Will ballet dancing help my little girl?

by Gemma
(West Midlands)

Will ballet dancing help my little girl?: -


I have had a passion for ballet since I was little, although I was too shy to give it a go. I now have a gorgeous little 6 year old who has been doing ballet for 7 months and is so enthusiastic, it's lovely. The thing is, she has already broken her leg at the age of 16 months and her wrist at the age of 3. I've been assured that these are mended and that there is no underlying medical condition, however, she is so reserved when it comes to all other forms of exercise that her fitness is poor and her weight is increasing. I can only afford ballet lessons once a week. Will these eventually make a difference to her long-term fitness or are there other activities I can do with her at home that will contribute towards the positive effects of her ballet classes?
Also, will ballet help with flat feet? I've read of famous ballerinas dancing despite this problem.
Thanks for your help :)


Reply by Odette

to Will ballet dancing help my little girl?


Thank you very much for your query.

There is nothing but positive benefits from doing ballet classes. Ballet has many benefits in terms of exercise; it will improve co-ordination, posture, flexibility and general health and well-being.

If you are looking to ballet as more of a hobby for you daughter then it should be done purely for the enjoyment and love. So, if your daughter is very enthusiastic with ballet I would definitely recommend you to continue with the classes.

Doing one class a week is better than doing none, however, ballet is something which takes constant time and endurance to see much improvement in terms of physical fitness. It is hugely known to tone and lengthen the body, but I believe that is mainly the case if you are doing it consistently or training more seriously as a professional dancer.

You can't guarantee ballet will solely improve long-term fitness because ballet classes can tend to move quite slowly, or sometimes don't seem intense enough as there's a lot of stopping and starting.

Ballet does require athletic ability and perhaps combined with other sports could more greatly improve your daughter's fitness.

Alongside with ballet, I would strongly encourage swimming as another form of exercise. A lot of professional dancers go swimming to keep fit in the holidays as it is not too strenuous on the muscles yet still has huge fitness benefits. You say your daughter is reserved when it comes to other forms of exercise, but try to encourage swimming as I believe this could be the answer to keep her fit.

Pilates is a popular activity used by training and professional dancers to improve their strength in dancing. Pilates is a form of exercises which needs to be done correctly in order to achieve any benefits so, unless your daughter feels enthusiastic about pilates, then perhaps give that one a miss until she is older and able to understand the concepts of it.

Onto your question about flat feet, I believe ballet may help with flat feet as it stretches the muscles in the feet and therefore strengthens them. A famous ballerina, Dame Alicia Markova, got taken to ball classes by her mother to correct what she thought was a problem of flat feet and weak legs.

I wish you and your daughter all the best, it's always lovely to hear from you so don't hesitate to come back!

All the best


Comments for Will ballet dancing help my little girl?

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Dancing daughter
by: Anonymous

My daughter is 10 and has danced since she could walk. The school she has been enrolled in does not any strength in the ballet aspect for her age. Ballet 3, is taught by a wonderful teacher, but my daughter was placed in ballet 1, 2 years in a row and then this year was told she could move to level 2 with private lessons over the summer. I see no difference between what the 2 and 3 girls are doing, and she wants to do point in middle school and feels she needs to move through the levels faster. She has a bar at home and practices frequently. The obey feedback I have gotten from the school regarding her slow progress is that her knees may be hyper extended and they may cause her delay. Where can I find what she shield be able to do in each level so I know where she should be? And what is the best type of ballet to be trained in in Florida? Thanks so much. Confused mom!

Dancing Daughter
by: Odette

Reply by Odette


Thank you for your submission, it is great to hear from you.

Firstly, do not let her hyper extensions worry you. This is a common element for many dancers and they are a feature that can very much complement the dancer's lines once you learn how to control them. Although your daughter's progress may seem slow at first, she just needs time to build the strength in her legs. Hyper extensions can also be referred to as 'sway backs' and I also had these as a dancer. It took a while for me to learn how to manage my sway backs, yet I learnt to not 'sit back' into my hyper extensions so I begin to build strength. Your daughter's teacher should be able to guide her to how she can begin to feel what's it is like to control her hyper extensions. She needs to focus on building the stability in her legs to have a balance between her flexibility and strength.

I gather you want to understand what level your daughter should be at, I would advise the best solution to find this information would be at her dance school with her ballet teachers. These are the people that know your daughter's ability and should have a vast knowledge their students levels. Therefore, they should be able to reassure you that your daughter is doing well and in the right level.

The best type of ballet to be trained in any area is one that offers serious classes with the aim to progress and nurture their students. Depending on how serious your daughter is about ballet, a vocational dance school provides dancers with the most advantageous opportunities to become a professional. These schools start training from the early age of 11 right up until they are 18. Yet obviously it depends on whether you are thinking on going down this avenue of a professional career. If not, you still want to find a place that gives your daughter fulfilled and valuable classes.

Best Wishes,


Should I let my little girl attend ballet?
by: Emily

Hello my little girl Arabella is nearly 4 and she loves tutus and anything ballet or dance related. She attends a private school where all girls begin ballet in PE time when they turn 5.

I really would like Bella to begin ballet but I and my husband not 100% sure Bella will stick to it. Also Bella is going through a clingy stage and hates it when I leave her at nursery, so I don't know if ballet will have the same effect? I'm also 6 months pregnant again with another girl so I will have the same dilema in a few years!

Can anybody offer any advice?

Many thanks Emily

Should I let my little girl attend ballet?
by: Odette

Hello Emily,
Thank you for your message, it's really good to hear from you. Your daughter is so lovely and young, so there are many possibilities for her. I'm am so pleased to hear both you and your husband encourage ballet, because there is nothing better than having your parents support no matter how young you are or how seriously you take ballet.

