“Precarious princess walks,  butterfly runs and shaky sautés that land in a very imperfect plié all make up the loveliness of children’s ballet"

Teaching Ballet Creatively

Excerpt 2

Instilling Confidence in Pupils

preschool ballet curriculumOne of the greatest benefits of a child attending dance classes is the confidence she develops over time. Dance is quite demanding of its participants and the struggles to achieve success can at times appear overwhelming.  But it is through the struggles that dance presents to a child that she is able to build self-esteem, worth and confidence.

Self-confidence is a developmental process.  Very few people are naturally self-confident.  It is something that is nurtured through experience both internally and externally. Each time a child is presented with a task that is unfamiliar, her self-confidence and ability is called to question.  The child who refuses to participate in a class activity may be struggling with self-image and her ability to perform successfully that which is being asked of her. She may be riddled with self-doubt and fear failure. Rather than risk humiliation she elects to opt out.  

With the rigors of ballet especially in mind, it is important to present class material in a manner that is accessible to children.  Self-confidence is easily destabilised when material appears to be too demanding and or unsuitable for the age group.  Too many attempts at a task that is beyond the natural abilities for a given age will over time damage a child’s self confidence in ballet. She will become less motivated, perhaps come to dislike ballet and eventually drop out completely.  On the contrary a teacher who presents a fun, manageable, syllabus will be contributing to instilling the confidence that is so necessary in ballet.   As such one of the primary roles of a teacher is to equip pupils with the belief that they can dance, they can learn ballet, and they can rise to a challenge. This is achieved through selective, appropriate ballet content.