Children want to move, they want to dance.
Different children excel in different areas of intelligences. Some will understand and recall ballet terminology immediately; others will understand alignment and placement immediately; others will take interest in musicality and phrasing and artistry; others will hang from the barre upside down until they kicked out of class.
Why would a teacher choose to the limit the development and progress of their entire class because there are only a handful of ‘ballet steps’ they all do perfectly?
They aren’t showing up for class to be perfect. They’re showing up to learn.
I recently observed a very traditional ballet class for 6 and 7 year old students. The class spent nearly the entire first hour at the barre, a 4 count adagio with at least as many corrections, a few sautés in first position in the center. The boredom was palpable. The corrections, redundant.
Their placement was superb. Their turn-out was perfected to the very max of their ability. Their hands were neatly placed on their hips for the entirety of their demi plié combination (which was so impressively stunning btw).
And that was it…
A perfect demi plié does not a dancer make.
The truth is, I do very much agree with slowly training a dancer as the best way to ensure perfect technique as they get older. If they have the mental discipline at 6 years old to do 18,000 demi plies over and over again– great. Don’t move on to the next thing until the first is perfect. However, I’m a grown adult who loves ballet to my very core and I was bored out of my mind. You’re not going to get very far if a child quits by seven years old to take hip hop instead.
Let them perfect their demi-plié’s later. Let them love ballet first.