It is completely natural for her to be shy or not want you to leave her side, but I'm sure she would grow to love ballet. Most young girls dream to take classes, so I would give it a go if you are willing. It is great fun and brings a lot of enjoyment for young girls.

If you find she is being clingy to you, then try asking the teacher if you can watch the class or stay for the beginning until she warms into it. I would think ballet would feel different than going to nursery, especially if she loves tutus and dancing.

Congratulations on your next little girl!! Please do keep in touch.

Best wishes,

1st ballet lesson was a success!!
by: Emily

Hello Odette,

Just to say my husband and I took Arabella to her first ballet lesson on Christmas Eve at a dance school in our village to prepare her for ballet at pre-prep next September. She had a new leotard, tutu, tights and ballet shoes all on and she looked so so cute.

She was very clingy when we went in the room and had a huge meltdown when mummy and daddy were planning to go!! The teacher allowed us to stay with Bella still being very little.

My hubby and I both stayed and watched our little girl, it was such a lovely experience and she kept turing around and beaming to make sure we didn't sneak off! After a few spins around the room Arabella adored it and got right into it. She has taken to it like duck to water. She kept shouting mummy watch me!! And she definatly wants to go again. So every week we will take Bella to the ballet classes and we hope after a few we will be able to drop her off and then pick her up.

Many thanks for the advice on Arabella's ballet :)

with best wishes

Emily, James and Arabella x

Reply to : 1st ballet lesson was a success!!
by: Odette

Hello to all of you! - Emily, James and Arabella,

Thank you so very much for keeping in touch. I can't tell you how happy I am to read your message and I am so pleased the first ballet class was a success for Arabella.

I am sure Arabella will absolutely love ballet classes from now on, it just takes a bit of getting used to and warming into the fun! Soon, I bet she will be coming home showing you both all her new dance moves.

I can hear your joy beaming from your words, and I am smiling too! Thank you. What a fabulous pair of parents Arabella has got.

Don't forget, I am always here to help out!

Best wishes,

2nd Arrival
by: Emily

Dear Odette,

Hope your well?

My 2nd little girl arrived on Valentines day!!!!. Her name is Athena Rose!! Arrived a little earlier than expected but she weighed 5lbs 6oz and is home and gorgeous!! Bella loves her and won't leave her alone at the moment. Athena has attended one of Arabella's ballet classes.

Thank you again for the help with Arabella and ballet, so is being a right monkey at the moment and EXTREMELY clingy (I guess it's the arrival of Athena) she is dreadful when I drop her off at nursery and ballet at the moment I practically drag her in the door.

I now leave her at ballet and she isn't too bad but does cry and says mummy come back. But once I go the teacher said she is fine.

I feel I should keep the ballet up for her and not give up hopefully things should settle down when she is used to having Athena around the house now. I hope so anyway. She has not wanted to go to ballet lately but again I think it's because of Athena and she is only just 4 so I am not too worried although I'm anxious for her to keep doing it. My husband is going to start taking her to ballet and she may not have a meltdown with him!! (fingers crossed)

Best wishes Emily, James, Arabella and Athena :)

Reply to 2nd Arrival
by: Odette

Hello Emily, James, Arabella and Athena!

Wow I am so excited to be saying hello to your newest little arrival Athena. What a special, memorable and touching time it must be for you all. Congratulations and thank you so much for taking the time to fill me in with this news. It made my day!

I can imagine Arabella must be in awe of Athena! She must be so happy to have a little sister and I bet she just wants to spend time with you all.

By the way it sounds, I know you must be anxious to keep up the ballet lessons for Arabella. After all, it really should be a fun and joyful hobby that she looks forward to going to. You don't want it to turn into something she feels forced to do or is pushed too much, because I don't think that will help build up her love for ballet.

However, every dancer varies hugely at what stage they have began to really enjoy ballet. I know for me, I started at age 4 or 5 and didn't have an immedicate passion for it. In fact, I stopped then started again when I was 8 and that was when I realised how much I loved it! The enjoyment from then on always came from me and I just loved going to my dance classes. That's whats really important to get the most of ballet, to love it and want to do it more & more.

However, your little one Arabella is so young and maybe just needs some more encouragment towards ballet. I know it might sound silly, but I think it would help to put on some DVDs or programs with ballet in it. Then, she will see how it is something even her favourite characters do and it is fun, free and enjoyable!

I remember watching Barbie and the Nutcracker with my little sister and she loved it! She saw the characters twirl around on pointe and she wanted to copy their moves to be like them.

It's worth a try for sure!

Please do keep me in touch! I will keep my thoughts going and get back to you if I have any more ideas.

Love to all of you!

Best wishes,

Hello Odette..as promised I said to keep in touch
by: Emily

Hi Odette,

It's Emily I hope I find you well?

Sorry it's been a while since I have been in touch been a busy mummy!!! We have just moved house close to where we were in Surrey but a much bigger home with plenty of garden for our children :) Bella loves it!!! Her ballet is going great and she twirls around our new kitchen constantly. Athena is nearly 9 months old now and crawling everywhere!!!She has come on leaps and bounds...and is even trying to teach Athena already. She cries when I bring her home from ballet now...little tike she is.

Love Emily, James, Bella and Athena x

Reply to: ..as promised I said to keep in touch
by: Odette

Hello Emily,
I can't thank you enough for your message, it's when I hear such great news like this that makes me so thankful I created this website! Everything sounds wonderful and like a fairy tale, I am so pleased for you. Where has the time gone though?! I can't believe Athena is 9 months old already - wow - time really does fly by. It is great little Bella is gradually building up her own true passion for ballet. I bet it is this energy and love you were waiting for from her ballet classes!

Keep busy, happy and healthy! Sending my thoughts to all of you! Thank you again.

Best wishes,

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