For the past 2 months or so M has been obsessed with dancing and anything ballet. She hones in on ballet books at the library, imitates things she sees on TV, says “I want to be a ballerina when I get older” and knows the French terms for several ballet positions. She’s never been in an organized class of any kind so we thought a preschool ballet class might be fun. Let the search begin…
Our city has a great Rec Department with all kinds of classes and activities so that was the first place to look. I found tons of ballet classes, except all the ones for ages 3-5 are between 10 AM and 1 PM on the weekdays. In fact, every single class offered for preschoolers, be it ballet, hockey or art, is during a weekday. After 5 PM classes don’t begin until age 8! To me this is a big old “F you!” to working parents. They gladly take income taxes out of each and every paycheck but offer no services for working parents in return. My taxes pay for this stupid Rec Department – too bad we’ll have to wait another 5 years to use any of its offerings! And for comparison, I checked with 3 other area Rec Departments and every one offers at least one evening or weekend ballet class for preschoolers. Calls to each ended in disappointment as I was told I had to be a resident to enroll M in those classes. The local YMCA and JCC both only offer weekday classes.
So I started looking around elsewhere and here’s a bit of news: dance studios don’t really advertise much, especially on the web. I finally found one that is close to our house and seems to have a good reputation. I got really excited to see they have a Saturday morning class for 3 & 4 year olds. But their “sessions” are 22-weeks long which translates into a few hundred dollars in fees! That would mean dance class every Saturday until the end of June. I called anyway; ready to bite the tuition and commitment bullet only to find that their Saturday class is full and they usually give enrollment preference to families with older kids in their program. Would I like to be put on a waiting list for next fall? Um, no thanks.
A lunch-time visit to the local dance-supply shop for help has given me some more hope. Another local studio has a Saturday preschool class, but their session started a week ago and they won’t return my several calls. Here’s a Pro Tip: if your website and answering machine says your hours are 1-7 PM and no one ever answers the calls I make between 1 & 5 then I have no trust in you as a business. Moving on…
There is a Dance & Gymnastics studio in a nearby suburb that holds promise and the draw of a dance + tumbling combo class on Monday nights. There is also a studio that is holding Saturday classes at a brand new fitness center that just opened very close to our house. And as a final resort – a studio about a half-hour away has a creative dance class on Saturday mornings. Now…if I can get someone to call me back so I can talk to a real person.
Keep your fingers crossed that one of these places has an opening for our tiny dancer. Because seeing all the adorable little leotards and skirts at the dance-supply shop just about killed me with cuteness.
Updated 1/13: Lots of calls later, M is now signed up for classes taught by Remote Dance and held at the new Lifetime Fitness near our house. Tomorrow night we’ll go get the proper leotard, tights and shoes – lots and lots of pictures to follow!