The last week of May was our Youngest Student Performance Week at Cary Ballet. Our dancers in Creative Dance or Ballet/Tap/Jazz for 3½ – 4½ years performed for family and friends in their familiar environment at the conservatory. Costumes are simple and it is a great way to introduce performance to these young children without the pressures and distractions of our large scale recital.
We sat in on one of Ms. Katie‘s classes who told us that when she was 5, she was the girl who cried the whole class for half of the year. Because of this, she is able to give her students an extra dose of patience and creativity. She is the kind of teacher who can whisper to pre-school aged children and they are all rapt with attention as she utilizes their imagination to learn the basics of movement. Warm up stretches turn into butterfly flights and daring rescue missions. Basics like sautes and foot positions are shooting star and pizza slices.
Our little dancers began working on their end of year performance all the way in March, spending only about 10 minutes per class on their special dance. This incremental process is important in several respects. It works their memory, their focus on long term goals and most importantly, it allows them to continue learning and improving the entire dance year.
The girls put on the real tutus and had a “dress rehearsal” before the families came in to watch. The dancers were all smiles and full of confidence. And then when the audience came in, the little dancers reacted the same way our older students do. Some were bursting with energy from the thrill of performing, some fell victim to nerves and couldn’t look up from the floor, and some couldn’t remember steps they knew just 5 minutes prior. But whether they were the wallflower or the prima ballerina, the audience was in love!