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Ballerinas: Ballet Classes for Young Ballerinas

Pre-ballet classes are often offered to dancers between the ages of 4 and 7. They have become quite popular in private dance studios. These classes typically focus on the foundations of classical ballet technique. The Joffrey Ballet School even has pre-ballet classes for ages 5+, perfect for the beginner ballerina. At this age, dance classes should last no more than two hours per week with each class being an hour each.

There are also classes offered at some ballet studios for the 3-year-old ballerinas. These classes might include a creative movement class in which the teacher would combine movement with music and song to help develop rhythm, coordination and motor skills as well as listening and social skills. A beginning ballet class for those ballerinas 7 to 9 years old might also be offered. This class would typically be designed for beginning and continuing ballet students. The strength and flexibility offered through ballet class will help all young ballerinas of any age though stay healthy and build the foundation of a physically active lifestyle. Beverly

My Triplet Ballerinas: All About My Triplets, Part 2

Guest blogger: Megan J. My triplet ballerinas are my daughters, Makenna Anne, Jaeli Jo and Maysie Jailyn

Makenna Anne (Baby A, nickname ATTITUDE. Weighed in at 4lbs 9oz.) Makenna has been through quite a bit since she was born. At age 3, I diagnosed her with Fructose Malabsorption after much research due to visiting many doctors with NO answers as to why she acted like the devil most of the time and lived with a constant rash from the time she was born. She would vomit her formula as if she was in an exorcism. From ages 3-10, we cut out most sugars after seeing a specialist at Riley who diagnosed her with a multi-sugar intolerance. Once we started eliminating these foods, she became the sweetest, most loving, and happy kid – and the rash started to disappear. On occasion, she would be “sneaky” and eat something that would cause a reaction and the rash would come back, as well as her very bad temper. One specific time, she cut the hair off the top of Maysie’s head while she was asleep and mutilated her baby dolls. And I can’t forget the time she cornered me in a closet holding a knife and threatened my life – this is when I went back to work full-time when she was 2. Over time, she is slowly outgrowing it and we have her tested every other year. She still has some issues if she eats too much sugar but has chosen to eat whatever she wants and just deal with the consequences as they are not nearly as drastic as they used to be.

Jaeli Jo (Baby B, SASSY. Weighed in at 4lbs 4oz.) Jaeli is a worry-wart, big time! She is always worrying about something and stresses over it until she realizes she had nothing to worry about at all. This is a constant struggle with her. She is always worried about what people think of her, what the future holds, how she looks, who she is, and scared at times to ask for help. Jaeli is very shy unless she knows you well. Her nerves take over a lot of the time and she struggles to speak her mind and seek help. Sometimes she just needs a reminder. She has always stuck to her nickname of “Sassy”. She is witty and usually calls me out. She has the biggest heart of all three girls and will go out of her way to make others happy. She has a beautiful soul and loves hard.

Maysie Jailyn (Baby C, DRAMA. Weighed in at 3lbs 11oz.) Although Maysie is also generally very shy, she has always been very vocal about what she wants, at least to people she is comfortable with. I guess she had to be though having two sisters picking on her cause she was the smallest. I recall one time when Jaeli flipped the switch and took a big bite out of Maysie’s cheek! Oh boy was that a loud cry! I probably would have too though. Ever since, she has been very dramatic about everything and anything. She tends to exaggerate things and make a bigger deal about things than she needs to!

Look for Megan J.’s My Triplet Ballerinas: All About My Triplets, Part 3, next month

A Ballerina Book: “Let’s Dance Ballet”

“Let’s Dance Ballet” by Aaron Carr is an AV2 Media Enhanced book. It was published in 2014 in the United States.

