We had a great time when we were invited along to a babyballet class in Summertown recently. My son has never really tried dancing before, bar a few living room discos, but loves music and I was excited to see how he’d get on.
babyballet have classes for children age 6 months to 5 years in Botley, Summertown, Didcot and Witney through the week and weekends. They are run by Charlotte, who started babyballet in Oxfordshire in 2013 when looking for a dance class for her own daughter, who was two at the time:
‘I went to watch some classes at the babyballet Head Office in Halifax and I couldn’t stop smiling at the children dancing and seeing how much fun they were having!
‘I just knew I wanted to bring that magic Oxfordshire too. Our classes are a wonderful and gentle introduction to ballet created for girls and boys. We believe that babyballet is a great first dance class providing the opportunity for babies and young children to learn and develop key life skills in a healthy and safe environment.’
Oxford Mumbler reviews babyballet
Because my son is three, we had the choice of two classes: Tinies which is for 18 months to 3 years, and Movers which is for 3 and 4 year olds. I opted for the Tinies class because he’s is new to dancing – I thought the Movers class might be a bit advanced for him, and parents don’t join their kids for Movers classes.
We were greeted by the teacher and invited to sit down on mats placed in a circle around her. I was quite pleased to see my son wasn’t the only boy, though I’m not sure he’d have noticed either way! It was a nice class size of about eight children.
A lot of the girls had tutus on and looked so so so cute! Sadly for me, my son refuses any and all fancy dress (and currently much of his normal dress) so I didn’t even try to get him in something sparkly. He wasn’t the only one in everyday clothes though, anything goes.
We began with some warm up singing and did the actions alongside, with some toys for one of the songs which the kids enjoyed pulling out of a bag. We then moved into the ballet, starting off with the absolute classic good toes, naughty toes. This made me feel SO nostalgic – I so clearly remember doing this in ballet when I was little!
For anyone who has got no idea what I’m talking about – this is where you sit on the floor with your legs stretched out straight, feet together. You point your toes away from you (good toes) and then towards you (naughty toes).
We then stood in the ‘first position’ (heels together, toes out) and did plies (bending knees while keeping your heels together). We also did hopping and walking on tip toes. The teacher came round and ‘helped’ the children with the various moves.
It was all set to music and I thought all the exercises were really well paced and pitched – absolute ballet classics providing just the right amount of difficulty for the age range in the class.
To finish, the teacher gave all the children their own babyballet teddy bear and played the babyballet goodbye song, while encouraging the kids to look after their teddies and cuddle them to sleep. I’ve never seen this at a group and thought it was such a good idea. It somehow took the focus off the child, giving them something to do while also calming down.
All the children were really into it, and they were even happier when the teacher gave them all a sticker and a hand stamp at the very end of the class. Like most kids, my son is potty about stickers and it was a very sweet finish to a very enjoyable class!
If you’re interested in signing up, you can pay £15 for the first three sessions to see if it is for you. For more information about classes go to the babyballet website or follow their Facebook page.
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