, and the negative effect on body image that more advanced ballet classes may have on a child. The biggest question should likely be: does your child want to take ballet classes?

Ballet, which gained popularity in France, is a type of performing arts.
Ballet, which gained popularity in France, is a type of performing arts.

Not all girls want to be ballerinas, though some see them through a glass painted with sugarplums and want to take ballet classes. If a child expresses interest in taking ballet classes, try to find a gentle introductory course to the world of ballet. This should apply to boys as well. Some boys would love the opportunity to dance and express themselves through ballet, but may fear, especially as they age, that taking ballet will cause them to be teased by other boys.

Ballet can help those who struggle with coordination.
Ballet can help those who struggle with coordination.

Actually, it can help to realize that many of the best male ballet dancers presently are quite masculine. Further, many athletes, like football players and ice skaters, study ballet in order to attain more grace and body control. Ballet can be excellent training for the body and should not be a source of shame for the boy who wants to dance.

Many young athletes, like football players, study ballet.
Many young athletes, like football players, study ballet.

Ballet classes can be quite severe or quite gentle introductions to this celebrated form of dance. Unless you specifically dream of your child growing up to be a professional ballet dancer, you should look for classes that fit your child’s age, attention span and ability to take criticism. Early ballet classes should be a fun learning experience for beginning dancers.

However, some children respond well to criticism, even if it is somewhat harsh. The child who really wants to learn technique and to master ballet may do better with a less forgiving ballet teacher. If this appears too much for the child at any point, one might then consider a more fun-oriented teacher.

Ballet classes can be offered to children who are as young as three. Before that, basic dance and movement classes may be offered in “mommy and me” style, or with other groups of toddlers. Focus is on fun and learning to use the body in different ways.

Ballet classes can help those who struggle with minor coordination issues or clumsiness. Because the movements in ballet are so precise, training the muscles for this kind of precision can result in advances in both fine and gross motor skills. Some children may not be quite prepared at the age of five or six to deal with the precision of ballet, while other children may be ready at three or four. If your child seems to have trouble with the instructions and is a subject of ridicule to the other students, consider putting ballet off for a year or two.

The biggest key to deciding the matter is allowing your child to be involved in the decision. Also, don’t forget the many other forms of dance your child can experience. One child might love tap, Irish dancing or clog dancing more than ballet classes. Another child might be drawn to modern dance or jazz dance. The goal is to learn a little and enjoy the experience, initially, rather than to train up a professional dancer.

Most children can start ballet classes when they are three or four years old.
Most children can start ballet classes when they are three or four years old.

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Discussion Comments


i danced when i was younger and i had to quit because the prices got too high. then i moved and i've been asking my parents and all they want me to do is play the violin. i really want to quit and become a dancer again. how can i talk my parents into this?


hey you should sign up for some classes, flat feet shouldn't stop you from dancing! there are 2 girls at my studio who both have flat feet, 1 of them has the strongest jumps of all of the students! so you can't point your toes, this shoudn't stop you from living a dream.


Hi, I'm a 16 year old girl with FLAT FEET! is that a major problem or could I just snap them out a bit? I've always DREAMED of being a ballet dancer, not as a profession, but as a hobbie. Everyone has told me countless times that I either look like one or that I should be one, not because of my ability to dance but my naturally thin figure (some may like to say 'scrawny'). I've read round the internet that people can start from their teens but it is hard, but I am willing to take the challenge. Will my age and flat feet pose a definite problem inabling me to fulfill my dream? please get back to me at [email address removed] thanks so much.

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