Ballet Beginnings for Children: Pre-School Movement Fundamentals for Ages 3 and 4 (Bk. 1)

Ballet Beginnings for Children: Pre-School Movement Fundamentals for Ages 3 and 4 (Bk. 1)

Ballet Beginnings for Children: Pre-School Movement Fundamentals for Ages 3 and 4 (Bk. 1)

Exercises that assist basic motor development are at the core of this guide for dance teachers who prepare very young children for ballet classes. Teaching strategies are organized around a complete lesson plan for a Fantasy Garden pre-ballet class that includes warm-up exercises, creative movement, center work, and work across the floor. Children dance the parts of garden-dwelling characters such as Skippy the Squirrel and Plié the Poppy as well as Galloping Green Grasshoppers an

List Price: $ 24.95

Price: $ 24.95

3 Responses to “Ballet Beginnings for Children: Pre-School Movement Fundamentals for Ages 3 and 4 (Bk. 1)”

  • Zoe says:
    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Great Resource! – some exercises can be modified, February 6, 2011
    By 
    Zoe (The Circle) –

    This review is from: Ballet Beginnings for Children: Pre-School Movement Fundamentals for Ages 3 and 4 (Bk. 1) (Paperback)

    I have been using this book for a little over a year in my pre-ballet classes and I have found it quite helpful for planning classes, building coordination, strength, and flexibility, and for introducing young children to the concepts of ballet. One of my classes comprises 4- and 5-year-olds (some were 3 when the class began), and the other class has kindergarten and first-graders, but I have found that the material is just as useful in the older group, perhaps more so, since they grasp the material more quickly. Personally I think it’s a little weird to have a man’s voice singing about flowers and bunnies in classes that consist of girls only (at least for me), but the girls love the music and I let them sing along as they do the exercises.

    The book is very thorough in introducing teaching methods for young children, the components of a pre-ballet class, common mistakes to watch out for, step progressions, and creative ideas to make the classes more fun and interesting. The book is intended to be a complete curriculum and can be used as such. I do not use all of the material or use it exclusively, but it would be easy to do so.

    I gave the book four stars instead of five for three reasons. First, some of the exercises as given are a little beyond a 3- or 4-year-old’s ability in terms of tempo and combinations of steps. I have modified a few of the exercises (moreso the centre floor exercises than the warm-up) to make them more appropriate for my students. I also have not been able to introduce all the exercises given in a single year for a class that meets once a week for 45 minutes or an hour.

    Secondly, many or even most of the centre and allegro exercises are just too fast, regardless of age group. My firm belief is that movements should be learned and mastered at a slow tempo before they are done fast, and the exercises as written in this book often give absurdly fast timing, which in my experience, inevitably leads to the children just plain running or falling down and hurting themselves. So I do some of the steps at half-tempo where that is the case.

    The third reason for the 4-star rating is terminology. A few of the songs use terms that I do not use in my classes, such as coupé and passé which, although used commonly in the US, are misnomers for sur le cou-de-pied and retiré, and I am particular about using the proper terms in my classes, so I just don’t use one or two of the songs. I also don’t use the port de bras music because it gives first through fifth positions of the arms (which can apply to either the Cecchetti or French school), and I teach the Vaganova method which only has three arm positions; another studio where I teach pre-ballet uses the French terms for the arms (en bas, en avant, en haut, etc.) so I don’t use the song for that class either, but someone who uses the French or Italian port de bras won’t have that issue.

    Overall I think this is a really useful book, especially for beginning teachers or teachers with little experience teaching young children, because you can follow the material to the letter and have a whole year’s curriculum laid out, or you can just pick and choose exercises and use the book and CDs as inspiration for your own ideas. Either way I recommend it.

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  • Dena Landon "writer girl" says:
    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
    2.0 out of 5 stars
    I agree, too advanced for small children, June 9, 2010
    By 
    Dena Landon “writer girl” (Minneapolis, MN) –

    This review is from: Ballet Beginnings for Children: Pre-School Movement Fundamentals for Ages 3 and 4 (Bk. 1) (Paperback)

    I am a dance teacher with several years experience. I bought this book/CD combination because I’m always looking for new ideas to enhance my classes for younger children (which can get repetitive). While many of Borross’s ideas are interesting, and can be adapted, I found that the tempos of the music and time allotted for each exercise was completely out-of-whack with what is possible for 3-4 year olds.

    For example, the Spider port de bras. The beginning, swaying arms is far too slow, but then the tempo speeds up to a ridiculously fast speed to rush through the basic arm movement. My children couldn’t follow along! The butterfly song to stretch was two minutes of just the butterfly stretch. If the author teaches children of this age and can get them to follow along and *enjoy* these exercises (rather than frustrating them), then I’m impressed. Most of the exercises that I tried in my classes did not engage the students. Some of them (a ponche? with 3 year old’s? really? An attitude? Good grief, you can’t get their legs straight at this age!) are completely inappropriate for this age group.

    That said, the exercises can be adapted and used with older ages. Some can still be used with younger children, however, not enough of them to justify the expense of this book. If you’re an experienced dance teacher I wouldn’t expect this to give you a lot of new material, if you’re a beginning teacher and you try to use this in a classroom expect tears and frustration (both yours and the students).

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  • Anonymous says:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    The CDs are great – just use the book for reference/ideas., November 11, 2010
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    This review is from: Ballet Beginnings for Children: Pre-School Movement Fundamentals for Ages 3 and 4 (Bk. 1) (Paperback)

    I’ve used the Fantasy Garden Ballet cds for over 10 years and have been very impressed with their quality. The songs are musical enough that even though they get stuck in your head, they aren’t terribly annoying. The lyrics are catchy and draw the kids in (after two or three classes my students can usually sing most of the words) – which helps them “connect the dots” between the steps and their names.

    There are several songs (Bourree the Bee comes to mind) that are too long, but I can just turn it off when I’m ready to move on to something new.

    I use the cd’s, but I don’t reference the book for much. The routines that I use are almost all different from the ones in the book, but I would guess that the suggestions are a good springboard for a new dance teacher. Each one is described step-by-step with the accompanying lyrics, explains what the goals for the exercise are, lists common mistakes that occur and suggests how to correct them, and offers ideas for making the steps more challenging.

    I hold strongly to the opinion that ballet class should always start with plies, so I’ve burned my own copy of the music, with the songs in an order I prefer. We also don’t use the entire cd in one class – I use it for warm-ups and for a “fun song” near the end of class. Even my 10-year-old students love Skippy the Squirrel and Mr. Inchworm.

    The Creative Movement medley is excellent for encouraging students to listen to the various nuances in music – they learn to recognize fast and slow tempos, and tell when the song changes, even if the melody is similar.

    I use many of these songs for my youngest students (2-4), however I feel it’s *better* suited for ages 5-8. For example, in the book it’s suggested that Coupe the Cricket be done at the barre, but I don’t know any teachers who have their 3- and 4-year-olds using the barre. We do this in a circle in the center and it encourages them to work on their balance.

    I also recommend this to parents when they want something to help their kids practice at home. Students will recognize the songs and know which steps go with each one, so it will make practicing at home much easier.

    Overall, I think the cds are excellent and are good for a wide age range, but I would play them in a different order and take the routine ideas as suggestions, not law. The songs are good for helping the students remember the steps – I have 3-year-olds who can echappe, coupe, passe, and show me all 5 arm positions thanks to these songs. Because it’s music, you can make appropriate for 2-year-olds or 10-year-olds by simply adapting the steps.

    I’d give this 4.5 stars if I could, but since I have to go with whole numbers, I’m going to give it a 5.

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