First of all, I love the “triplet ballerinas” on the cover in their tutus of different colors so similar to the cover of my book, “The Triplet Ballerinas”. Instead of illustrations though, this book has photos of ballet dancers. There are captions to go along with the photos. Some simply tell us, “I love ballet dancing. I am going to dance today.” Others might tell us what they will be wearing. Some inform us of ballet facts (“Mirrors let ballet dancers see how they move.”) or ballet style (“Ballet dancers must wear a special outfit.”). This was a cute book that would be great for the beginning reader who loves ballet and ballerinas. Beverly

Ballerinas: Daily Life

The typical day of a ballerina who is in an upcoming or current program may start early with an hour and half class to warm up and refine their technique. Class is usually followed by 4-6 hours of rehearsals, sometimes followed by an evening performance. On the dancer’s 1-2 days off a week, they may be found doing normal activities such as grocery shopping, laundry, errands or even a movie.

Ballerinas eat just about anything, even ice cream, not just carrot sticks and celery. They must eat a good balanced diet that provides plenty of protein in order to maintain the level of energy needed to exert their bodies during demanding physical rehearsals and performances. They may even eat all day to maintain this level. There are some dancers though who suffer from an eating disorder called anorexia nervosa in which the person starves themselves. This problem affects both professional dancers and non-professional dancers. Beverly

My Triplet Ballerinas: All About My Triplets, Part 1

Guest blogger: Megan J. My triplet ballerinas are my daughters, Makenna Anne, Jaeli Jo and Maysie Jailyn.

Makenna Anne (Baby A, nickname ATTITUDE. Weighing in at 4lbs 9oz and spent 11 days in the NICU mostly to grow but did come home on a heart monitor for about 6 months.) Makenna was born first and a minute before her sisters. She came out the loudest and today she still is, speaking her mind very clearly and knows who she is and what she wants. She tends to procrastinate and waits until the very last moment to make sure whatever it is she is doing is as perfect as it can be. She is my over-achiever, straight A student.  She sets high goals for herself, sometimes too high, and her expectations are not always realistic. She loves to argue with me and always has to be right. Makenna has always been very artistic, as well as a know-it-all/smarty pants.

Jaeli Jo (Baby B, SASSY. Weighing in at 4lbs 4oz and spent 11 days in the NICU mostly to grow, and also came home on a heart monitor for 6 months.) Jaeli was born second and was by far the easiest, most mellow as a baby. She was the last to walk at 16 months old, just so laid back and didn’t really care about anything – but that has changed a great deal over the years. She tends to hold in her emotions and then when they come out… watch out! It is like the flip of a switch, psycho, and she is proud of it! She only saves this side of herself for me and her siblings though.

Maysie Jailyn (Baby C, DRAMA. Weighing in at 3lbs 11oz and spent 14 days in the NICU to grow and bring her blood sugar down as well, was sent home in a hip brace due to possible hip dysplasia). Maysie was born third and came out crying! Her time in the NICU has probably been the hardest medical care we have had for her. Having to leave her behind at 11 days old while taking the other two home was very hard for me. Leave it to the Drama Queen to extend her stay at the hospital! Because it was not serious, she was moved to the overflow NICU, so I was able to visit her every day and spend more time with her during those 3 days. It was a huge relief to take her home and reunite her with her sisters. I specifically remember being worried about her weight because she was under 4lbs when we left the hospital, but the doctors reassured me she was in good health and would gain the weight she needed to at home. She was the cutest little thing, she looked just like a little monkey sitting there with her legs in her brace, stuck in a sitting position while she watched football with her dad! After a couple weeks, we got to see her big personality and the drama started!

Look for Megan J.’s My Triplet Ballerinas: All About My Triplets, Part 2, next month

A Ballerina Book: Angelina Ballerina – “Angelina’s Pet”

“Angelina’s Pet” is another book in the “Angelina Ballerina” series of children’s books. This book was inspired by “Angelina Ballerina” author Katharine Holabird and illustrator Helen Craig. It was published in 2015 by Grosset & Dunlap, Penguin Young Readers Group.

