Saturday, December 12, 2009

Mommy and Me Ballet- Help!

My dear readers,

I need some help! Are you up for it? I am putting together a creative ballet mommy (daddy-nanny-sister-grandma) and me class for 2 year olds! I have some ideas and can of course use some of the material I offer in my independent ballet classes, BUT I am wondering if any of you amazing dance educators have done or are doing a class like this? I would love any advice you can offer on what worked and what didn't work. Even though it's called creative ballet, I am aware that most of the activities are creative based with the ballet infused inside.

I think what I am most afraid of 1)Transitions. Moving from one activity to the other, from one spot to another as a group. Any ideas on how to make this smooth? 2) Incorporating the adults. Do you think they should do movement as well or should just be there to guide the students and keep them on track?

Thank you in advance for any ideas you can offer. 2-5 year olds are my speciality, and I want the class to be really great... but I think this might take some trial and error to figure out what is challenging, educational, and fun!

In the meantime movecreateeducate...

(picture by Rafael Concepcion (RC))


  1. I am going to think about this....but one idea already is for jumps. Have the moms lift the kids to make them jump higher (kinda like a real pas de deux partner). Then you can teach the kids how to jump (push the floor away rather than jump off the floor btw will recruit the muscles under the feet to contract without even telling them to point their feet) and then fix their feet positions in the air.
    You could also introduce pas de deux (a ballet term) as mommy and child as partners. I also think you could do a lot of mirroring port de bras things and have them face each other to practice arms (great way to learn circles or diamonds/plies).
    I've been using rainbows alot for transitions for example lining them up in pairs starting with the red dancers, orange, yellow etc. Also you can have them side in a rainbow semi circle and have the red line, orange line etc.
    I will think about it but maybe research partnering things. Moms could use their arms/shoulders as the barre while their child holds on and practices warming up.
    Hope that helps!

  2. Try using a follow the leader type activity where everyone is in a big, long line. You can be at the front. This works really well if you don't have too many people and adults can not only join in, but help keep the children in line...start with feet first, then add arms. Good luck...let us know how it goes!!

  3. Thank you so much for the ideas! I know with all of your help and advice the class will be a success!

  4. Hi Maria,
    Great post, found you through Nichelle at Dance Advantage.

    We call our class at our studio "Baby Dance With Me"

    We incorporate movement, musicality, story dances and lots of props along with osme basic technique into the structure. We do teach first position, plie', gallops, etc all at a very introductory level.

    Each week we pick a 'theme' for example 'animals' we do a monkey dance, circus dance, teddy bear picnic, hop like frogs or bunnies, gallop like a horse, etc. For a 'beach' theme we have an imaginary sand castle dance, jump over the waves, dance with 'nemo' (plush stuffed fish), tap your toes in the sand. The possibilities are endless.

    The parents have just as much fun as the dancers. Once in a while if the dancers seem very focused we will have the parents step back for one dance and let the kids do a 'show'.

    A website that gives us some ideas for 'lyrics' or things to do in class is

    We really have the parents in this class for two reasons: #1. the children are too young or not ready to separate #2. to encourage participation in a fun way...we don't really try to make the parents do much except support the dancers and have fun.

    To bring the dancers back/transitions we have these colorful 'ladybug' carpets that we put in a circle. The kids know that they need to come back to their place on their lady bug mat. Works well with our baby ballet kids too.

    Good luck! Hope that helps.

    Suzanne Blake Gerety

  5. Oh my goodness Suzanne! Thank you so much! I do some of this already, but most of the ideas will really help! I have stars that I use for spots, but do you think the carpets work better?

    I can't wait to put this curriculum together now. I look forward to having more discussions! :)

  6. Hey Maria!!

    I have a Mommy and Me class right now...well I actually don't have any Moms! I have a dad a Nurse and a Grandma... We had a few moms that come in every so often... I have found that sticking with themes works the best! I use the parents, too, as home base for the kids. I have them practice tendus by tapping their guardians feet (for example) or if they get crazy, they go to Grandma or dad or whoever! We do marching, etc. making sure to pointe our feet! LOL Animals works great for them!! They love bunny hops and elephant walks! Oh and snake crawls!?!? So cute! I love the idea of carpets!! Very creative! I use bubbles a lot for them...kick the bubbles, or use certain limbs to pop bubbles... safety first with this one! lol

    let me know if you come up with other thoughts!! :) I love everyones ideas so far!