Ballet basics

This summer, R and I started taking Mommy and Me ballet. (I was pleased to see that despite the name, there are also daddies — and one little boy — in our class.) After a few minutes of uncertainty, she fell in love, and now she’ll walk around the house looking for her ballet slippers and offering to curtsey in exchange for a hand stamp (the class ending ritual).

At our ballet studio, tutus are allowed in the Mommy and Me class, but I wanted to keep things simple. I see ballet as a discipline in which I hope R will continue for a long time, and although Mommy and Me is hardly serious classical ballet training (I could be mistaken, but I don’t think Dame Margot Fonteyn learned technique by pretending to be a rainbow), I want her to associate the dance studio with dancing, not with a fancy outfit.

Or, as I put it to a coworker: “Tutus are for performance.”

I might be taking Mommy and Me a little too seriously.

The dress code for our class is pink tights, pink leotard, pink slippers, tutu optional, although it’s not strictly enforced. That said, R doesn’t seem to care that some of the other little girls in her class show up in tutus or frilly dresses while she’s dressed like she’s auditioning for the School of American Ballet. And it’s probably best for hear to learn from a young age that her mama adores a dress code. I love tutu skirts and she has a couple in her wardrobe at any given time, but for her ballet class, she seems perfectly happy to be simply attired (with the added benefit that she’s not hitching up or tripping over a big frilly skirt while she’s practicing pointing her toes).

Basic ballet uniform for a beginner
Our ballet basics — so far, she hasn’t missed the tutu.

For ballet, R wears the Capezio Little Girls’ Classic Short Sleeve Leotard and the Danskin Little Girls’ Microfiber Footed Tight in Theatrical Pink. (The tights also come in Ballet Pink, which is a more peachy color, but I like the pinkier pink.) Her shoes are Bloch Dance Bunnyhop Slippers. The slippers seem to me to run a bit small, although R has wide feet, so that makes a difference. Of course, with ballet slippers you want them to fit fairly snug when they are new, since they’ll stretch with use, although I don’t believe that’s as true for toddlers as it is for older dancers — at least in R’s case, she hasn’t exactly nailed the exaggerated pointed toe, and she’s certainly not doing any grand jetes or battements. The Bloch slipper is lined with flannel as well, which seems to keep it from stretching as much. When she gets older, we’ll start using a split-sole canvas slipper, but these are perfect for her right now.

For the summer, when we had just a few classes, one leotard was fine, but we’ve signed up for a full year of classes beginning this week, and knowing we’ll fall behind on laundry at some point, I ordered a few backups from Zulily. They do dance events fairly often, although I recommend waiting until you see options from trusted names like Capezio and Danskin; I’ve been less than thrilled with the quality of some of the unfamiliar brands I’ve ordered from Zulily, so I stick to brands I know will be reliable when I shop there.

And that order, I admit, included one leotard with a little pink skirt. It’s not a big frilly tutu, but hey — a girl’s got to have some fun.

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