The Early Childhood & Lower School pre-ballet/ballet program at St. Mary’s benefits our girls as students, athletes, artists, and as teammates. Our 2 and 3-year-olds enjoy pre-ballet every week as part of our Early Childhood curriculum.
Also, every student in first, second, and third grade takes ballet once a week. The ballet curriculum is designed to instill a lifelong love of expressive movement and an appreciation of dance performance in the girls. Each grade studies a different story ballet. They watch clips from professional performances and learn steps through role play and dramatic re-enactments of the scenes. Students also create their own movement by collaborating with each other in small groups. They perform scenes that allow them to connect with the emotional themes in the ballets they are studying. The year culminates in the end of the year Class Day performance which allows them to show their families what they have learned. Getting up and performing for an audience is a tremendous skill building experience for the students. The poise, confidence, self-expression and focus that they learn are transferable skills for any academic work that requires them to speak up and share ideas in front of the class.
Though ballet is meant to look effortless and graceful, a ballerina actually exerts a great deal of energy, and benefits the student through increased focus, fostering good posture, coordination and balance. Dance also helps girls learn the importance of self-control and discipline as well as the teamwork; they must work as a team to present a successful performance to an audience.
Dance also offers a unique opportunity for self-expression and a valuable outlet for their creativity. Working with their facial expression as well as their body movements, they can begin to appreciate the nuances of dramatic performance at a very young age.