Children’s Ballet of San Antonio dancer Arabella Alvarado is a scholarship recipient to Princess Grace of Monaco Ballet School and Bolshoi Academy Summer Intensive. She has also been accepted to the Royal Ballet and Opera de Paris Summer Intensives.

Dance Away Summer Blues

This summer is a great time to introduce your children to dance. It is not only fun and enriching for children of all ages, dance also plays a great role in the development of children’s brains and bodies. Dance requires mental, physical, emotional, and social skills. All of these functions working together can be beneficial for physical and mental health—so much so that many studies have shown dance can even slow the aging process by improving cognitive function. So parents may want to dust off their dancing shoes, too!

Dancing is a great way to keep your children physically active and at the same time develops the music movement correlations and appreciation of the arts. Dance gives you a sense of happiness and it is a fantastic outlet for children to express themselves freely through movement. As Founder & Artistic Director of the Children’s Ballet of San Antonio and the Dance Center of San Antonio, I am proud to offer these learning activities so kids of different ages can experience dance at home.

About the featured image at the top of this post: Children’s Ballet of San Antonio dancer Arabella Alvarado is a scholarship recipient to Princess Grace of Monaco Ballet School and Bolshoi Academy Summer Intensive. She has also been accepted to the Royal Ballet and Opera de Paris Summer Intensives.

For more ideas about summer experiences you can do while learning at home with your kids, visit the main page, Charter a Summer of Learning.

Dance and Movement for Preschoolers

For young children and those starting as soon as they can walk, you can play the music of your choice and just move with your baby. No need for fancy steps.

You want to move around with them and teach them that you can move to the rhythm of any music. Let them explore their own dancing too, play different type of music, and dance with them as you feel the music tells you.

You can introduce props like tambourines, maracas, scarfs, balls, or hula hoops and use them to help create fun movements and help find the high notes or accents of the music.

You can start introducing the building of patterns through movement and music that will establish brain connections that will help them later with math and logic.

One of the elements that dance helps a lot with pre-schoolers is creating body spatial awareness, how your body moves through space. You can do circles, diagonals, side to side movements, and even how multiple bodies can move together sharing the same space.

It is important to make this a fun and enjoyable experience. Dance also helps with socialization skills when classes are taken at a studio or school.

Children’s Ballet of San Antonio dancers, Arabella Alvarado (mentioned above) and William Bessler, Bolshoi Summer Intensive scholarship recipient, 3rd place winner in the Pas de Duex YAGP finals and summer study invitee to the Vaganova Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Children’s Ballet of San Antonio dancers, Arabella Alvarado (mentioned above) and William Bessler, Bolshoi Summer Intensive scholarship recipient, 3rd place winner in the Pas de Duex YAGP finals and summer study invitee to the Vaganova Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Dance and Exploration for Grade Schoolers

At grade school level, your child is ready to explore more. Here they start learning precision of movement and they can also understand different type of dances and disciplines. We encourage our elementary school age dancers to take everything from ballet to jazz, contemporary, Irish, and Folklorico dancing. It is a great age to try them all to see which you are enjoying more—then start analyzing efforts toward one discipline and start learning the specific technique at a more precise level. As they can learn a more structured dance technique, they become more confident, and proud of their dancing.

Some dance disciplines, like ballet, require an early start in order to be able to develop at the highest level. So, I always recommend giving children a good foundation in ballet and later let them choose the disciple of their choice. Ballet will give them a strong foundation for any dance disciple and even for other sports such as football (it’s true!) as it helps build physical coordination, flexibility, and agility.

The following video shows some basic exercises age appropriate for grade schoolers to try at home, including:

1. Plie: bending of the knee as you are in the different ballet positions.

2. Tendu (stretching of the leg): exercise executed with the elongation of the legs in all directions.

Listen carefully to the instructions I give in the video, and then you can dance along following the dancers in the video.

Dance is a wonderful outlet to keep children active and happy this summer. There are many opportunities to learn at home that are available now on YouTube. Our Dance Center of San Antonio has started to offer blended learning opportunities to include both in-person and virtual classes that can be found through our website.

The Children’s Ballet of San Antonio dancer Kate Thomas is the winner of numerous awards, scholarships and summer intensives from the most prestigious ballet competitions and academies around the world. She recently accepted an offer to join the Royal Ballet school in London this Fall.

The Children’s Ballet of San Antonio dancer Kate Thomas is the winner of numerous awards, scholarships and summer intensives from the most prestigious ballet competitions and academies around the world. She recently accepted an offer to join the Royal Ballet school in London this Fall.

Dance Exercises for Upper Schoolers

For teens, this is a whole new world. You can take many classes in many disciplines as your body is young but strong.

This is also the time where they can choose a discipline, develop it at the maximum potential, and pursue it at the professional level.

Today there are many wonderful online options, but the in-studio instruction and experience is necessary to develop to highest levels and make the most of a class.

I offer guidance on how to properly execute exercises for upper schoolers in the following instructional video.

