What can ballet teach you (or your child)?
You may think that someone is not successful at ballet if they don’t go on to become a professional ballet star. But, you don’t have to become Misty Copeland to learn something from ballet. Besides the obvious physical benefits of ballet – like flexibility, grace, and strength, there are many other life lessons to learn from ballet.
· Perseverance and dedication
· Understanding of music and rhythm
· Coordination and balance
· Physical self-control and body awareness
· A sense of pride and accomplishment
· Social Skills
· Teamwork and cooperation
You might not end up starring in New York (or you might) but I can promise you will learn something that will help you in the future no matter where that takes you.
My daughter is in the junior company at AYBT. She began dancing when she was three years old. It is amazing how much she has grown and developed as a dancer. She has grown from being a sheep in The Nutcracker to being a shepherdess to the sheep. I’ve watched her hone her skills and technique each year and grow into a beautiful dancer.
When I watched her first performance on pointe I cried. At each performance I feel her pain if she misses a step and celebrate with her when she nails a step. There have been countless times when things go wrong on stage: a slip or fall, pointe shoes coming untied, or my worst scenario going on stage with your socks on over your pointe shoes. The dancers continue with their performance if and when this happens, but as soon as they come off the stage they run to mom for support. If mom just happens to be able to be in the audience then a backstage mom takes the place of mom.
This is what I love about AYBT. As a mom I know my daughter has many dance moms willing to give her help and support. Alabama Youth Ballet Theater would not be able to operate without all the wonderful moms and dads. It is amazing when you see how much time parents are willing to give so a group can succeed. The dancers might be the performers but there are many unsung heroes behind the scenes that make sure the “show goes on.”
I might enjoy watching Dance Moms, but I love being a dance mom more. I hate to admit that I enjoy watching the drama, but I never want to be a part of it. Thank you, AYBT moms and dads, for making our dance experience an amazing one and keeping the drama out of it. My daughter and I will have so many wonderful memories of our dance time together at AYBT, and I look forward to the upcoming years of being a dance mom.
Every year I look forward to Alabama Youth Ballet Theater's summer intensive when Luba Gulyaeva comes down for two weeks to enhance our dancing ability. I know that I am going to be pushed to the limit and can expect my technique to improve, jumps to get higher, and become more flexible. During these two weeks she will teach us multiple variations, sometimes learning up to three in a week!
It is amazing the strong relationship you can form with a teacher in just two weeks and that is why at the end of the intensive it is always sad when Luba has to return to New Jersey. You must keep working hard during the year because when she returns the next summer she looks to see if you worked on the corrections she gave you.
This year I had the amazing opportunity to help with Dance Connection. Dance Connection is a great way to help less fortunate girls have fun learning the different techniques and skills of dance. They learn about ballet, modern, jazz, and hip hop and also get lunch and snacks. They also get to make tiaras, learn about the different costumes a ballet dancer wears, and perform at the end of the two weeks of classes.
Besides demonstrating and helping the girls with their dance classes, I also got to spend time with the girls learning about them and their personalities. Each and every one of these girls is special and unique in her own way. Even if they are shy at the beginning of the week, they all are tons of fun, and I love seeing them enjoying dance and having fun with each other. They are all great girls, and I hope to see them continuing to love dance in the years to come.
I love dance and have been dancing since I was three years old. Even though most of these girls can’t afford all the dance classes I have taken, they get to experience the joy of dance at Dance Connection. I hope that all these girls get to continue their dance careers and love dance as much as I do, even if it is just two weeks each summer. Mrs. Paula Osmer, Mrs. Mary Ann Peterson, Mrs. Cynthia Quintella, and Derrell Underwood have all done an amazing job at teaching these girls this year! Dance Connection has been a great experience for me, and I hope I’ll be able to help again next year!
I have been dancing since a few months before my third birthday. I love ballet and if I could, I would do it all day long. Ballet makes me feel relaxed and I am comfortable in my ballet classes. The ballet classes are challenging, yet I know that if I work hard, I can be successful. There are rules in ballet. Ballet makes sense to me.
