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babyballet promotional image - young boys and girls enjoy a ballet class

Tutus, twirls, and tippy toes

The excitement around PaddlePod is continuing to build, and there’s been a lot of talk recently about the many classes that will take place in our activity rooms. One class in particular that’s been generating a lot of interest is babyballet.

When we’ve been speaking to parents, many have been excited at the idea of seeing their smiling toddler wearing an adorable tutu. And, while it’s certainly a benefit of beginner ballet classes, there are many, many other advantages to these classes. In this blog, we talk to Miss Jo and Miss Kate, founders of babyballet North Tyneside, Newcastle North and Gateshead West, about some of the perhaps surprising skills your little girl – or boy – will learn during a pre-school dance class.

What’s babyballet all about?

Miss Kate (K): “Where do we start?! Our classes, all of which are delivered by professional dance teachers, are suitable for children aged six months to six years, and follow a carefully designed syllabus. While the classes are predominantly attended by little girls, we are seeing more and more boys join our sessions, which I just love. There’s this real misconception that ballet classes are “just for girls”, and it’s really not the case! The classes are a great opportunity for all children – boys and girls – to experience the magic of dance, and to learn and develop key skills in a healthy and safe environment.”

What inspired you to start babyballet North Tyneside, Gateshead West and Newcastle North?

Miss Jo (J): “It was our love of dancing, and our belief that it’s something that every child should have the opportunity to enjoy. We started running babyballet classes in North Tyneside and the surrounding areas over two years ago, and now teach more than 450 budding ballerinas every week. We love it, and we have a great team around us who share our passion.”

What skills do children learn in your classes?

K: “Posture and flexibility are perhaps the two skills that spring to mind when people think about ballet classes. For pre-school children, though, our classes promote so many other skills.”

J: “One of the things I love most about our classes is watching children grow in confidence week after week. Dance classes give little ones a safe space to express themselves, and getting praise for their accomplishments – by teachers and other dancers – gives them a real boost. It’s also so magical to see little friendships blossom when children support each other and share an enjoyment of movement.”

“As Kate says, flexibility is an important skill, and our classes promote this, along with strength, in a safe and healthy environment.”

K: “We see our babyballet stars pick up loads of other skills, too – and it’s amazing to watch. Our dancers are exposed to a magical world of new words – skip, stretch, bend – and we use music to help them improve their understanding of the world. This helps them to expand their vocabulary, as well as their communication skills. In addition, they learn all about social interaction, spatial awareness, the importance of taking turns, how to listen and follow instructions, respect for each other and, of course, creativity. It’s wonderful watching a young child learn a new dance routine while adding their own unique flavour to it.”

And, we have to ask about the tutus… how cute are they?!

J: “They certainly are! It’s incredibly cute, but the uniform – while not compulsory – gives our babyballet stars a real sense of belonging, and of being part of a team when they tippy toe into our classes. It really helps to promote discipline, too and, when my babyballet starts were younger, I found it was a great introduction to uniforms ahead of them starting school – which seems like so long ago now!”

You can find babyballet classes at PaddlePod @ Newcastle on a Monday, Tuesday, and Friday morning, with more classes being added soon.

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