Clara had her first ballet class at Rachel's Ballet in Dublin this past week. She was so excited for it and talked about it for days in advance. I really wasn't sure how she would do and was worried that she wouldn't do what Miss Ashley (the instructor) asked or would get clingy but she marched right in with the other girls and was assuming first position and intently imitating movements within minutes. I can watch her through a window and she had a huge smile across her face the entire time. She is definitely hooked.
Before class started I asked her to do some ballet poses for me so I could take her picture and boy did she ever give me a performance. Here are just a handful of the shots I took:
I asked around when I was trying to determine which ballet school to send her too and got quite a few recommendations for Rachel's studio. She is actually a member of our ward and puts on a full performance of "The Nutcracker" every year at the Oakland Temple auditorium for free. Tickets are gone within 5 minutes of being made available every season and we didn't get them last year but are definitely going to try to get some this year even though Clara won't be old enough to perform in it until she is 5 or 6. I may have mentioned this before but one of the reasons we love Clara's name so much is because of Clara from the Nutcracker and we have a number of Nutcracker books that we read to Clara and she adores the story because of the name association. Last Christmas she loved watching the ballet for the first time and we are looking forward to taking her again this year since it is one of our favorite Christmas traditions.
Rachel's studio is the only one around that follows RAD standards (Royal Academy of Dance) and examines their students every year to determine eligibility for moving up levels (including preschool levels). It is definitely the most intensively and exclusively ballet-focused school in our area compared to other dance studios that also offer tap, contemporary, jazz, etc. So I don't know if that is going to be a good thing or a bad thing for Clara but for now I think it is great. Plus it is practically just around the corner from us which makes it super convenient.
I have to admit that my heart aches a little seeing her growing up so fast with her hair pulled into a perfect bun and her sweet pink leotard, skirt, tights, and slippers walking in to her dance class confident and proud. A part of me wonders: is it too much? Is it okay for her to be doing gymnastics on Monday and ballet on Tuesday and starting preschool this fall? I honestly know it is fine - I'm not really concerned and although we obviously are giving her the opportunities at this stage we would pull her from the activities if Clara was not enjoying them or wasn't ready but she talks about ballet and gymnastics all the time and so obviously loves them that we know it is the right thing for her right now. But Paul and I decided soccer is too much to add to the mix this year so we are nixing that even though we had been thinking about getting her started in that too.
She is such a little lady and we just love our little ballerina so much.