The Studio, School of Classical Ballet, Santa Cruz, CA
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Why Take Ballet?

Children begin ballet for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it's because a child has been dancing around the house since they arrived and displays a keen interest in dance (movement) and it's a given. For some -- many -- other cases a parent feels it will develop grace or better posture. Or, enrolling in ballet could be because of some genetic weakness, injury or illness, and ballet lessons have been recommended as remedial, corrective exercise. Ballet is taught as a practice comprised of "positions" and traditional steps set to music, which almost anyone can start out learning to do and marks the beginning of body awareness, muscular control, and powerful, poised, physical deportment.

That said, ballet is both a challenging and fulfilling body discipline that develops both coordination and mental acuity as well as helps to develop an ear for music and the joy inherent in responding physically to it. From an exercise standpoint, ballet's many benefits include muscular strengthening and the building of cardiovascular stamina, and the potential to increase flexibility. An absolute benefit includes postural awareness, postural alignment and general improvement. Because of the isometric techniques employed across ballet study, students of all ages build elongated yet strong arms and legs. Using the weight of the body against gravity strengthens lean muscle tissue.

For Emotional and Cognitve Development, in Addition to Physicality

We have seen time and time again that the study of ballet mentors students to develop skills of determination and agility, and helps to build self-confidence. Ballet develops grace, and the discipline of the movement and practice promotes the tendency toward excellent organizational skills. The practice and discipline developes impressive concentration levels, superior understanding of commitment, artistry, the propensity for self-expression, exceptional physical fitness, and the noticeable development of cooperation and awareness-of-other skills. Studying ballet additionally challenges the mind in that it enhances memorization capacity and sense of self in space – spatial and kinesthetic awareness– thanks to the application of stringing steps together, turning and level changing, reversing and retrograding, all of which can greatly improve dyslexia. And finally, our students understand the satisfaction of reaching long-term goals, a reward not found easily in today's fast-paced world.

For Theatrical, Performance Skills Development

To perform in an art, some are born with more inherent talent for it than others. Nevertheless, opportunity to perform movements and steps set to music alongside your classmates, as well as, as a solo dancer are skills that when developed, stay with a student for life. Presentation skills are ones that develop over time and become more fun and more fulfilling Р and far less intimidating Рwith practice, whether the child is headed for a career on the stage or will benefit from these skills having become a fabulous speaker and presenter at some point in his/her future. In-class opportunity to perform takes place in front of the mirror with classmates, at our annual Student Demonstration, or by auditioning for a part in one of Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre's annual, local productions, Studio students are given ample opportunity and guidance to develop confidence in personal and group performance skills. To learn more about stage performances and opportunities with a dance performance company, visit SCBT's information page...

To Pursue Dance as a Vocation

And to those who are destined for the theatres, the younger one starts, the more time and opportunity one has to develop the skills, talent, artistry and discipline necessary to make it as a professional dancer -- ballet or otherwise. The Studio's curriculum is designed to meet the needs of both those participating for recreational development all the way to those students who set their sights on making dance a fulfilling career. Visit our Alumni page for more information on how some of our youngest students went on to become successful professional dancers.