This Wednesday, Melanie had her observation day at dance class. This is her first year in a real organized dance class. She has been in gymnastics for several years on and off, tumbling, horseback riding and a hip hop session here and there, but had never expressed an interest in ballet or tap dancing until Kylie finally rubbed off on her. At Kylie's most recent recital, Melanie decided she too wanted to be up on that stage showing her stuff.
The class I enrolled her in is a combo class of ballet, tap, jazz and acrobatics. It is for 1 1/2 hours per week. Most of the girls in her class have been taking classes since they were 3 or 4 years old, so I thought she'd have some catching up to do.
I spent the first 20 minutes of class with tears in my eyes.
Ok, I know I'm a sap anyway. I cry when the Cherubs sing at church. But, here was a girl who has been in physical therapy on and off for years as well as the above mentioned classes (all to help her balance, strength and coordination) completing plies and jetes, holding her leg out straight while keeping her balance perfectly still and completing the ballet steps in almost perfect sequence. Sure she swayed here and there and had to put her foot down on occasion to catch herself, but most of the time she was just as steady as the rest of the girls. Ballet may prove to be the most beneficial therapy she's been in just due to the sheer fact she has to have such great balance and strength to pull off the correct steps (and we all know what a rule follower she is, so she tries her best to make it just right).
Then the tap portion of the class seemed fun for her and again she kept up just fine. Jazz showed that she needs to loosen up a bit, but again very good for her. The acrobatics portion was a just a repeat of all the gymnastics and tumbling classes she's had. She is getting stronger to be able to hold her body up during handstand and headstands, but still has difficulty with her trunk strength during a cartwheel (not to mention fear of kicking those legs up high). She also had a little fear about walking backwards on the pretend tightrope (ha! just the fact that she did it is progress!).
I got a little video of her during the jazz portion, mostly becasue I was too enthralled with the rest to remember to record. It's in the next post.