Nashville Ballet classes not just for the pros!

by Sami

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There may be a misconception going around that Nashville Ballet classes are just for the pros (or at least people aspiring to become professional ballerinas). To be honest, I was one of those who believed that myth.

I figured surely, my seven-year-old daughter who had never taken a ballet class (besides the community center at the age of three), would not fit into a class at the Nashville Ballet…right?

But when I found out she could try a class for free, we jumped at the opportunity!


One of these things is not like the other...

Even though they do have a center in Brentwood, we chose to take a class at the original Nashville Ballet facility. On the outside, the building did not look quite as grand as I had expected. But don’t let external appearances fool you; what awaited us inside was quite special.

Admittedly, there was not a lot of space for all the parents and young girls preparing for class to move around. Frankly, I was concerned at whether the instructor could manage this crew that I saw before me! But all worries ceased when Ms. Z emerged from behind the studio door.

She quickly and effectively put all the girls in one line to take them back to the studio. Her professional, strict, yet kind demeanor immediately put me at ease at the prospect of leaving my daughter in her care for an hour.

Typically parents are not allowed back into the studios (for obvious reasons: space, chaos, distractions, etc). But since I had previously arranged a tour with Jan Morrison, head of their PR, Britton and I got to see not only the studios, but some of the marvelous ‘backstage’ areas of the Nashville Ballet!

A few things notably impressed me and stood out about taking classes at the Nashville Ballet:
1. Anyone can participate
As I mentioned above, everyone it welcome! You could be wanting to introduce your two year old to ballet with a Mommy & Me class, or you may want to take a community adult ballet class.

2. They focus on technique
One of my biggest pet peeves with so many ballet studios is that they charge SO much money for classes and a recital, but they don’t teach any technique and by the time you get to junior high and realize dance is really something you want to pursue, you have to re-learn everything! (I’ve seen it happen!). At the Nashville Ballet, not only are the classes fun, but they teach you a solid foundation to build on as you grow in your skills.

3. No recital/costume fees
Assuming you can afford to put your child in ballet in the first place, most people cannot afford the fees associated with the end-of-the-year recitals. A basic costume can easily cost $80 – and don’t even get me starting if your child has to perform in morn than one dance….Forgetaboutit! At the Nashville Ballet, they have a FABULOUS costume closet, and they actually let their students use it!

4. It’s the Nashville Ballet!!!
How many people can say they’ve taken ballet classes from professional ballerinas at a professional ballet company? Yes, all the instructors are former principal dancers. Score. While your child is practicing in one studio, the principal dancers may just be practicing in the studio next to them so they can watch after class. Score again. Plus, guess where they draw talent from for their professional productions? That’s right – their students! Even though some auditions are open, it’s going to be natural for them to look to their own talent pool when a need arises. It’s just an amazing environment to learn and grow in.

Did I mention you can take a trial class for free?

I haven’t yet decided if Kariss will continue her classes there, but only because we’re trying to protect her time involvement in after school activities and she’s already committed to cheerleading this semester. But I do admit I’d love to see that little girl prancing on the Nutcracker stage next Christmas…

Here are some sweet pictures from our time at the Nashville Ballet:


Ms. Z coaches the 7-8 year old class at the barre


Kariss skipping around to a music exercise



Britton holding an authentic (prop) Peter & The Wolf sword backstage


The beautiful ballet shoes of the Nashville Ballet principal dancers


Just part of the extensive Nashville Ballet costume closet

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1 comment

Amy January 30, 2012 - 1:01 pm

We simply love the Nashville Ballet & their classes. It simply is the most healthy and happy dance environment we have found for our two little girls. They love interacting with the professional company & learning ballet technique.

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