The Children’s Hour of Power: “Getting ‘It’ Right from the Start”

Ballet Barre None, 2010

 

In a nutshell: A unique approach to teaching pre-ballet

 

As opposed to glossy videos featuring scripted lessons and students who’ve already perfected their technique, Eileen Juric gives viewers an inside look at three of her actual children’s ballet classes (ages 3–5, 5–7 and 7–9). This three-DVD series showcases a pre-ballet curriculum that works.

 

The system, developed by Joffrey Ballet School’s Dorothy Lister, is designed to take advantage of the most critical times in a child’s development without overwhelming them. In each lesson, students start with stretching on the floor and move straight to center work without ever touching the barre. They get lost in a world of magic caves, astronaut adventures and castles in the sky, not even realizing that they’re preparing for a lifetime of good alignment and correct ballet technique. Moving from “Demi-Diamond Pliés” to “Scoopy, Doopy, Doo” tendus, tiny ballerinas’ progress is visible as they actually hold in their stomachs and turn out from the hip. Kids are engaged, completing Juric’s sentences and moving seamlessly from one exercise to the next. And when there are mishaps in class—an overly chatty student or “Santa-Coming-to-Town Bellies”—Juric’s entertaining and natural rapport with students is inspirational.

 

The DVDs can be purchased individually or as a set, and teachers can access an online Quiptionary and list of NOtable NO’s to keep track of fun phrases.

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