Local Connection for Dance

Vanessa Bessler is the Founder and Creative Director for both the Children’s Ballet of San Antonio and the Dance Center of San Antonio. The Children’s Ballet of San Antonio is a non-profit, professional-level dance company that bridges the gap between young student and adult professional dancers, serving as a gateway for aspiring young artists interested in pursuing a career in professional dance or simply wanting to experience professional level productions to enhance their artistic development. Since its inception, the company has garnered an impressive and extensive number of “firsts” for San Antonio through recognition and awards, with dancers competing all across the country and internationally.

The Dance Center of San Antonio’s mission is to train dancers for extraordinary lives through inspiration and hard work, giving dancers the opportunity to discover a love of the arts, develop confidence and high self-esteem, and to find their drive and leadership skills. The Dance Center of San Antonio is a sponsor of the Children’s Ballet of San Antonio and offers its students incredible performance opportunities through this partnership to include seasonal professional level productions in San Antonio’s most prestigious theaters such as the Tobin Center, the Majestic Theater, the Lila Cockrell Theatre, and more.

The Dance Center of San Antonio is now offering many wonderful online class options as well as the necessary in-studio instruction to gain the experience to develop to the highest levels and make the most of Bessler’s personalized, award winning instruction.

The Dance Center offers all levels and disciplines starting age 1½ years old and from recreational to professional. Additionally, the Center offers free class promos to include a free class in July for 6–7 year olds as they are looking for the most talented dancers to build the next star of the ballet in San Antonio. To learn more, visit them on Facebook or head to their website for the full roster of available classes.

Dancers that started 10 years ago are now launching to the best professional schools in the world. Kate Thomas, pictured above, started dancing at age two and has been training with Bessler for the last ten years. She is now ready to move to London to continue at the prestigious and extremely selective Royal Ballet school.

Read More About Dance for Children

Learn more about the importance and benefits of dance for children in the articles below:

“Philosophy Underlying the Standards for Dance in Early Childhood,” NDEO

“5 Reasons Why Dance is Good for Kids,” Sammy Bosch, I See Me!, February 5, 2019

“25 Impressive Benefits Of Dance For Kids”, Mom Loves Best, May 22, 2019

Charter Moms Chats

Watch Inga Cotton’s interview with Vanessa Bessler, with demonstrations from dancers Kate Thomas and Arabella Alvarado, on Charter Moms Chats.

For more ideas about summer experiences you can do while learning at home with your kids, visit the main page, Charter a Summer of Learning.

About the Author

Vanessa Bessler, Children's Ballet of San Antonio

Vanessa Bessler, Children’s Ballet of San Antonio

Vanessa Bessler is a former principal dancer with the National Ballet of Panama. She started her dancing career very early and was a full scholarship student at the Joffrey Ballet School in New York, New York. Her training includes the Vaganova, Royal Academy of Dancing, and Cecchetti methods along with modern dance and jazz. Vanessa has studied in Panama, Panama; New York, New York; Havana, Cuba; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Milan, Italy; and Miami, Florida under renowned teachers including: Wasil Tupin, Angelco Yureska, Belinda Writes, Hector Zaraspe, John Magnus, Marek Cholewa and Elena Kunikova among others. She also participated in several international dance festivals in Argentina, Peru and El Salvador. Vanessa performed principal roles in ballets including Don Quixote, Paquita, La Bayadere, Raymonda, Le Corsaire, Nutcracker, Spring Waters, Flower Festival, Paris Flames, Dying Swan, and Diana and Actaeon.

In her twenty plus years of teaching, Vanessa has a track record of preparing successful students who have joined professional companies and strong college programs. She also has prepared numerous Youth American Grand Prix (“YAGP”) regional Top 12 Finalists and Award Winners, including dancers who have progressed to the final round of the YAGP competitions held in New York and ranked top 24 in the world. Bessler has been recognized as Outstanding Teacher for 5 consecutive years at YAGP (2016–2020) and with the Outstanding School Award in 2018. Additionally, her dancers have been selected to compete in the highly prestigious Prix de Lausanne, the Vaganova Prix, and the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi. Furthermore, her students have received numerous acceptance scholarships to world-renowned schools and summer intensive programs including: Royal Ballet School, Opera de Paris School, English National Ballet School, Bolshoi, Vaganova academy, JKO American Ballet Theatre school, School of American Ballet (School of New York City Ballet), Ballet West, Houston Ballet, Princess Grace of Monaco, and Dutch National Academy.

Vanessa holds degrees and certifications from the following institutions: Master of Business Administration, Barry University, Miami Florida; postgraduate degree in Education, Universidad Santa Maria La Antigua, Republic of Panama; Bachelor of Arts, Universidad Santa Maria La Antigua, Republic of Panama; Bolshoi Academy Teacher Certifications, Cecchetti Method Teacher Certifications, and Royal Academy of Dancing Teacher’s training. She also completed a teacher training program at the renowned Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy and the Vaganova Ballet Academy.

Date

Jul 06 2020
Expired!

Time

All Day

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