A ballet may not be the first thing on your mind when you think of creating a memorable experience for your children. However, it is an art form that is not only educational, but also exposes little ones to a diverse culture. It also inculcates an appreciation for arts and introduces them to world of athletic grace and beauty.
In September last year, I went to watch Tchaikovsky’s ‘Swan Lake’. It is the most beloved and quintessential classical Russian Ballet and it was playing at New Delhi’s Siri Fort Auditorium. It was an unforgettable experience.
I would like to share with you 5 reasons why watching a ballet is an incredible way for both parents and children to learn something new.
Ballet is different from all other dance forms. In a ballet, storytelling happens through the movement of the body, without the use of any words or lyrics. The dancers tell the story through actions and facial expressions. Watching a performance helps children understand how to communicate without words. It can teach them to express emotions like happiness, anger, fear, love and confusion, thus overcoming any language barriers.
Appreciation for art and exposure to culture
Ballet is a culturally diverse dance form and offers a unique insight into the ethos of the country from which the specific ballet originates. It is a wonderful way to educate children about varied cultures and to build an inclusive mindset from a young age. Watching a performance requires a lot of patience. Young children must be prepped in advance to sit still and respect the artistes and the performance. Most children nowadays will sit still only when glued to a gadget. That’s why a ballet is special. You can break the tech habit and expose them to the incredible beauty of the performing arts. Tell them the story beforehand and set expectations in advance!
In a ballet performance, all dancers work in tandem to tell a mesmerizing story. Each move is synchronized to perfection. Without each dancer’s coordination and unification as one seamless unit, the performance would not be flawless. The dancers work together as a cohesive whole. This team work is both a physical and mental exercise, and the performers work together towards a common goal – a great performance. They are creating a world of magical beauty with their bodies for the audience.
The grace with which the ballet dancers, both male and female, pirouette the stage is not only a treat for the eyes, but a lesson in athletic grace. Ballet is a pretty tough form of art. Dancers are required to be extremely nimble and fit so as to make the choreography appear effortless. Thus, watching a performance can be a stepping stone for getting children interested in sports like gymnastics.
What appears as natural grace on stage actually takes years and years of practice. Ballet dancers typically begin training between the ages of 2-4 for girls and 5-7 for boys, if they want to pursue performing professionally. Even after professional ballet companies hire them, they train six days a week. The constant practice keeps them agile and responsive. It’s a great way to teach children about the effort that goes into an effortless performance.
So, the next time you travel abroad or have a ballet company tour your city, sign up for seeing an experience beyond your comfort zone. I’m sure it will be an experience that will enthrall you and your children!
Featured Image Source: Flickr