One day we had a substitute for company class, Ms. Barbara Caioli. I came in thinking we were having a regular ballet class, but instead we did modern. It felt different than ballet, but used the same core of ballet. I really had to step out of my comfort zone and throw myself out there. I wasn't exactly comfortable and I even wondered, "What is she doing?" But then I got more relaxed and was impressed with her dancing. She is really amazing and very talented! After I loosened up, I had a lot of fun and learned a lot of new techniques.
I liked her class so much, I signed up for her Sunday classes. We learn many modern techniques. Some of the moves I couldn't do the first day, but after a few weeks I was able to do more. The class members are all at different levels so we just all work at our own level. Modern is different from ballet because there are not as many rules, it is more free. Ms. Barbara is very nice, patient, and helpful. One of my favorite exercises was when we got tracing paper to draw a design and walked it and then danced it with a partner's pattern, trying not to collide. This helped us think about speed, direction, and even the height of our dancing.
I am glad I tried something different because it will help me become a better dancer. Also, I think this will help me in life and the rest of my dance experiences. Trying modern helped me realize that sometimes it is okay to step out of your comfort zone. I feel more confident because I was successful when I stepped out of my comfort zone, while also having a lot of fun.
Alabama Youth Ballet has been a blessing to me in so many ways, and I have Mr. Herriott and Mrs. Gibb-Hilliard to thank for it. I began dancing when I was four years old and have been dancing in the state of Alabama for nearly twelve years now. Thus, I have had the experience to attend different ballet schools in the Huntsville-Madison area, along with a few out-of-state summer intensive programs, and it is because of my exposure to a variety of ballet organizations, that I can really recognize and appreciate how special AYBT company and AYB school is. I remember my very first class at AYB; I did not know anyone and I walked into class with a different colored leotard than everyone else. I was the new girl, but it sure did not feel that way. By the end of that class on day one, I had met people that are now my best friends several years later. A couple months after that first class, I was invited to be a member of the AYB Company. Being part of such an amazing group of people, I did not mind the long Saturday rehearsals, the late night weekday classes, and that exhausted feeling one gets at the end of an intense and strenuous rehearsal. The primary reason I was able to endure is because we are a family. The people I have met at AYB have changed my life, and I could not now imagine living without them. This is what makes Alabama Youth Ballet so unique and special. I know about cut-throat competition and the feeling of insecurity, but at AYB I never felt that way. We build each other up, rejoice with each other’s successes, and stick together during difficult times. We are safe and secure with ourselves and who we are because of our wonderful school and company directors. To anyone considering joining AYB, I strongly recommend you visit us and see what we are all about, because the experiences and friendships you build in our upstairs studio and our late night tech week rehearsals are cherished experiences and memories that can be carried throughout your life. To those who are already part of our family, let us keep up the family tradition, in the spirit of hard work and friendship; let us be who we are and help others to be the best they can be.
AYBT has been a gift to me and I have received so much more than I could ever give back to this amazing organization. I never dreamed that I would be the ballerina in a tutu that I always admired. AYBT has given me the opportunity to dance some of the most amazing roles in the most beloved ballets. Each one of these roles has taught me something else about myself and been a labor of love as well as the most fun I have ever had. I have learned exactly how much hard work goes into each of these roles but this is necessary because you and the audience are only going to get out as much as you’re willing to put in. Rehearsing can be a roller coaster filled with good days and bad but when you hang in there and keep working everything is worth it in the end when you take those first magical steps onto the stage in your gorgeous sparkling tutu. Dancing these roles has allowed me to feel a love for dance that I have never felt before. During your time on stage you are transported into a world of dance where you feel more powerful, beautiful, and magical than ever before. One of my favorite dance quotes from Agnes De Mille sums up this experience perfectly, “To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful. This is power, it is glory on earth and it is yours for the taking.” Dance has given me experiences that have allowed me to learn not only more about ballet but also about passion and myself. I have learned that there are no silly questions and laughter can help turn a difficult rehearsal around. I have also learned that with great opportunities comes even greater responsibility. You are a role model for every younger dancer but you can turn this pressure into motivation to do the best that you can to make everyone (but most importantly yourself) proud. I have worn my tutu to more schools, libraries, and other places than I can name as an ambassador for ballet to future ballerinas and audience members. I have to remember that these baby ballerinas don’t care how perfect your feet or turns are they just care that you look like you are having fun, you are a true princess to them no matter what happens so hold your crowned head up high!