One day when Angelina and her best friend, Alice, are walking home from ballet class, they see a bird in the park that Angelina thinks would make a great pet. She rushes home to ask her mom if she can get a pet and her mom says she thinks she is old enough for the responsibility of a pet and to think of what kind of pet she would like. When Angelina sees a butterfly, she remembers the butterfly dance she did at ballet school and thinks the butterfly would make a great pet. She follows it everywhere until the butterfly flutters away. Will Angelina ever find the right pet? This was a cute story. I loved the sprinkle of ballet terms throughout this book and how colorful the illustrations were. Beverly

The Triplet Ballerinas: Dance Talent Show, Part 3

The day of the Dance Talent Show finally arrived and the chosen dancers gathered backstage. Miss Carol walked out on the stage and said to the large audience, “Welcome to the Dance Talent Show; you will see some wonderful dancers and dances today.” She then nodded backstage to the triplet ballerinas who were guiding the dancers in order onto the stage.

The first dancers were Macy and Jacy who danced to “Don’t Start Now”. Macy and Jacy twirled and floated all around the stage with movements that matched perfectly. Next, McKenna danced to “I’m Ready.” Her dance was full of many leaps and turns. Joss followed with a fun hip hop dance to “Say My Name”. The last dance before the grand finale was Kara and Kayla with a jazz dance to “Applause”. Their legs and arms moved so fast, but they finished at the same time.

“Our grand finale tonight features the triplet ballerinas, Annie, Macie and Julie,” said Miss Carol. “They will be dancing with backup dancers Mandi, Angi, Meggie, Kristen, PJ and Lea Jean to “Under the Stars”, an appropriate dance, I think,” said Miss Carol as she swept her hand across the stage to all the twinkling stars above it. When the music began, Annie leaped, Julie floated, Macie twirled. All the dancers danced again and again, dance after dance before they ended with a curtsey. Miss Carol walked out onto the stage and said, “Weren’t they wonderful? I want to thank you all for coming tonight to help raise money for the Dance Studio.” “I am happy to announce we have reached our goal-the Dance Studio can be repaired right away.” “Yay!,” said the triplet ballerinas as they danced around and around.

Look for “The Triplet Ballerinas: Dance Talent Show” in its entirety on October 30, 2021

A Ballerina Book: Angelina Ballerina – “Angelina and the Tummy Butterflies”

“Angelina and the Tummy Butterflies” is another book in the “Angelina Ballerina” series of children’s books. This book was inspired by “Angelina Ballerina” author Katharine Holabird and illustrator Helen Craig. It was published in 2013 by Grosset & Dunlap, Penguin Young Readers Group.

Just like my children’s book, “The Triplet Ballerinas”, “Angelina and the Tummy Butterflies” opens with the words, “One (beautiful) spring day…”. On the way to dance class, Angelina and her friend, Alice, are practicing the poems they must memorize for the next day. Alice keeps forgetting the words to her poem though and even their jazz dance class doesn’t take Alice’s mind off thoughts of her poem. After class, Alice is still nervous, and Ms. Mimi, their dance teacher, tells Alice about the “tummy butterflies” she gets when she is nervous. This doesn’t help Alice, she is still nervous, but it does give Angelina a great idea that involves a butterfly jazz dance. “Angelina and the Tummy Butterflies” is more a book about jazz dancing rather than ballet, but I love any kind of dancing in a children’s picture book. I also love the snapshot illustrations of Angelina and her friends that are so vivid and lifelike in this book. Beverly

My Triplet Ballerinas: Triplet Teenagers! Part 2

Guest Blogger: Megan J.

My triplet ballerinas are my triplet daughters, Makenna Anne, Jaeli Jo and Maysie Jailyn. For the last few years, Makenna has had her own room while Jaeli and Maysie have shared a room. But, the fighting and purposely making each other mad was getting out of control between Jaeli and Maysie so we gave Jaeli her own space. Since then, the fighting has dropped drastically and we are all less stressed! They seem to want to be around each other more and get along better. They still have their moments, but, all around, much happier!  

Makenna in a good mood is always pleasant and special. I love to spend time with her then. I love our talks. I listen more than I talk and try not to “parent” but instead “be a friend” until I feel she needs me to “parent”. I feel she opens up more this way and shares things with me that a lot of kids wouldn’t share with their parents. I want Makenna to feel comfortable opening up and not to be afraid to talk to me about anything. I try not to judge and think before I respond to make her feel comfortable and know that I genuinely care and am listening. I see great things happening with her!  

