Ballet Austin

8 Sep

Last week we started our after school classes. Missy Mack is going to gymnastic and ballet. Her gymnastics class is at a place where Missy Mack frequents for Parent Nights Out and birthday parties, so this was a no big deal thing. Ballet is a different story. We decided that if we were paying (or grandparents were paying), we mind as well go for the big deal. I am often disappointed by the local studios because they have high school girls (and I have been one of those high school girls who did this) teaching the little girl classes and the planning and content of class is lacking. My mother and I both danced all of our lives and we want that for Missy Mack. Missy Mack has been taking some sort of dance class since she was 2 1/2. In the beginning, it was little community classes and two years ago we started at a dance studio for half of the school year. This year, I decided to go big or go home and picked Ballet Austin as the place for dance lessons this year.

Last week, Missy Mack had her first class. From age 5-8 it is called Pre-Ballet and the girls wear light blue leotards, pink tights and pink ballet shoes. From there the kids go to levels I, II, and III. At 8, they try-out for their level each year. Level I, II & III girls wear different colored leotards based on their level. I am not really sure what levels wear what color but I saw lavender, dark purple and dark blue leotards running around the place. This beautiful studio is downtown. It is easy to get to from my school but parking is a bear, a frustrating hot and sweaty bear. Due to the emotional and physical restraints of kindergarten, Missy Mack is in a lovely mood at the end of the day. When I say lovely, I mean nasty, cranky and complaining. She complained about having to walk in the heat from our parking spot to the studio. She hid behind me while the real ballerina teacher was explaining the way they do at Ballet Austin. The way Ballet Austin does things is through the strict discipline style of what ballet is all about and we start teaching this style at 5. Here is what I learned from her chat with the parents:

  • We expect that the girls will be wearing the uniform set forth by the school and their level.
  • There shoes should have an inch pinch in the back
  • Do NOT cut the strings on the shoes, but they MUST be tucked in and neat
  • Hair needs to be pulled back in a nice neat ponytail or bun (older girls must be in a bun) with no fly aways
  • No skirts with leotards
  • Girls must wear something over their ballet clothes while walking from the car to the studio
  • Be on time
  • Do not drop your small child off at the door
  • Do not allow your child or their siblings to run around the facilities acting crazy and if you find a child do so, you have the teacher’s permission to speak to both the child and/or parent
  • Be there to pick up your child. Children get nervous if the person they belong to isn’t present at the end of class

I was impressed with this teacher. She looked every part of a ballerina. She was older but her body was amazing. She was positive and clear. Very smiley and you got the impression that your child will be a ballerina when she leaves her class.

Missy Mack wasn’t impressed. She said: ‘She didn’t even ask our names. She kept calling us friends. I don’t know any of the girls names in my class and we did stuff I already know.’

Every time I peeked into the class, I was impressed with what they were doing and the appearance of the attitude of the teacher from the window. I asked another mother I know whose children attend Ballet Austin. She said this was the way it was. Ballet Austin wasn’t a social place. It is in the hallways and the hang out spots, but class was ballet class. The teacher will not be asking about names and such. Her girls have been in The Nutcracker many times and are now taking classes with a pianist playing live music in the room.

This is part fantasy for me, but part disappointment. Can’t they just learn my child’s name and still get what ballet is all about. My mom’s comment was that they have to make it fun for young girls or they will not love it. Mr. Mack’s comment was, based on Missy Mack’s ability to not handle structure and discipline maybe a class like this is just what she needs to help her understand that you follow directions and rules. This is a good point too.

At the moment, I am going with it was only the first class and not to judge too quickly.

Another, we shall see….


2 Responses to “Ballet Austin”

  1. starnesfam September 8, 2011 at 2:18 am #

    I like Missy Mack’s opinions. She’s got a good head on her shoulders.

  2. Cindy September 8, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

    Anxious to see how it goes … love that you decided to “Go big or go home!”

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