*This post is sponsored- but the thoughts and feelings are our own, and we only work with businesses we believe to be reputable and resourceful to our readers.
As parents, we look forward to those special “first” moments with our kids, like their first bike ride or reading their first words. I had a moment like that recently with my daughter, when we attended her first ballet class.
I was not expecting my heart to swell or to feel so giddy as I watched her parade around in a little tutu and ballet slippers, smiling proudly at her reflection in the mirror as she plied and tondu’d around the room. I felt joy in her excitement, pride in her sense of accomplishment, and seeing her wave around a magical wand pretending to be a fairy made us both giggle with delight.
When my daughter and I arrived at the Tutu School, the instructor came over right away to introduce herself, kneeling down to my daughter’s level, putting us both at ease. Throughout the class, the instructor was cheerful and patient, which is hard with a class full of toddlers! There was no pressure to participate, but everyone was encouraged to have fun, even the parents! My daughter and I both had big smiles on our faces as we left, and we can’t wait to go back.
When I first contacted Genevieve, the founder of The Tutu School, and Sonya, studio owner of Tutu School West Portal, they were excited to tell us more about their program and philosophy at the Tutu School:
1) I see that your philosophy is based on the idea that every child deserves to know what it feels like to dance. How do you think your young students benefit developmentally from ballet?
Genevieve: Our mission is so deeply personal and important to me, because I couldn’t believe more strongly in the benefits of introducing children to music and movement at the earliest possible age. Classes at Tutu School incorporate a tiny bit of ballet technique (and layer in more and more as our students advance through each division), but our primary focus is on introducing children to the world of ballet – its culture, stories, and music – in the most magical way possible and in a way that exercises their imaginations as well as their bodies. Some of our students may choose to pursue a more disciplined study of ballet once they graduate from Tutu School, but all of them will leave us with an appreciation of the arts and a developed sense of creativity that will serve them well in whatever they do later in life.
2) What do you think makes the Tutu School so special?
Sonya: Before I was a studio owner, I was a mom who took my 2 year old to a Tutu School and was immediately in awe of it (so was my kid)! Tutu School is specifically for children 18 months to 8 years old, and everything from the curriculum to teacher’s qualifications to the space was designed with young children in mind. Our curriculum is developmentally age-appropriate, our teachers are dancers with tons of experience with young children, and we have a flexible makeup and cancellation policy (unlimited makeups and month-to-month membership) because we know with young kids, plans often change!
3) What is one of the biggest transformations you’ve seen in one of your students?
Sonya: With very young children, Tutu School is sometimes one of their first experiences in a social setting, so we respect that and we try to make it as inviting as possible. I often see a young child who is clinging to their mom or dad in the first class become more and more comfortable each class and later on start making friends and can’t wait for class to start! Kids learn very differently – some participate right away, some just observe, and some can be very kinetic, but they are all learning nonetheless!
4) I read on the website that Genevieve, you have three boys–have they expressed any interest in ballet? If so, how has it affected them, and you, as their mother? Do you have opportunities for boys that might also be interested in dance?
Genevieve: I do. I have a seven year-old and two year-old twins – all boys! All of them have been in Tutu School classes at one time or another, and my youngest boys are still dancing with us. We LOVE having boys in class. Every great ballet story has a prince, and dance is definitely not just for girls. I think boys at Tutu School have fun practicing the same things all Tutu Schoolers enjoy – dancing like animals, jumping like rocket ships, and marching like ballet dinosaurs to name a few! As a mom, I love seeing my kids moving, and it’s exciting to watch them not only develop coordination, rhythmic awareness, and practice things like shapes and counting, but also to see them really begin to explore their creative and dramatic sides. There’s nothing more thrilling than to get a peek into a little imagination as it is being lovingly stretched and thoughtfully explored.
5) What else would you like our readers to know about the Tutu School?
We also offer summer camps and birthday parties that are bookable online – and we have locations throughout the Bay Area!
Please check out the Tutu School website http://www.tutuschool.com for more information!
*Photos courtesy of Andrew Weeks Photography and Tutu School
* Tutu School would like to offer SFMB readers 10% for the rest of the academic year (until June 19th).