Saturday, January 14, 2006

Ballerina

G moved up into the big girls' class at her dance studio today. It's ballet for 7-10-year-olds, and it's much more intense than the combo ballet/tap class she's been taking. Where the 5-6-year-old class did things like painting imaginary pictures on the wall and dancing around with ribbons, this class went straight into barre exercises and didn't stop for a full hour. G's got some catching up to do -- the other girls in the class are a couple of years older than she is and have been dancing at this level for a lot longer -- but she's working hard at it. I could see her watching everyone else like a hawk and copying what they were doing, from the stretches to the actual steps. If she keeps that up, she'll do fine.

I will never stop being grateful for our dance school, by the way. G's very first dance experience was at a school that looked great -- big practice rooms! lots of windows! women with rigid posture and tightly wound hair! -- but turned out to be run like a Russian gulag. Discipline is one thing, but when you're screaming "Left! I said turn LEFT! DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH?" at a terrified preschooler, you've crossed the line. The child was five! I'd signed her up for ballet so she could twirl in pink leotards and have a good time, not so she'd be too scared to go to her lessons.

Anyway, she's at a much nicer school now, with a teacher who actually knows how to work with kids. Her current teacher corrects the girls all the time, but she does it with kindness and humor, not abuse. I'll gladly pay for that.

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