Girls in Tutus

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What little girl hasn’t dreamt of being a ballerina? In in her mind P1’s already the next Darcey Bussell. Ballet lessons were something I was keen to try but I was reluctant to enrol the girls in a traditional dance school with their expensive uniforms and tiresome recitals. Luckily word of mouth led me to the wonderful Elke Crowe and Tutu Studios.

Elke runs delightful classes for 2 to 6 year olds. Her classical background is evident in her elegant demeanour and graceful movements but she is by no means a stereotypical ballet ma’am. The program is all about  fun. Each after a few basic warm ups, she leads the tiny dancers through a magical adventure. They swim with mermaids, fly through the clouds with Peter Pan and shoot like rockets through space. The girls adore the props – musical instruments, colourful swirly ribbons, magic wands and the bubble machine. At first carers were allowed to sit in on the classes. It was the most entertaining 40 minutes of my week. Watching P1 add her own flourishes and twirls at every opportunity was mortifying (I mean, how did I raise such a show-off?)  but funny.

In my experience some dance teachers are innappropriately strict with this age group. Refreshingly Elke doesn’t push the girls and mistakes are met with good humour. As is P1’s outrageous posing. (On our first visit P1 marched up to Elke and announced that she “knew everything about ballet” because she had been watching Angelina). The thing I appreciated most however, was Elke’s understanding towards my situation with P2. Most dance teachers won’t tolerate younger siblings.  However Elke allowed my 2 year old to join the 4 to 5 year olds’ class. P2’s participation was erratic. Sometimes she kept up with the older kids, whilst on other days she had to be ushered out in fits of whinging. All the while Elke was more than patient.

For P1 the ballet fashion is half the fun.  Fortunately Tutu Studios has no uniform. The girls may wear what they like, providing another opportunity P1 to express her individuality (which she has by the truckload). I took my princesses to Dance Direct in Maroubra hoping to pick up a couple of those lovely simple leotards with soft organza wrap skirts. Alas no – both of them chose the most outlandish and expensive confections in the entire store. (God help me when they get married).

At $160 for a 10 week term Tutus  is good value and you dont have sit through a mind numbing concert at the end. For Mums looking to introduce their girls to dance in the most hassle free way, I would highly recommend it.

Two bright pink meringues

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