I don’t get to watch many of my daughter’s dance lessons – on average the teachers allow parents to watch one class of each style per year – so I was very pleased to get to watch one of my daughter’s new Grade 3 ballet classes recently.
My daughter and three of her classmates have recently started taking an extra ballet class with older girls, with a view to potentially doing their Grade 3 later this year. The class I went to watch was only the fourth Grade 3 class my daughter had done – she’d done two with her old class and this was the second with her new class.
When the teacher had talked to us parents about the girls doing the extra class, she had said that our girls were generally more talented than the older girls and should be able to cope with moving on quickly. But what would I see in reality on only my daughter’s fourth lesson? These older girls had been working on the Grade 3 syllabus for 18 months already and my daughter and her friends had done three lessons! Taking into account what the teacher had said about the other girls, I expected my daughter to fall somewhere in the middle of the class.
She didn’t fall in the middle of the class.
Despite not knowing the moves properly (although she was doing a very good job at knowing them), she was STILL the best in the class. Her friends were better than most of the others too. There were only two members of the new class that came anywhere near my daughter and her friends.
My daughter keeps her ballet dancer’s posture at all times – head up, everything sucked in, completely disciplined and focused. These girls were rather fidgety. Nothing was pulled in like it should be. When they moved there was no control. Their hands were at strange angles, their legs wobbled and their heads were down. At times, it was almost comical – like watching a ballet class in a sitcom.
I’d always suspected that my daughter was better at ballet than her grade on paper suggests. And here was the proof. These girls will be considered good enough to do their Grade 3 in a few months, yet my daughter is in a completely different ballpark from them. She has complete control over her arms and legs. Her landings are precise and her hand and arm movements are beautiful.
And her FACE! She has so much polish. That is what sets her apart from her own classmates. She just goes that extra couple of percent with every move. Her head is always up and her face always does exactly what the move dictates – whether that’s smiling brightly or looking rather sad. I think this is a skill she picked up in panto and it has served her well.
Seeing my daughter in that class, I just felt so proud of her. She never ceases to amaze me with her dancing. Every time I think I know what she can do, she proves me wrong, by just going that little bit further. She is amazing!
Roll on Grade 3!