Jaeli has always been somewhat independent and sharing a room with Maysie was starting to make her feel lost and invisible. She craves her own space, her privacy. Her dad and I decided she needed that for her own sanity—and mine! So, we converted an area in the lower floor of our home that is just hers. Jaeli loves it and has been so much happier since. She does tend to keep to herself but seems to enjoy the time she spends with her sisters now. Hopefully, being happier will also push her to show the world the sweet, amazing, caring heart that we have seen and know she has always had.  

Maysie is obsessed with make-up. I must constantly remind her to pick up after herself, because I always find her bathroom counter is covered in make-up dust. She also has a very strict bedtime schedule, and if she can’t stick to it, it “messes up everything!” Maysie can’t go to bed without telling me and her grandma “good night” (even if it is only in a text). If we don’t say it back, she says she can’t sleep. She has the most love out of any of the girls, but she keeps it in and only shows it when it benefits her. I have been trying to teach her to let it out and to show people how amazing she is.

The Triplet Ballerinas: Dance Talent Show, Part 2

A few weeks later, the triplet ballerinas rushed into the Dance Studio and joined Miss Carol at the long table in front of the stage. Soon, auditions began for the “Dance Talent Show”. Each participant(s) was assigned a number to show which order they would audition in.

Miss Carol looked at the paper in front of her and said, “Let’s begin with #1, McKenna.”  McKenna leaped high and low around the stage. “Good, but not as spectacular as my leaps,” said Annie as McKenna left the stage. “#2, Macy and Jacy,” said Miss Carol. Twins Macy and Jacy swirled and whirled and floated in unison all around the stage. “Beautiful,” said Miss Carol. “Oh, no,” said Macie when #3, Jase, walked out on the stage punching the air. Jase bobbed and weaved and bobbed and weaved again. Then, he walked off the stage. Miss Carol sighed and said, “Next.” #4, Meggie, took the stage with a contemporary dance that flowed from one movement to the other. “I like her,” said Julie. “Maybe, let’s move on to #5,” said Miss Carol. For her audition, Kristen performed a ballet dance that included one plié after another and many turns and small jumps. Annie smiled through the whole dance. “Before we take a break, let’s finish with #6,” said Miss Carol. Sisters Kara and Kayla walked arm-in-arm onto the stage. “Are they twins too?” asked Julie. “No, they are only 18 months apart though,” said Macie. Kara and Kayla did a quick jazz dance. Their arms and legs never stopped moving and they finished at the same time. “Good job, girls,” said Miss Carol.

After the break, #7, PJ, auditioned. She loved to tap dance and it showed in her audition. “Ooh,” said the triplet ballerinas. “#8 is next,” said Miss Carol as friends Mandi and Angi took the stage. They added a little extra to their audition when they performed a song and dance number to “Let It Go”. Macie smiled and clapped her hands the whole time. “#9, Joss,” said Miss Carol after Mandi and Angi ran off the stage. Joss did a cute hip-hop dance that amazed everyone. “Next is #10, Stevie,” said Miss Carol. Stevie quickly did the YMCA dance before she rushed off the stage. “Ok, next is #11, James and JoJo,” said Miss Carol. James and JoJo performed a perfect waltz. They glided around and around the dance floor. “Very good, James and JoJo,” said Miss Carol. “Last to audition is #12, Lea Jean.” “#12, Lea Jean,” said Miss Carol again when Lea Jean did not appear at first. Finally, Lea Jean ran out to the stage and performed a cha cha slide. Julie got up from her chair and did the cha cha slide right along with her. When Lea Jean finished, Miss Carol stood up and said, “Thank you everyone for auditioning today; we will let you know soon if you are in the Dance Talent Show.” Then, she looked at Annie, Julie and Macie and said, “Triplet ballerinas, let’s go pick our dancers for the Dance Talent Show.”

Part 1 of “The Triplet Ballerinas: Dance Talent Show” was released on January 30, 2021. Look for Part 3 on July 30, 2021.